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March 8, 2019 | Basketball (M)

Tough start for men's basketball team at nationals

The third-seeded Ryerson Rams cruised to an 87-47 victory over the sixth-seeded Concordia Stingers in quarterfinal action at the U SPORTS Men's Basketball Final 8 in Halifax on Friday afternoon.

The OUA runners-up led the RSEQ champions 17-4 after the opening six minutes. Keyed by back-to-back three-pointers from Keevon Small and Myles Charvis, the Rams extended their double-digit lead to 26-6 after the first quarter.

In a low-scoring second quarter, both teams tallied 15 points. The Rams led 41-21 at halftime.

Adrian Armstrong, who collected 10 points in the first two quarters, led the Concordia offence, including banking-in a shot-clock beating three-pointer.

In the third quarter, Ryerson outscored Concordia 22-12 and extended its advantage to 63-33. The Rams continued to pull away in the fourth quarter on five--of-eight shooting from downtown, with Nathan Culbreath and Nikola Urosevic coming off the bench to connect from beyond the arc.

As for the Stingers, the fifth-best three-point shooting team in U SPORTS, they finished an anemic 3-for-36 from downtown.

“I think their length on defence bothered us, and we also missed a lot of open shots early on,” said Concordia head coach Rastko Popovic. “You can’t fall behind a team like Ryerson 10-0. It wasn’t ideal.

“I think there was a lot of nervousness early and we couldn’t recover. They are such a great team and have been here so many times.”

Despite the one-sided victory for his squad, Ryerson head coach Roy Rana described Concordia as a “program on the rise.”

“I feel for them. I remember our first experience at nationals,” he said, noting a blowout loss to Alberta.

Armstrong, the Stingers Player of the Game, meshed a game-best 19 points, while second team all-Canadian guard Ricardo Monge collected 11.

On Saturday, the Stingers will tip off against the Saint Mary’s Huskies at 10 a.m. ET in a consolation semifinal. The Rams move on to face the defending champion Calgary Dinos, in a rematch of last year’s national title game.

Players of the Game

Concordia: Adrian Armstrong

Ryerson: Myles Charvis