Jack Pengelly; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – Defence, ball movement, and team basketball: it was a complete showing for the No. 5 University of Calgary Dinos Friday, as they dispatched the No. 4 UBC Thunderbirds 100-76.
The Dinos limited the high-flying T-Birds to just 15.4 per cent from three-point land in the first half, building up a 48-32 lead after 20 minutes.
Mambi Diawara continued his impressive start to the 2017-18 campaign with a team-high 24 points.
"He's been pretty unselfish, moving the ball, and letting things come to him," assistant coach Matt Skinn commented following the game, adding that Diawara's offseason progression, including a tour at the FISU Games in Taiwan, has contributed to his hot start. "He has been able to come in and take that momentum into the season.
"It was a team effort, guys were rotating to the ball and contesting their shooters."
On the defensive end, the Dinos limited reigning conference MVP Conor Morgan to 17 points on 6-of-18 shooting, in his first game of the season.
Calgary scored 29 points off of turnovers in the contest, while outscoring the Thunderbirds 10-0 in fast break points. David Kapinga and Lars Schlueter added 15 and 14 points to Diawara's 24, respectively, for Calgary, while freshman Mason Foreman came off the bench to reach double digits as well with 11.
Much of the credit will be given to the stifling defense of the Dinos, but their performance at the free-throw line cemented the outcome of the game. The Dinos went 26-for-32 at the charity stripe, with an ability to get to the line every time the Thunderbirds made a run.
UBC freshman Grant Shepard provided quality minutes off the bench for the Thunderbirds, finishing with 17 points. Shepard spurred the final T-Bird run midway through the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 21, but that was as close as it would get. Isaiah Familia was the only other Thunderbird in double digits, finishing with 11.
The Dinos' second unit closed out the contest in front a hardy crowd that made its way to the Jack Simpson Gym for the home opener, despite the frigid weather outside.
The fifth-ranked Dinos will look to move to 4-0 Saturday night in the rematch between two of the nation's top programs. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. MT in the Jack Simpson Gym, live on CanadaWest.TV.
Photo by David Moll