The Dinos have served notice: they are not to be taken lightly. A team with talent no one can deny and some of the worst luck in Canada West when it comes to injuries, our men's basketball crew put the highly-touted University of Alberta Golden Bears in their place Nov. 2-3 as they opened their season at the Jack.
Led by the dynamic duo of Whit Hornsberger and John Riad--indeed one of the best backcourt combos in the nation, the Dinos put it all together earning a split in two highly-entertaining, hard fought games. Following their lacklustre pre-season there were a few concerns about the team. Let's address them.
1. Lack of a significant front court presence.
What do you do when you lose two of your key big men in the off-season? You play positional ball, you hustle and you rebound by committee. The Dinos beat the much bigger Bears on the boards, doing so while displaying a chemistry they could never consistently muster last season.
2. Lack of a bona fide third scorer.
While everyone knows Hor-nsberger and Riad are good for at least 20 points a game, the Dinos needed to have a third player step up on a regular basis. On this weekend vets Andy Strodeur and Jeff Loomis delivered. Strodeur's 12 points in Friday's 83-80 overtime triumph and Loomis' 14 in a 96-93 loss on Saturday are truly signs of this team's maturity and depth.
3. A balanced attack from both big guns.
To be a truly dangerous player you need to be able to put up 30+ points some nights and create offence for your teammates when the shots aren't falling. After being criticized as one-dimensional last season, both Riad and Hornsberger answered the call. Riad's 11 rebounds over the two games combined with Hornsberger's 11 total assists are a heartening sign of the more complete game these two players--the lynch pins of this year's Dinos squad--are bringing to the court.
All in all, the season is off to a very promising start, a start they'll try to continue when they travel to Lethbridge for a pair of games Nov. 9-10.