Lucas Meyer; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos are two home wins away from a return trip to the national championship tournament after sweeping the University of Saskatchewan Huskies with a 100-76 win Saturday night in the Jack Simpson Gym.
With the win, Calgary sets up the highly-anticipated matchup with the UBC Thunderbirds next week, with the winner clinching a berth in the U SPORTS Final 8 to be held next month in Halifax. The best-of-three Canada West semifinal will get underway Thursday with an 8 p.m. tip-off, with Game 2 set to follow Friday at 8 p.m. If necessary, Game 3 is set for Saturday at 7. All games will be in the Jack Simpson Gym, and CanadaWest.tv will have exclusive live coverage.
Saturday night, the Dinos were led by fourth-year forward Lars Schlueter, who finished with a season-high 27 points including several dunks in another blowout win following Friday's 98-73 weekend opener.
"It was new," said Schlueter, who usually does his damage from beyond the arc, of his inside dominance. "My teammates were letting me hear it, but I had to show them what was up."
Calgary got off to another strong start on Saturday, going up 27-12 after the first quarter. But after scoring just eight in the second quarter Friday night, Saskatchewan put up 26 in the second quarter, and trailed by just eight at halftime, 46-38.
In the third, Schlueter went to work, throwing down a dunk to make it 59-45 and another later in the quarter for a 61-54 score. But despite being up by as much as 19 in the quarter, Saskatchewan kept chipping away and early in the fourth, it was just 70-61. However, point guard David Kapinga took over, sparking a 9-0 run, scoring six of them as the Dinos pulled away for the 24-point victory.
Calgary outscored the Huskies 30-17 in the final quarter, hitting the 100-point mark for the sixth time this season.
Along with Schlueter's 27, Kapinga finished with 20 points, while Connor Foreman had 14 and Lucas Mannes had 15 off the bench, as Calgary shot 53 per cent from the field.
Saskatchewan was led by the second-leading scorer in the conference this season, Lawrence Moore, who had a game-high 32 points, playing all 40 minutes.
With the first round behind them, the Dinos will turn their attention to the UBC Thunderbirds in what should be a dandy between the No. 4 and No. 5-ranked teams in the nation. Calgary swept UBC in their season series in November, but the Thunderbirds lost just one game the rest of the year.
"It's going to be tough," Schlueter said. "They're a very good team."
The winner of that series will play the winner of the Lethbridge vs. Alberta semifinal for the Canada West title, with both finalists qualifying for the national tournament in Halifax.
Photo by David Moll