Men shoot out the lights in opener

By Lawrence Bailey

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.

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