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Assistant coach Wayne Thomas talks to the team.
Trent Orth/the Gauntlet

Men's Basketball: Dinos take lead in playoffs race

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The playoffs are nearing and the Dinos hoped a Jan. 19 -20 homestand could improve their chances of reaching the Canada West knockout rounds.

The Dinos earned a crucial victory over the University of Regina Cougars Fri., Jan. 19. The men's b-ballers were plagued by bad passes giving the Cougars an 11 point lead 8:53 into the game. However, the Dinos didn't panic and fought back with an 11-0 run to tie the game at 22.

For the rest of the half the Dinos were never able to take the lead, but they kept it close. The Cougars were never out in front by more than seven points and the Dinos were only down 38-36 at the half.

The Dinos played some of their best basketball of the year in the second half, scoring an impressive 64 points. Josh Feist led the charge with 17 second-half points giving him a double-double with 25 points and 14 assists. Feist also went an impressive seven for 10 from the field and was perfect from beyond the arc and from the line going three for three and eight for eight respectively.

The Cougars tried to mount a comeback and cut the Dino lead to seven points with 7:35 left in regulation, but the Dinos went on a 14-5 run over the next three and a half minutes and put to rest any thought of a Cougar comeback.

Dino forward Robbie Sihota scored 15 points and had six rebounds despite playing only 14 minutes.

Saturday the Dinos went up against one of the top teams in Canada West basketball, the third-ranked Brandon University Bobcats, and suffered a disappointing 82-79 loss.

Despite being a winnable game, the Dinos damaged their chances of victory with a low shooting percentenage.

With nine seconds left and an opportunity to take the lead, Sihota took a shot that fell short. At the other end, Brandon forward Yu Michel hit both of his free throws to give the Bobcats a three-point lead.

The Dinos missed a chance to send the game into overtime with less than a second left on the game clock when Sihota missed a three-point attempt.

"We needed to shoot the ball better," said Dino assistant coach Wayne Thomas, citing his team's 33.8 field goal percentage. "Brandon did what they had to do to win and we didn't."

Dino guard Feist ran into foul trouble early in the game, hurting the Dinos' offence. Feist played only 22 minutes and had nine points, well below his season average of 15.

Coming off the bench to replace Feist, Jeremy Odland made an impact with a double-double scoring 20 points and adding 12 rebounds.

Despite the loss, the Dinos earned themselves a one-game cushion for the final playoff spot as the now 5-11 University of Lethbridge Pronghorns dropped both of their weekend games. The 6-10 Dinos find themselves in sole possession of third place in the Canada West central division.

"If we can put a couple of wins together we should be alright," said Thomas.

Their next four away games pose a dilemma for the Dinos as the team has only had one victory on the road this season. The playoffs are still in question and their chances could depend on the success of the upcoming road trip.

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