Ballers sting Concordia in O-Town

By Brad Halasz

If the Concordia University Stingers took away anything from the 76-67 beating handed to them by the University of Calgary Dinos in the quarterfinal game at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 men’s basketball tournament last Friday at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, Ontario, it’s that size does indeed matter.

The freewheeling brothers Bekkering proved too much for the Stingers as their small but speedy style did not match up to the frames of Henry and Ross.

“We don’t have guys that size,” said Concordia head coach John Dore. “We had trouble with them on the boards. The guys we put in didn’t do the job inside. We didn’t have one of our better games today.”

Making their first trip to the Final 8 since 2004, the Dinos looked shaky out of the gate and found themselves trailing 23-14 after the first quarter, admittedly letting the gravity of the tournament become a factor in the opening frame.

“In the first quarter there was a little bit of nerves and we expected that, it’s a national stage, but we worked real hard on how to handle that and control it and kind of harness it in the right way,” said Ross.

Proving it’s not just the size, but what you do with it, the Dinos found their legs in the second quarter going on an 18-9 run capped off with a huge three from first-year guard Andy Rochon to tie the game heading into the break.

“For our guys to battle back and tie the game up at half was big,” said Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren. “That just helps our guys realize that even when they’re playing poorly that we can come out and we got the fuzz off and could refocus ourselves.”

Vanhooren said the Dinos played “some silly basketball at times” in the opening two frames. Missing for most of the half was starting forward Robbie Sihota who was limited to just six minutes of floor time in the first after getting into foul trouble early.

“We’re obviously a bit different team when we have him on the floor and it makes a big difference with him there,” said Vanhooren.

Not one to bow out quietly the six-foot-six 225 pound forward made a statement early and quickly with a huge drive that resulted in a highlight-reel slam that opened the scoring for the Dinos in the second half and simultaneously turned the tide of the game. The basket sparked an 18-0 run that saw Ross and Henry make crowd-pleasing dunks.

Tyler Fidler– who in his second year has had a breakout season– was again solid in the paint with 12 points thanks to a reliable midrange jumper.

“When a good team gets their flow it’s hard to stop,” said red-eyed Concordia guard Dwayne Buckley following the tilt. “They got their flow.”

In his fifth year, Buckley wasn’t going down without a fight in what was his last bid at the CIS title. He led his squad with 19 points and was named the Stingers game MVP for his efforts.

“We wish we had 11 other guys with his heart because he works like a dog,” said Dore.

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