By Scott Strasser, January 29 2015 —
The Dinos men’s basketball team maintained their position on top of the pioneer division after splitting their home series with the University of Victoria Vikes over the weekend. Game one ended 81–63 for the Vikes, but the Dinos got their revenge in game two, winning 79–73.
The Dinos now have an 11–4 record and are two points ahead of the second place University of Saskatchewan Huskies with five games left in the regular season.
The Vikes were easily the better team on Friday, shooting .524 compared to the Dinos’ .385. The Vikes were also better from the three-point line, shooting .292 compared to the Dinos’ .125.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well,” Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren said. “We missed a few assignments defensively that we should have had and we gave some shots to some guys who normally don’t score as many points as they did tonight.”
Point guard Marcus Tibbs was key for the Vikes, putting up 22 points and nine assists.
Dinos star and fifth-year point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson managed 15 points, enough to put him third on the Dinos’ all-time scoring list.
Ogungbemi-Jackson said he had mixed feelings about his success while his team was down.
“I’m a team-first guy to begin with, so I want to see our team win before I get accolades,” Ogungbemi-Jackson said.
It was a close first quarter, ending with the Vikes up 18–16. In the second frame, the Vikes went on a 7–0 run and ended the half 38–30.
The second half was all Victoria. Despite Ogungbemi-Jackson making two three-point plays, the Vikes took advantage of the Dinos’ soft defence. By the end of the third quarter, the Vikes were up 63–48.
The Dinos never came any closer, falling behind by 24 at one point. Early into the fourth, the Vikes went on a 6–0 run, knocking in three easy lay-ups en route to an 18-point victory.
“We have to be able to compete with the top teams in our league,” Vanhooren said. “We have to get healthier. We have to move the ball and trust ourselves to get the job done.”
The Dinos fared much better on Saturday, getting revenge in a game that was neck-and-neck until the final minutes.
The Dinos shot .483 from the field and .474 from the three-point line, a vast improvement from Friday.
The defence was notably stronger, keeping Tibbs to 11 points — just half of what he had achieved the night before.
Ogungbemi-Jackson and fifth-year forward Philip Barndt were key to the Dinos’ victory, proving the importance of experience.
“Friday night we only played one half of basketball. Saturday was a full team effort. The energy was a lot better and we played for four quarters,” Ogungbemi-Jackson said.
The Vikes’ best player on Saturday was fifth-year forward Chris McLaughlin, who managed 18 points and nine rebounds.
After a tight first quarter that ended tied at 22, the Vikes led 35–34 going into the half.
Barndt had a great third quarter for the Dinos, keeping his team in the game with a series of three pointers. Barndt shot .64, ending the game with 18 points.
The match was tied again going into the fourth quater. The Vikes pulled ahead early, but Ogungbemi-Jackson put up 13 points to win the game for the Dinos in a thrilling finish. He finished with 29 points, tying his season high.
After a frustrating 2013–14 season, the Dinos now look like a lock to compete in the playoffs. Vanhooren credits the attitudes of his player for the team’s improvement.
“We changed our team. We have a stronger team culture,” Vanhooren said. “The guys are working hard at what we’re trying to do and I think they’re finding some success with it.”
The Dinos head west on Jan. 30–31 to take on the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, who currently are riding an eight-game winning streak.