(Photo by Michael P. Hall)
TORONTO (CIS) – Jahmal Jones scored 25 points in his final game as a Ram as tournament host Ryerson reached the first CIS podium in program history at the 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco Final 8 Men's Championship on Sunday afternoon with a 82-68 victory over the Victoria Vikes, at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
A day after scoring two points in the semifinal against Ottawa, Jones rebounded to score the first seven points of the game and 12 in a 26-point fourth quarter for the seventh-seeded Rams.
"It's heartbreaking to see when a young kid who has had such a special career struggle on a big stage last night," said Ryerson coach Roy Rana, whose team entered the tournament as the number seven seed. "I think he bounced back and showed people why he's one of the best players in the country today."
It was also the final career game for Jordon Gauthier and Bjorn Michaelsen who, like Jones, played five years in a Rams uniform.
"They're one of the reasons why everyone came to this program it's cause of what they've done early in their years so it's just like, to put them on a high road to go out with a win, a bronze, I think it will be good when they look back at it," said teammate Adika Peter-McNeilly.
Peter-McNeilly finished the game with 21 points, while Aaron Best and Gauthier added eight each.
Chris McLaughlin, the 6-foot-10 Canada West MVP, led fourth-seeded and conference champion Victoria with 22 points and 14 rebounds. The fifth-year post was dominant down low all game long and was a big reason why the Vikes scored 36 in the paint.
"Their three's fell short, we did a better job of kind of putting the ball out of McLaughlin's hands down the stretch, he's a pretty special player for them," said Rana. "In the end I think that was a difference; our speed,we just had a little bit left in the tank and I think that was enough to get us the win."
Grant Sitton scored 13 points for the Vikes, while Marcus Tibbs and Junior Sesay added six each.
Victoria, which settles for fourth for the second straight year, lost to the Carleton Ravens in the first semifinal on Saturday.
Since the bronze-medal game was reintroduced in 2011, only one conference had swept the podium before this year. It happened in 2013 with Carleton, Lakehead and Ottawa finishing 1-2-3.
RYE 19-20-17-26: 82
VIC 15-22-18-13: 68
Points: Jahmal Jones (25), Adika Peter-McNeilly (21), Aaron Best (8), Jordon Gauthier (8)
Rebounds: Adika Peter-McNeilly (9), Jordon Gauthier (8)
Assists: Jahmal Jones (8)
Player of the game: Jahmal Jones
Points: Chris McLaughlin (22), Grant Sitton (13)
Rebounds: Chris McLaughlin (14), Junior Sesay (6)
Assists: Marcus Tibbs (6)
Player of the game: Chris McLaughlin
CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE & RESULTS
Thursday, March 12
11:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 1 Carleton 90, No. 8 Saskatchewan 50
13:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 4 Victoria 57, No. 5 Dalhousie 56
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 7 Ryerson 82, No. 2 Windsor 68
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 3 Ottawa 91, No. 6 Bishop's 85 (OT)
Friday, March 13
14:00 Consolation 1: Saskatchewan 90, Dalhousie 79
16:00 Consolation 2: Windsor 91, Bishop's 80
Saturday, March 14
14:00 5th-place game: Saskatchewan 99, Windsor 94
18:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton 83, Victoria 74
20:30 Semifinal 2: Ottawa 84, Ryerson 75
Sunday, March 15
11:30 Bronze: Ryerson 82, Victoria 68
15:00 Final: Carleton vs. Ottawa (Sportsnet 360 & ONE / www.CIS-SIC.tv) **
* Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports +, Super Sports Pak.
** The webcast of the semifinals & final are on pay-per-view basis.