The Brandon University Bobcats bob-cut the Dinos men's basketball team deep Jan. 6-7 as the weekend's results were not to plan.
Friday night left fans optimistic as the Dinos took to the floor with cohesion and energy. They jolted the Bobcats by shooting 50 per cent from the field and 88 per cent from the charity stripe. Captain Chris Wright and protege Ross Bekkering--ranked second and sixth respectively in Canada West for defensive rebounds--helped the Dinos out-rebound the Bobcats 46-33.
The entire game showed our Dinos claiming the key and taking the game in stride from inside. Top scoring for the Dinos came from Brian Finniss, who racked up 22 points for the game. The Dinos landed a 92-71 victory.
As fans watched in stunned bewilderment, the Bobcats swung Saturday's game from being a sure thing to the worst thing, and dealt a crushing blow to the Dinos' game plan. Despite every Dinos effort, the Bobcats were built Ford tough. Dany Chalery and Chad Jacobson added points and defensive rebounds while the rest of the Bobcats preyed upon inevitable turnovers and loose balls.
However, something decked Dino Robbie Sihota's halls over Christmas; the rookie revealed his love affair with the hoop on Saturday night. The forward was focused on Saturday, adding 18 points and nine rebounds to be the team's top scorer. Unfortunately, the Dinos fell short of their goal in the end, finishing the game with 72 to the Bobcats' 87.
Although this is not where the Dinos had hoped to be, their Christmas road games inspire hope for the team. Barely recovered from turkey comas, the Dinos hit the snow-free highway Dec. 29-31, destination: Montana.
Billings was the first stop, where the Dinos clashed egos with the Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears and the Carroll College Fighting Saints. While there, the players gave some of their best efforts all season, keeping the nationally ranked colleges sprinting for their eventual victories.
The Dinos weariness was apparent as they traveled on to play the University of Great Falls Argos with just seven players. Yes, you read correctly. For a myriad of reasons--including plain old bad luck--the Dinos tackled Montana short five players and went on to lose post player Sonny Khangura for an unspecified amount of time to a leg injury in the game against Carroll College. Really, the season has been Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians brought to life.
Despite the pain and frustration of losses both on the court and on the bench, two positive outcomes came from the three Montana losses. The Dinos gained a six-foot-three point guard, Tony Dhaliwal, from friendly British Columbia, who contributed 11 points in the Bobcat games.
"Tony will add quickness and defense to the mix," anticipates Dinos Assistant Coach Wayne Thomas, "He has great floor sense in running the offense."
The team can also take heart in its rookie and veteran talent that have weathered the pains of the season and were key ingredients in Montana.
"Chris Wright, who has played with several nagging hurts this whole season, led the team in scoring and rebounding while throwing his body into the path of opponents in drawing charges in all three games," pointed out Thomas, "Brian [Finniss] is the defensive leader on the perimeter, and he too plays through illness and hurts to give the team big minutes every time out."
And Sihota and Bekkering have shot straight up from rookies of the year to among the Dinos players of the year. The team as a whole is currently ranked third for offensive rebounding, third for offensive scoring and has the highest free throw percentages in Canada West.
The home games Jan. 13-14 will be nothin' but Alberta as the Dinos attempt to outshine the University of Alberta Golden Bears at 8 p.m. in the Jack both evenings.