Just when the Dinos men's basketball team thought they were sitting securely in first, the chair got knocked out from under them. The men traveled to the University of Lethbridge and were defeated by the Pronghorns 70-64 on Jan. 21, but won 87-66 on Jan. 22. Unfortunately for the team, they were only traveling with eight players. A family crisis summoned the brothers Brar (Rick and Sandy) to the west coast and newcomer Mike Asmus was too sick to travel.
The missing players were a big issue for the Dinos on Friday, as they were unsure of their capabilities due to the absentees. This was reflected in the abysmal half-time score of 47-28. The Dinos came back in the second half, out scoring the U of L 33-26. To their dismay, it wasn't enough to win the game.
Surinder Grewal and Chris Wright carried the team with 26 and 15 points, respectively.
"We were maybe a bit overly cautious and we came out very flat and not focused," Assistant Head Coach Wayne Thomas explained of the poor performance.
According to Thomas, the men were "defensively slow footed."
"The key statistic was that we only shot the ball at 32 per cent, and that really killed us in the long run," he admitted.
The Dinos needed to turn things around Saturday night and they decided that they were capable of playing with eight men. Who isn't? The team made defensive adjustments and did a better job of holding the Pronghorns scoring back. They also improved their scoring percentage to 45 from the field, while holding the Pronghorns to 40 per cent.
Josh "feisty" Feist played the entire game and put forth an outstanding performance, netting 14 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists. Grewal was a leader at both ends of the court, pulling in 28 points and 12 rebounds. Jon Salgado and Ian Ferguson were strong in post and defensive play.
Thomas says that they expect the Brars back and are preparing for two new opponents.
"We haven't played either team and are expecting two tough games. But we are re-focused. Saturday's game gave us confidence."
The Dinos are now sitting pretty with nine wins and five losses, as are the University of Saskatchewan Huskies, with the University of Alberta Golden Bears in hot pursuit with eight wins and six losses. The Dinos are hosting the Simon Fraser University Clan Jan. 28 and the Trinity Western University Spartans Jan. 29. Games start at 8 p.m. in the Jack Simpson Gymnasium.