Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Calgary Stuns Ryerson, Will Play Carleton in CIS Final 8 Title Game

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Calgary Stuns Ryerson, Will Play Carleton in CIS Final 8 Title Game

Article excerpt

Calgary stuns Ryerson at CIS Final 8

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VANCOUVER - Thomas Cooper has the Calgary Dinos one step from history.

The guard scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as No. 4 Calgary stunned the top-ranked Ryerson Rams 98-87 on Saturday in the semifinals of the CIS Final 8 men's basketball tournament.

A fourth-year transfer from the University of Nebraska-Kearney, Cooper scored 11 points in the opening quarter as the Dinos stormed out to a 27-13 lead and never really looked threatened in cruising to their first berth in the championship game since the program's only other trip in 1966.

"A few guys were nervous on our team, which is natural. We've never been here before," said Cooper, a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., who averaged 25.8 points per game in the regular season. "I just wanted to come out and get a good start, which I did. It just helped lead my team to get more energy. Everybody ramped up.

"We just kept our foot on the gas."

Calgary will be going for its first men's basketball crown on Sunday against the powerhouse Carleton Ravens, who have won five straight titles and advanced with a 76-66 win over the No. 6 Dalhousie Tigers in Saturday's other semifinal.

"First team I heard about," Cooper said of the No. 2 Ravens. "We've got to treat it like it's another team. Nobody expected us to win today."

David Kapinga added 26 points for the Dinos and Jasdeep Gill chipped in with 23 thanks to 4 of 7 shooting from three, but it was Cooper who stirred the drink for the Dinos all night.

"How do you describe it? He's a leader, he's confident, he brings a level of confidence to the other guys," said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. "He's a walking event for us."

Adika Peter-McNeilly led the way with 22 points and 11 boards for Ryerson, which survived a scare in the opening round against No. 8 UBC, but was unable to overcome another slow start against Calgary.

"It's something we talk about a lot -- not to play with fire," said Rams interim head coach Patrick Tatham. "The hole we were playing in ... there's only so much you can do before the magic runs out. It ran out tonight, that's for sure."

Ryerson beat Carleton last weekend for its first OUA title, but will have to settle for a third-place game with Dalhousie. …

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