#1 Rams survive late flurry, advance to first-ever National championship game

Ryerson 59, Dalhousie 58… Rams took the lead for good early in the fourth quarter, surviving a late turnover and Dal’s outstanding 6’2″ fifth-year Kash Lawrence missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer to move Ryerson into the program’s first-ever Final 8 championship game, a rubber-match with #2 Carleton.  In an admittedly sluggish and turnover filled game between two teams who defend, Rams trailed by four late in the third at 42-38 before a 10-1 run capped by 6 consecutive points from 6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa gave Ryerson their largest lead of the game at 5.  Later, with Ryerson leading by 6, Dal’s 5’11” fifth-year point guard Ritchie Kanza Mata picked up his 4th and 5th fouls in quick succession, much to the chagrin of the partisans, who packed Scotiabank Centre yesterday afternoon.  But Tigers were equal to it as Lawrence and 6’2″ Jordan Aquino-Serjue led a 6-1 run to get it to 1 in the final moments.  Dal’s air-tight offense then created a double team and turnover when they trapped 6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly however Rams defend the final play well which ended up with Lawrence catching the ball at the top of the bowl off ball reversal after Rams stopped Aquino-Serjue penetrating.  6’7″ Filip Vujadinovic was instrumental in Ryerson’s victory, using his strength and ability to finish inside for 16 points and 5 tough rebounds.  Rams again struggled from three, shooting just 5 for 27, continuing a season-long trend of generally mis-firing in an arena setting, but Vujadinovic, who helped offset a tough game and foul trouble for 6’8″ Adam Voll, did a great job battling with the incomparable Lawrence (16 points, 8 rebounds) who authored another explosive game inside.  Peter-McNeilly came up with one of the better defensive plays in the game when Dal’s 6’6″ Sven Stammberger looked to bring some momentum to his team with a break-away dunk attempt but McNeilly was able to high-point it and reject Stammberger in an outstanding athletic play.  Tigers had also struggled shooting the ball from the perimeter coming in to the game and turned it around in the first half – going 4 for 12 from 3 to lead by two at half.  But their struggles from downtown reemerged, going just 1 for 5 as Rams survived in front of another tremendous crowd in a wonderfully-energerized and big-time setting.  Dal plays the Bronze medal game this afternoon against McGill followed by the championship game, the third meeting of the season between #1 Ryerson and #2 Carleton.


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