Ian Gustafson, Dinos Communications
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos made a little history Saturday night, becoming just the fifth team in Canada West's 47-year history – and the first in school lore – to finish a men's basketball regular season undefeated with a 91-59 win over the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.
The Dinos finish 20-0 and run their conference and postseason win streak to 31 consecutive games as they get set to defend their conference and national titles. Calgary's last loss in a meaningful contest came 374 days ago, and Saturday night they became the first team since the 2005-06 UBC Thunderbirds to wrap up a perfect Canada West season.
The No. 3-ranked Dinos own the top seed in the conference playoffs and will await their first-round opponent following next week's play-in games. Calgary will face the lowest remaining seed in a best-of-three Canada West quarter-final Feb. 15-17 in the Jack Simpson Gym.
Thompson Rivers wraps up the season 6-14 and does not qualify for the playoffs.
"I think the rebounding says everything," said Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren of his squad's domination on the glass. "We almost doubled them on the glass, our effort was way better but I still think we turned the ball over a ton, which is crazy for us. With everything going on and the emotions of the game I'm not surprised by some of those errors."
The Dinos had a fast start to the game as they jumped out to a 20-4 run early in the first quarter. The Dinos kept the pressure on and finished the opening frame leading 24-10.
In the second quarter, the Dinos put their foot on the gas pedal but the WolfPack didn't fold, as the Dinos went into halftime leading 41-29.
The Dinos separated themselves from the WolfPack in the third quarter as they showed their range and went into the fourth quarter leading 61-45.
In the fourth, the Dinos sealed the deal with some impressive shooting including back-to-back threes from Mambi Diawara.
It was also senior night at the Jack Simpson Gym. Diawara, David Kapinga, Lars Schlueter, and Lucas Mannes were all honoured in a pregame speech by Vanhoroen
"It's always nice to have that moment but I was so happy I was able to say the things I wanted to say to them," said the 19-year head coach. "It gives me the opportunity to show our appreciation to what they have given the program."
The four seniors received standing ovations from the crowd as they were each subbed out of the game.
Mannes had a big night for the Dinos scoring 25 points and nine rebounds on 8-of-14 shooting.
"He brought the energy," said Vanhooren. "For him to have 25 points and nine rebounds and play the defence he plays, it is such a great accomplishment for his game."
Diawara proved why he is one of the most efficient players in the league contributing 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Brett Layton continued his impressive play as he scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting. Mason Foreman had a big night off the bench putting up 13 points.
Anton Bilous had an efficient night for the WolfPack scoring 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
NOTES: Other perfect seasons in Canada West include UBC (2005-06, 20-0), Victoria (1983-94, 10-0), Victoria (1982-83, 10-0), and Victoria (1979-80, 20-0).
Photo by David Moll