Dominant depth, dominant defence and spread-out, accurate 3-pt shooting made all the difference as the Calgary Dinos displayed their legitimate national power Thursday in Lethbridge, ultimately running down the home Pronghorns 95-71.
Calgary improved to 4-1 in Canada West. Lethbridge is 4-3. The teams have a return engagement Saturday evening in Cowtown.
All 12 Calgary players hit the scoresheet. It is very arguable all 12 Calgary players would start on at least half of the 16 other Canada West teams, certainly at least 11.
All 12 Calgary players worked hard on defence, often picking up baseline-to-baseline. Lethbridge shot 26-70 (37.1 percent) from the floor, including 5-24 (20.8 percent) from three-point country. Perhaps even more telling were 26 ‘Horn turnovers. But, beyond that, it often took Lethbridge over 12 seconds to initiate the offence.
As for 3-pt shooting the Dinos went 10-20, with six Calgary marksmen finding the range. Six-foot-eight Lars Schlueter (3rd-year, Ulm, Germany) had the hottest hand going 4-6 from downtown.
Calgary led 10-7, 38-31, 69-56 by quarter.
To me, the tone of the game was set when Calgary started 6’0″, 4th-year, guard Jhony Verrone from Montreal. Other than his immediate family I may be Verrone’s biggest fan. In addition to his always tenacious and at-times grating D, he scored four points (going 1-1 outside the arc), added four assists and pulled down six rebounds. Most importantly, he just flat out helped his team win.
Calgary’s Thomas Cooper (6’5″, 5th-year, Chattanooga, Tennessee), surely among this year’s top Naismith candidates, had to work hard for his 19 points. He converted in traffic as the tilt progressed. Schleuter finished with 16, while persistent driver Mambi Diawara (6’4″, 3rd-year, Montreal) added 15 markers.
Man-of-the match for Lethbridge was clearly William Hickey (6′, 5th-year, Golden, B.C) who scored 16 points in 16 minutes, going 5-6 from the field. 6’4″ Elliott Sentance (3rd-year, Leicester, England) tallied 21 points, and pulled in 10 boards, but went 5-18 from the floor. 6’0″ guard Dejon Burdeaux (4th-year, San Leandro, California) grabbed nine rebounds, dished out eight assists and came up with four steals, but taking more than five shots from the field (finishing with seven points) might well have been helpful. Burdeaux may indeed have been unselfish to a fault.
In other Canada West games last night, Winnipeg (10-2, 5-2) got 23 points from 6’2″ Narcisse Ambanza in 93-83 win over Brandon (3-9, 2-5) while Mount Royal (5-6, 4-1) took over in the third quarter to route MacEwan (6-7, 2-5) 90-66.