Photo by Trevor MacMillan

Rams comeback falls short in final seconds

By Luke Bellus

HALIFAX, N.S. - With just four seconds left in the game, Ryerson down by one and the ball in JV Mukama’s hands, it looked like the Rams were primed to complete a dramatic double-digit comeback.

Mukama made a move and before he could put up a shot the whistle blew. Out of bounds. Calgary ball.

The call was immediately met with displeasure from Mukama, his teammates and the coaching staff.

The play happened directly to the left of the Rams bench.

Ryerson Head Coach Roy Rana said, “From our bench, we didn’t see him step out. I didn’t actually see it.” Rana added, “But everyone on our bench had the impression that he was in bounds.

That was the end of the comeback attempt and Ryerson fell to the Calgary Dinos 67-65.

Ryerson went into the final quarter down 12 and at one point of the third trailed by as many as 17. But the Rams didn’t panic and slowly chipped away at the Dinos lead.

The game felt all too familiar to last year’s national championship when the Rams fell behind by double digits to the Dinos before losing on a basket as time expired.

This time around it wasn’t a national championship on the line but instead a trip to finals was up for grabs in this semi-final game.

Ryerson fell behind due to a slow start.

The first quarter wasn’t a good one for Ryerson; outside of Myles Charvis’ seven-points on 3-5 shooting, the team went 1-14 and the Rams trailed by four after the opening 10 minutes.

The second quarter was really no different, as the Rams struggled to generate offence and weren’t doing much to get second chances. Ryerson missed 24 shots in the first 20 minutes and grabbed offensive rebounds on just two of them.

Ryerson also struggled from beyond the arc going 3-18, just one day after shooting 11-22 in their quarter-final game against Concordia. But in this game Ryerson’s three-point shot was hurting them.

A major factor in the opening 20 minutes was the Rams foul trouble. JV Mukama was limited to just 10 minutes after picking up two early fouls. Tanor Ngom also had two fouls and Jayden Frederick picked up three.

The Rams opened the second half with a Fil Vujadinovic three-pointer, but that wasn’t a sign of things to come and the Rams struggled going just 1-7 from three for the rest of the quarter.

With the shooting touch from deep not being there, the Rams had to get points a different way, and after three quarters Ryerson was 15-15 on free throws.

Ryerson found their shooting stroke in the fourth converting on 3-6 three’s, but only got to the free throw line two times compared to the Dinos 13 attempts in the final quarter.

Ryerson will be back in action Sunday afternoon when they play for U SPROTS Bronze. The Rams have medaled in four straight national finals and will look to keep that streak going.

When asked about how he would make sure his team doesn’t let this opportunity pass them by, coach Rana took a pause and said, “They’re going to have to go back, and get themselves prepared.”

He finished with, “we knew this wasn’t going to be our last game. We’ll go back to the hotel and talk as a group and prepare to play tomorrow.”

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