The University of Calgary men’s basketball team saw their season go the way of the dinosaurs as they were swept in their opening playoff series against the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. The Dinos didn’t play very well during the first game on Fri., Feb. 16, and their defensive play, which was solid in previous meetings against the Huskies, became suddenly porous.
The Huskies outscored the Dinos 35-13 in the beginning of the second half, giving them a lead into the final 10 minutes that the Dinos simply couldn’t overcome. The Huskies outscored the Dinos 49-46 in the second half and won 91-79.
All-Canadian forward Andrew Spagrud dominated the Dinos with a game-high 35 points and nine rebounds. Husky Kyle Grant also had a strong game, recording a double-double with 10 assists and 28 points.
“Defensively we didn’t get the job done,” said Dino head coach Dan Vanhooren. “It had nothing to do with our offence.”
The Dinos had some strong performances of their own as Brian Finniss had 21 points, Ross Bekkering had 19 and Cody Darrah knocked down 12 points.
The Dinos were also hurt by the fact that starters Robbie Sihota and Josh Feist combined for a mere four points. Sihota was nursing an ankle injury and didn’t muster any type of offence in 13 minutes of playing time.
“Robbie and Josh combined for four points,” said Vanhooren. “That’s pretty tough.”
The Dinos looked to respond in the second game of the series Saturday, trying to force a third game. The first half started well as the Dinos led 52-48 and had a team shooting percentage of 68.8 per cent.
However, Andrew Spagrud again answered the call for the Huskies with two momentum-shifting dunks and another game-high 35 points. He also picked up his fourth personal foul with just over 10 minutes left and completed the game.
“We played him tough, but he’s a good player and made difficult shots,” said Vanhooren.
With just a nine seconds left a technical foul was called on Husky head coach Greg Jockims. The Dinos made both free throws, making it a one-point game with possession of the ball. Josh Feist tried to make a driving bank shot but it rolled off the rim and the Dino season was over as time ran out.
Brian Finniss had another strong game for the Dinos with 18 points. Sihota bounced back recording 25 points as his ankle was still hurting from the night before. Josh Feist also had 14 points and six assists for the Dinos.
“We played well enough to win,” said Vanhooren, “We missed a pretty good shot with seconds left and if we hit it we would be talking a lot differently right now. We have lots to look forward to but [it’s] not really the way we wanted to end the year.”
With the season now over for the players, the coaching staff can look forward to a busy off-season.
“We’re out recruiting right now and fundraising,” said Vanhooren, “for the players the season is over but for us there is no off-season.”