The Dinos men's basketball team has a little more reason to strut about campus this week: they gave everything they had and eventually came out on top Dec. 3-4. True, they're 3-7 in league play with a half-season of work ahead of them, but with shooting averages like they had these games, it will be a short trip to the top.
The University of Saskatchewan Huskies met more than their match in the first 20 minutes of play on Saturday. The Dinos finished the half up 46-34, leaving the Huskies dizzily staggering off the court to regroup. The game spun quickly out of control in the second half as our two key post players, Chris Wright and Ross Bekkering, were fouled out and sentenced to become spectators for the remainder of the game.
From there, shooting went down to 38 per cent and, before they knew it, our boys had lost the game 78-73. Somebody kick that dog.
Sunday was beautiful to watch. Our men came back with a little technique called the full-court press, which tamed the Huskies the entire game. The first half's 52 per cent shooting alone gave the Dinos a permanent lead to match the permanent grin on spectators' faces. The two post-men who were shorted game time on Saturday formed a double-double with little toil or trouble--Wright had 16 points and 14 rebounds, Bekkering 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Josh Feist once again caused fans to ask, "Why run on hardwood when you can hover over it?" chipping in 13 points, nine assists and five steals. Point guard Cody Darrah added 16 points from the outside and Robbie (The Chief) Sihota hit seven points, eight rebounds and had two beautiful blocks.
In the final score, we took the dogs by more than 20 points, 94-72. Back to the prairie lands from which you came. Mush!
Dinos Head Coach Dan Vanhooren was more than pleased with the results and process it took to get those results on the weekend.
"I felt very proud of our young kids on the weekend," he said. "[The most improved is] Robbie Sihota right now. I think defensively he's starting to get it. He's starting to get better and I think that's only going to help us."
"Both these games were big games for us mentally," he added. "To beat a good team by as much as we did was a real good thing for us. I think everyone's gelling pretty good about our opportunity now and has a belief in what we're doing again."
With that belief in hand, both the team and coaching staff are now gunning for the playoffs.
"We're one game back," Vanhooren observed. "Some of our opponents have a pretty tough schedule right after Christmas and we have an opportunity with hosting Brandon, so I think we can get back into the hunt right away. Brandon's a good team and we can't take them lightly, but they're different from playing UBC."
So before Dinos fans all huddle around the tall and break out in a rendition of "Fa-Ru-Fo-Re," let us remember the work left for our men: the team plays three games after Christmas Dec. 29-31. They take on the Rocky Mountain College Battlin' Bears, Carroll College Pioneers and University of Great Falls Argos respectively in Billings, Montana.
The new year could be harvest time for the Dinos as they use their talents for the greater good of the team more effectively. For now, they can take solace in the fact that the 12 days of Christmas began with a Huskie dog turning to flee.