Jack Pengelly; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – A suffocating defence collided with an offence gasping for air Friday night as the University of Calgary Dinos defeated the UBC Okanagan Heat 101-56 in one of their most balanced performances of the season.
Lucas Mannes had his best scoring performance since being inserted into the starting lineup, pouring in ten points in the first quarter and finishing with 15. But the night belonged to the Dinos bench. Wreaking havoc with their full court press, the Dinos second unit was able to get out in transition and get to the rim. At half, they held a 23-4 points off turnover advantage.
In what at times seemed to be a clinic on basketball fundamentals, the Dinos ball distribution created easy looks across the floor. The intensity at both ends throughout the game came as no surprise to second-year forward Sasha Pojuzina.
"It just comes from practice, going against the starters."
Known as the "Surgical Tactical Unit," the bench exercised clinical precision in controlling the tempo of the game.
The second unit continued to gain quality looks in the second half, with first-year guard Andrew Milner spacing the floor and connecting on 4/7 shots from long range and finishing with 14 points. First-year guard Mason Foreman scored a game-high 18 points, in his best game of his young career. The Dinos bench outscored the Heat 62-16, with Pojuzina, Milner, and Foreman connecting at an exceptionally efficient 63% from the field.
The youth and speed of the Dinos second unit has been a story all year, providing Head Coach Dan Vanhooren with immediate energy off the bench. At times the smaller lineup has struggled on the glass against stronger opponents, however their growth has been undeniable. And their speed uncontestable. The Dinos outscored the heat 14-0 on fast break points, with the bench just scratching the surface of their potential.
"It's good to have the second unit [play together] since we are so young, and bond together for the years to come," said Pojuzina.
While the balanced, youthful attack has become a threat in Canada West for the forseeable future, their immediate impact will surely be felt for the remainder of this season. The No. 4 Dinos now move to 12-3 on the season, as CW playoffs loom on the horizon. The Dinos close out the series against the UBCO Heat Saturday at 7 p.m. MT.
Photo by David Moll