VANCOUVER - The 2015-16 Ryerson Rams season ended on a winning note Sunday afternoon, as they captured the CIS bronze medal in an 85-78 win over the Dalhousie Tigers.
Aaron Best scored a team high 15 points and grabbed six rebounds in his final appearance as a Ram, and interim head coach Patrick Tatham was thrilled to be able to send him and fellow seniors Kadeem Green and Andy Agyepong out with a win.
"They go out with a win, that's more than most seniors can really say. It was a great career for them."
Showing no ill effects of last night’s defeat, the Rams threw the first punch and put together a solid first quarter – something that’s eluded them of late, and led 20-11 going into the second.
Adika Peter-McNeilly kept the Rams rolling in the second, including a personal 8-0 run and twice assisting Derrick Allahyarian on three point attempts, one of which closed the half to give the Rams a 45-30 lead at the break.
Dalhousie mounted a comeback effort in the late stages of the third and into the fourth quarter, but Tatham opted to let JV Mukama, Fil Vujadinovic and Adam Voll fight through the adversity as an opportunity to build on going into next season.
“This game was really for them to figure it out, because next year everything is gonna be on them as fourth year guys so I’m glad they responded and answered the challenge, it was great to see,” said Tatham on the passing of the torch to Mukama and Vujadinovic.
It was a very solid showing from Voll all things considered, as he had been battling sickness all weekend, and took control of the defensive glass with seven boards while chipping in nine points.
“He’s fighting some sort of pneumonia, so I was there smiling on the inside, because we’ve been waiting and thinking on Adam for so long, when is he gonna blossom, when is he gonna flourish, and today was that day I suppose. We hope it carries over to next year. It’s a long summer but today was great for him,” said Tatham on Voll’s coming out party.
There will never be another team like this year’s group of Ryerson Rams, as they made history reaching the No. 1 ranking in the country and winning an OUA championship.
They combined incredibly high paced and entertaining basketball on the court, with personalities that matched off of it.
Aaron Best leaves the program its all time winningest player, including three national tournament appearances, two CIS bronze medals, one OUA title and an all-Canadian honour. Best’s lead-by-example mantra was huge for the squad, and they could always count on him for the crucial rebound or bucket to swing a game.
Kadeem Green was an absolute monster since returning to the team second semester, and certainly could have been the defensive player of the year. The eleven blocks over Wilson Cup weekend was staggering, and his presence in the paint will be missed next season.
Andy Agyepong’s locker room shenanigans and pre game speeches always boosted team morale. His energy minutes when the Rams were in a tough spot always settled the game back down.
Of course the Rams wouldn’t be here without Patrick Tatham, who captured both OUA and CIS Coach of the Year honours in his first season at the helm. He seamlessly implemented his system, and embraces the three ball and full court press, which perfectly suited the world-class athleticism this roster had.
Post game, Tatham reflected on his first year as a head coach in university basketball.
“I feel like I’m five years ahead of my time man...its been great. I enjoy every minute of coaching and I’m a student of the game just like the guys are students of the game and I just continue to learn. Hopefully if the future is bright I’ll take over my own program next year and if not, then I can’t wait to be an assistant for Roy again next year.”
On Friday, Tatham told me he wanted to put up a Wall of Champions in the locker room, with the first picture being this year’s team with gold medals. While that dream didn’t quite come true, bronze is the new gold for the Ryerson Rams.
RYE 20-25-18-22: 85
DAL 11-19-19-29: 78
Points: Jean-Victor Mukama (15), Aaron Best (14), Adika Peter-McNeilly (13)
Rebounds: Adika Peter-McNeilly (8), Adam Voll (8)
Assists: Adika Peter-McNeilly (3),
Player of the game: Aaron Best
Points: Kashrell Lawrence (19) Jordan Aquino-Serjue (13), Sven Stammberger (13)
Rebounds: Kashrell Lawrence (8), Sven Stammberger (7)
Assists: Jordan Aquino-Serjue (6)
Player of the game: Jordan Aquino-Serjue
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (all times PACIFIC)
Thursday, March 17
13:00 Quarter-final 1: No. 2 Carleton 91, No. 7 Thompson Rivers 75
15:00 Quarter-final 2: No. 6 Dalhousie 87, No. 3 Ottawa 83
18:00 Quarter-final 3: No. 4 Calgary 72, No. 5 McGill 69
20:00 Quarter-final 4: No. 1 Ryerson 109, No. 8 UBC 101 (OT)
Friday, March 18
17:00 Consolation 1: Ottawa 78, Thompson Rivers 77
19:00 Consolation 2: UBC 69, McGill 68
Saturday, March 19
12:00 5th-place game: UBC 93, Ottawa 76
15:00 Semifinal 1: Carleton 76, Dalhousie 66
17:30 Semifinal 2: Calgary 98, Ryerson 87
Sunday, March 20
14:00 Bronze: Ryerson 85, Dalhousie 78
17:30 Final: Carleton101, Calgary 79
CHAMPIONSHIP MVP (Jack Donohue Trophy): Connor Wood, Carleton
R.W. PUGH FAIR PLAY AWARD: Sven Stammberger, Dalhousie
CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-STARS (5):
Adika Peter-McNeilly, Ryerson
Thomas Cooper, Calgary
Connor Wood, Carleton
Ryan Ejim, Carleton
Guillaume Payen Boucard, Carleton