The University of Calgary men's basketball team made a statement last weekend, sweeping their two-game series against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The Bears were the favourite heading into the weekend but the Dinos made them look extremely ordinary, winning both games by significant margins--94-75 on Fri. and 98-73 on Sat.
During Friday's game, the Dinos were losing at half-time 45-43. The Bears looked like they might take control but Calgary outscored them 27-13 in the final ten minutes and pulled away.
Free-throw shooting played a key role in this game as the Dinos went 35/44 from the line including a 12/12 effort from point guard Jeff Price and a 7/7 effort from Tyler Fidler. The Dinos also out-rebounded the Bears 37-30.
The showtime Dinos were led again by 6'6", 238-pound Hank "The Tank" Bekkering, who earned player of the game honours for Fri. with a game-high 28 points and nine rebounds including some spectacular dunks. Henry's dunks are well-known as one of them placed in the 39th spot of the Best Damn Sports Show Period top-fifty spectacular dunks. Clips of the dunk are available on YouTube. Robbie Sihota had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Price had 22 points and Fidler chipped in with 14.
"We really didn't play that well in the first half at times," said Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren. "We turned the ball over too much in the first half. I haven't seen the stats for the second half. We did a better job using our posts in the fourth quarter. I had to yell at them about getting it inside and stop settling for jump shots. We were shooting jump shot after jump shot and the kids responded. I thought we played pretty well for the most part."
The Sat. night game was a complete mashing of the Golden Bears. The Bears were never in the game and the Dinos had a 55-35 at the half. The tight defensive play of the Dinos wouldn't allow the game to become dire as the closest the Bears would get in the second half would be a 16-point deficit.
Ross Bekkering continued his strong start to the season recording another double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds on his way to player of the game honours for Sat. night. Sihota also earned a double-double with 17 points and ten rebounds. Cody Darrah was dynamite from beyond the arc, hitting four three-pointers and finishing with 14 points on the night. Price, Henry Bekkering and Josh Lovestone finished with ten points apiece.
"It's good but I think we made a statement to the nation that we were going to be in the top ten and that we were a top-ten team also," said Henry. "You know we played hard and expected to win these two games. We're at home and we expect to sweep at home so it was good."
Coach Vanhooren was also positive about the weekend.
"We played very, very good basketball tonight," he said. "We had, I think, four turnovers at the half and I thought that was the difference in the game."
Both games were also fortunate to have the Stampede Showband's Brass Choir playing at Fri. night's game and A Band of Outriders playing at Sat. night's game. Both of these performances greatly enhanced the atmosphere of both games. They played a wide range of tunes, including Green Day's "Holiday."
"I think it's awesome," said Vanhooren. "It gives it a bit more of that NCAA feel and I think the energy is greater. I think it's great at half time that we have them and I really think that the people here appreciate it. I know our players do and it's really fun to have them here."
The Dinos are now in sole possession of first place in the Central division and have finally managed to crack the top ten in national rankings. However, the Dinos take on the very tough University of Saskatchewan Huskies next weekend. Leading the pack is forward Andrew Spagrud who has averaged 22.43 points per game through his first seven games. The Bears take on the winless University of Lethbridge Pronghorns. The Huskies knocked the Dinos out of the first round of the playoffs last season so the Dinos will be looking for revenge.