Men’s basketball drops game to top-ranked T-Birds

By Jon Roe

There was no revenge for the Dinos over the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on homecourt last weekend. The last time the men’s basketball team met the T-Birds, it was in the national semi-finals at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 tournament in Ottawa and the T-Birds ended the Dinos’ season with a 79-74 victory.

Saturday night was no different. The T-Birds came to town and took away a 79-71 victory from the Dinos, staying undefeated on the season at 13-0. The Dinos drop to 11-4. Both teams lead their respective division.

Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren said that second-half turnovers and leading scorer Robbie Sihota’s foul trouble hurt the team.

“In the third quarter, we came out and dribbled the ball too much instead of moving the ball well,” he said after the loss. “They brought a little trap and we need to do a better job of finding open guys and open spaces. We got a little tight.”

The Dinos led 42-27 after two quarters only to be outscored 52-29 in the final two. Sihota was limited to just 14 minutes in the game, though he still picked up 10 points.

“Robbie got into some foul trouble a little bit, and that certainly helped us,” said T-Birds head coach Kevin Hanson. “He’s been dynamite for them this year as well, that helps us rebounding wise too. I thought we rebounded the ball well against one of the top rebounding teams in the country.”

Tyler Fidler capped off a big weekend with 19 points to lead the Dinos after scoring 30 in Friday’s overtime victory over the University of Victoria Vikes.

Though there’s an outside chance the University of Saskatchewan Huskies or the University of Regina Cougars can catch them for the division lead (they are both currently 2.5 games back at 8-6), the Dinos have secured their playoff position and will look to continue to improve down the stretch.

The Cougars come to town to take on the Dinos this weekend in back-to-back games and then the Dinos travel to Brandon to take on the 6-10 Bobcats before finishing out the season with a single game against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Vanhooren was happy with his team’s play against the T-Birds, the number one ranked team in the country, despite the result.

“We can compete with anybody in the nation and now we know it,” Vanhooren said. “That’s a big step for our kids, in believing they’re capable of winning a championship this year. Quite frankly, we played that team without our leading scorer; he’s on the bench all game. If we can do a better job of staying out of foul trouble, then we know we can compete with them.”

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