Ian Gustafson; Dinos Communications
CALGARY – On the night they raised their national championship banner in the Jack Simpson Gym, the University of Calgary Dinos opened their season with a 91-68 win over the Regina Cougars Friday night.
All-Canadian Mambi Diawara led the way with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Dinos, who overcame a slow start with an explosive second quarter.
"We need to shut the door on (the championship) and I think it's part of the reason why we are where we are with our inconsistent play," said Calgary Head Coach Dan Vanhooren. "You can appreciate the amount of character it takes to stand and work as hard as you can when you've accomplished your goals."
At the end of the first quarter, the Dinos were down by two points, 19-17 after managing just two field goals in the opening five minutes. The Dinos came alive in the second quarter adding 24 points before the half to lead 41-28.
Despite a third-quarter push by Regina, the Dinos pulled away again in the fourth quarter and came out with the win, scoring an even 50 in the second half.
Diawara did half of his damage from beyond the arc, shooting 5-for-12 from three-point land while picking up 12 of his 13 rebounds on the defensive glass and adding four assists. Playing his first game in the Jack Simpson Gym in Dinos colours, Brett Layton added a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double for the Dinos, including seven offensive rebounds, while Andrew Milner pitched in with 13 points off the bench.
Samuel Hillis paced the Cougars with 17 points, with Carter Millar adding 13 and Matt Barnard chipping in with 12 Millar also had a monster night on the glass, grabbing 17 rebounds along with a trio of steals.
Despite the win, Vanhooren said his team needs work on consistency.
"I don't think our effort is consistent enough to be at the level we need to be at," said the 19-year head coach.
"I thought (Diawara) made some tough shots and some were good decisions some were not, but we need to clean it up so our team can play better basketball."
The Dinos and Cougars are back in action Saturday night at the Jack Simpson Gym at 7 p.m.
Photo by David Moll