Was that "thud" the sound of the Dinos falling closer to the basement or just an echo of one of their opposition’s weekend alley-oops? Yes, that’s plural, as in the Dinos were dunked-on many times en route to dropping two more games in embarrassing fashion.
What’s wrong with our boys?
"That’s what we’ve been trying to figure out for the last two weeks," shrugged center Chris Harris. "We just aren’t playing with any passion."
Two uninspired outings against Simon Fraser University showed changes are definitely in order. Aside from Whit Hornsberger’s stylin’ blue sneaks there was no discernible difference between the SFU failure and last weekend’s debacle in Lethbridge. The Dino’s shooting percentage fell faster than the stock market back in ’29 with three-point marksmanship as effective as an Iraqi SCUD missile (4 for 29 over the weekend).
The Dinos just didn’t seem to care at times, merely going through the motions after falling behind early to a more energized, hungrier Lethbridge squad.
They stormed out of the gate after Christmas, but since coming home to play SFU the Dinos have gone flatter than a pitcher of Kokanee at The Den.
"We went into Regina cocky and we blew them out," said the struggling Hornsberger. "Since then, we’ve just been playing scared."
The rookie point guard isn’t the only Dino to have problems on the court; the usually prolific John Riad scored only 25 points all weekend, foul trouble plagued big-man Wes Jickling while high-scorer Andy Strodeur shot a dismal 3 for 15 from the field on Saturday despite going 18 for 23 from the line.
The Pronghorns, on the other hand, got two mammoth performances from third-year Bert Church High School product Ryan Reed. Two rebounds away from a triple-double on Friday, the dominant point guard stole the show tallying 49 points over the two games and adding 17 assists and 13 rebounds for good measure.
"Lethbridge is a good team," conceded frustrated Dino Head Coach Dan Vanhooren. "But they’re not that good. Our defence let us down."
Despite what their record and their recent play might suggest, the Dinos are a threat every time they step on the court. With two of the best young players in the country in their backcourt, a new coach with an exciting up-tempo style and a group of big men that are all double-double threats, many are left scratching their heads when they leave the Jack after witnessing loss after loss.
On the brighter side, there is a tremendous amount of parity in the Canada West conference this year and Calgary is by no means down and out. A couple of home games against the bumbling Saskatchewan Huskies on Jan. 26 and 27 should be just what the Dinos need to rebuild their confidence and get back on track.