By Jon Roe
OTTAWA- The Dinos men’s basketball team ended the Cape Breton University Capers hoop dreams Friday.
In the opening game of the quarterfinals of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championships at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, the seventh-seeded Dinos won 82-74 over the second-seeded Capers. The win matches them up again against the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds Saturday in the semi-final.
The Dinos’ win came on the back of a monstrous effort from the freethrow line. The Dinos went to the line 36 times, sinking 29 of their shots, compared to just four shots on 10 attempts for the Capers.
“We said, ‘Let’s use our big men and get inside. Let’s slow them down and get them in foul trouble,’ ” said fifth-year forward Robbie Sihota, who sank 25 points and five of six from the charity stripe. “We did. We got some of their guys in foul trouble and we got easy points from the free throw line.”
Sihota added 11 rebounds to pick up a double-double in the game.
Fellow fifth-year Ross Bekkering was also successful from the line. He ventured their 14 times and nailed 12 of those shots despite being limited to 25 minutes of action because of foul trouble.
Dinos rookie point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson made his CIS championship debut in style, picking up 17 points- including a sequence where he sunk a three, then stole the inbound and scored two more points. Afterwards, he was modest about his play.
“I thought it was not bad,” he said. “We executed, I didn’t really turn the ball over too much, which I always worry about as a point guard, right? I thought I did okay.”
Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren was more emphatic about Ogungbemi-Jackson’s play, adding that he rebounded well from a poor game in the Canada West final.
“I was proud of him like crazy. . . . In this game he played like a senior again. He’s talented and people are going to know his name in the future,” he said.
Last year, the Dinos suffered in their semi-final loss because the T-Birds outplayed them on the perimeter. This year, Vanhooren believes his guards are much quicker.
“[The Capers] would’ve really hurt us last year because we would’ve had Jamie [Mcleod] at the point all game long and that’s going to wear him down,” he said. “That makes things tough for us. Jarred’s quickness and [bench guard] Terrence [Blake]’s quickness on the floor really helps us.”
The Capers were the third-highest scoring offence in the CIS this season, but were held to only 32 points in the second half after the Dinos effectively used a three-two zone.
“Hubie Brown always said, ‘Press a pressing team,’ ” Vanhooren said. “. . . I thought [the three-two zone] really disrupted their tempo, got the shot clock down and maybe made them take some shots they weren’t ready to shoot. They weren’t able to get the ball to the guys they wanted to shoot the ball.”
Jimmy Dorsey, the Capers leading scorer during the regular season, was limited to just 26 minutes because of early fouls, though he picked up 19 points during that time, mostly from threes hit in the later stages in the game. The Capers were also hindered by the loss of CIS defensive player of the year Phillip Nkrumah, who played just 11 minutes after hitting the basket support. He jumped up to make an outstanding block, fell into the support hard, and didn’t play at all in the second half. Paris Carter chipped in 14 points before fouling out in the fourth for the Capers.
Four Dinos scored in the double digits including Sihota and Ogungbemi-Jackson. Bekkering had 14 points and six rebounds in limited action and third-year Tyler Fidler had 11 points.
The Dinos move on to a rematch of last year’s semi-finals with the T-Birds on Saturday night at 5 p.m. ET on TSN2. The T-Birds easily won their quarterfinal over the Lakehead University Thunderwolves 79-58 thanks to a 21-0 run to open the second half. The Thunderwolves saw a six-point lead they had staked at halftime evaporate quickly to last year’s runners-up at this tournament.
The T-Birds took the only match-up between them and the Dinos this year 79-71 in Calgary. UBC has only lost twice all year: once against the Simon Fraser University Clan during the regular season and again, critically, during the final four tournament in their home gym in overtime to the eventual Canada West champion University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
Check out Flickr for photos from the Dinos playing the Capers.