Our Dinos got a taste of March Madness Nov. 5-6, traveling down to the land of 'sweets' and hurricanes commonly known as the United States.
The men started out in Fort Worth on Saturday, taking on the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs--a first-division NCAA team. After bouncing back from a 46-28 deficit at the half to 53-50, the Dinos were ultimately tripped up by the Frogs for a final score of 87-66.
After a short sleep and miles and miles of travel, the Dinos wound up at another centre-court at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to tip off against the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. While their Hattiesburg campus has recovered from Hurricane Katrina, the Dinos have to recover from a staggering 83-55 loss. Our men held their own in the first half, leading 10-12 at one point, but fell away to be out-scored by the Eagles for the remainder of the game.
Since the games were not part of league play, the tournament was a chance for the Dinos to prove to themselves what they are capable of and highlight the skills that needed more precision. While all team members contributed points on Saturday, forwards Robbie Sihota and Chris Wright led scoring with 15 points each as well as multiple blocks and rebounds. Cody Darrah added 12 points against the Frogs.
Sunday saw different players stepping up to the plate as Brian Finniss and Whit Hornsberger--with 12 and 11 points respectively--demonstrated strength and determination from a different side of the bench.
This seems to be a frequent occurrence with our Dinos--key talent lies with not just one player, but several. With some work to improve defense and fine-tune foul and three-point shots, the Dinos have the ingredients of an unstoppable team. They proved this on the weekend despite unusual sleep habits and playing conditions.
"The real story," explained Assistant Coach Wayne Thomas, "was the 6 a.m. wake-up call followed by a half-hour drive to the Dallas airport, a fast-food breakfast and a one-and-a-half hour flight to the steamy ghost town that is New Orleans. Three hours of driving later, the Dinos arrived in Hattiesburg one hour prior to game time."
One basketball team to go please!
The traveling continues for the Dinos as they face off with the University of Alberta Golden Bears Nov. 11-12 in Edmonton. After a win-lose series against the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns, the Bears stand at 3-7--not too far off of our own 2-6 record. This battle of Alberta will give our freshman and veteran players a chance to display their unity and prepare for bigger teams yet to come.