Saturday, 1 March 2008

Wayne Thomas provides his thoughts on the Dinos loss in Calgary

UBC Hands Dinos Painful Defeat The build-up was electric, the stands were packed, the signs were painted, and the anticipation was thick in the air as the Calgary Dinos took to the floor to play the UBC T-Birds in the Jack Simpson Gym Friday in front over 3,200 fans. But the weight of expectations and a stubborn UBC defense took the crowd and the Dinos out of the game, and the intruders from the Pacific celebrated a 77-69 win, propelling them to the CIS Nationals, and into the Canada West Final on Saturday. From the onset, the Dinos played like a team wound a little too tightly, and their offense was virtually non-existent, as they scored 13 pts. in the 1st quarter and a paltry 10 in the 2nd. Despite their struggles, Calgary had limited the T-Birds to only 28 pts., and trailed by 5 at the break. Surely, they would snap out of it in the second half. But, instead, their defense disappeared for most of the 3rd quarter, as the blue-shirted Pacific Champs rang up 32 points, many from open shots unimpeded by Dino defenders. Calgary made a bit of a run in the 4th quarter to close to within 7, but could not get timely hoops to make it close at the finish. UBC's Chris Dyck proved too tough to stop, hitting for 26 points as well as grabbing 10 rebounds. Brent Malish scored 14 and claimed 11 boards as the T-Birds beat the Dinos 47-32 off the glass. Calgary was led by Henry Bekkering with 19, and his brother Ross with 16, but the Dinos seemed out of synch at the offensive end and never displayed the movement or the finish necessary to threaten UBC. Calgary shot an excruciatingly cold 32% from the floor, while the 'Birds hit on 46% of their tries. Neither team shot well from the line, as Calgary was 17/26 (65%), and UBC 12/20 (60%). Calgary must now recover for Saturday's 5:00 p.m. 3rd place game against Brandon, with a possible CIS wild-card spot at stake.

Bears Top Bobcats In Game One The Alberta Golden Bears, behind 21 points from Alex Steele, came up big in the 4th quarter to catch and bury the #1 seeded Brandon Bobcats 85-79, and qualify for the CIS Nationals. The Bears, who also had Justin VanLoo (14), CG Morrison (15), and Richard Bates (12) in double figures, played an inspired 2nd half, and out-rebounded Brandon 43-34 on the game. The wild-card team in this Canada West Final Four after losing two straight to the Dinos here last weekend, Alberta dug down deep to move past the Bobcats and into Saturday's Championship Final.

Notes ...
> The Calgary-Brandon winner on Saturday will have to wait and hope that the #2 ranked Acadia Axemen win the Atlantic Tournament next weekend. The wild-card selection process is anything but cut and dried, with 11 criteria coming into play to make the choice, but both the Dinos and Bobcats would be in the running.
> The T-Birds seemed to get better energy from the big Calgary crowd, while the Dinos were almost like a reluctant performer in too bright a spotlight. Truly a crushing disappointment for a team seemingly on a path to Nationals. The crowd were almost as stunned as the Dinos team by the turn of events which saw the home side lose at 'The Jack' for the first time this season, in this, the biggest game they had played. The agony of defeat indeed ....

Also, Ben Matchett's report from Calgary Sports Info... T-BIRDS UPEND DINOS IN CONFERENCE SEMI CALGARY – The fifth-ranked UBC Thunderbirds handed the Calgary Dinos their first home loss of the season Friday night in the one game the Dinos couldn’t afford to lose. A 77-69 triumph for the T-Birds, seeded third coming into the Canada West Final Four in Calgary, completed a night of upsets in the Jack Simpson Gym and propels them into the Canada West Final on Saturday night against the Alberta Golden Bears, who upended the Brandon Bobcats 85-79 in the early semi-final. It also sets up a bronze medal showdown between the Dinos and Bobcats, who both need a win Saturday to have any chance at the wild card berth to the CIS Championship in Ottawa in two weeks’ time. “It’s disappointing. We didn’t play well, we didn’t shoot the ball well, and we beat ourselves in so many areas,” said Calgary coach Dan Vanhooren, whose team falls to 14-1 on home court this season. “You’ve got to give it to UBC for playing as physical as they did and really taking us out of our game and away from the things that work well for us.” A two-handed dunk by Henry Bekkering (4th year, Taber, Alta.) opened the scoring for Calgary, but the Thunderbirds went on a 12-2 run from there and never looked back. A long three by Ross Bekkering (3rd, Taber) made it 14-13 Calgary, but that was as close as they would get for the rest of the night. The Dinos shot just 8-for-33 in the first half (24.2 per cent), while the T-Birds fared little better at 36.4 and took a 28-23 lead into the break. Trailing by just five at halftime, Calgary got off to a disastrous start in the third quarter as UBC extended the lead to nine points in the first 24 seconds. The Thunderbirds shot an otherworldly 70 per cent in the third quarter, scoring 32 points and keeping the standing-room-only crowd of 3,244 from willing the hosts back into it. “In the second half we were scoring well, but we gave up 32 points in the third quarter,” said Vanhooren. We really have a better club than played tonight, and it’s disappointing to see that our fate, win or lose tomorrow, is going to come down to a committee to see if we go to nationals.” Second team all-star Chris Dyck (4th, Winnipeg) lived up to his billing with a 26-point, 10-rebound performance to lead the way for UBC, who gave up a late lead to the Dinos in the team’s only other meeting of the season back in November. He was joined in the double-double department by Brent Malish (2nd, Langley, B.C.) who potted 14 and hauled down 11. The Thunderbirds were successful in shutting down the Dinos off the glass, out-boarding Calgary 47-32 on the night. The Bekkering brothers were Calgary’s highest scorers on the night, with Henry pouring in 19 and Ross adding 16, but Henry struggled to go just 2-for-7 from the free throw line. Conference rookie of the year Tyler Fidler (1st, Calgary) played 29 minutes but went 0-for-10 from the field despite recording nine rebounds to match Ross’ team high. UBC moves on to play Alberta in the conference final at 7 p.m. MT, but the marquee match-up comes in the bronze medal game where the No. 3 Bobcats and No. 4 Dinos will do battle. “We have to win tomorrow’s game if we want to extend our season,” said Vanhooren. “Third place games are horrible games to play. You have two teams that are both really disappointed, and I think the team that just refocuses and finds themselves and doesn’t take it to heart as much will probably be successful tomorrow. It’s just too bad that it’s come to that with two of the top teams in our conference.” Tip-off goes at 5 p.m. MT in the Jack.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that if Acadia happens to lose its semi in the AUS tournament, they will not be granted, nor deserve a wildcard.
A loss in the AUS final, though, would give the wildcard committee something to ponder.