Stellar defensive effort lifts Dinos at Alberta

Calgary (13-1, 8-1) 69, Alberta (17-4, 10-1) 60... Dinos locked down the host Bears during the game-deciding third-quarter run and Calgary’s stable of athletic guards held star 6’1″ point guard Austin Waddoups in check as Dinos took the first of a weekend home-and-home set in Edmonton.

After Alberta’s 6’3″ Dwan Williams knocked down a tough corner three on Bears first possession of the second half to get the game back to within 1, Dinos used a series of changing defenses including selective trapping, some zone but mainly longer, quicker athletic talent on Bears sparkplug Waddoups.  The result was a 7 minute stretch where Alberta went just 1 for 11 from the floor (including 1-5 from 3) and turned it over 4 times and the lead exploded to 16 on an 18-3 Calgary run.

Instrumental in the run and throughout the game was the physical and energetic work around the glass by 6’7″ Connor Foreman, who was able to grab key offensive rebounds and finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds – last night Alberta had no answer for his work around the glass.  Of course, 6’5″ Thomas Cooper‘s ability to create off the dribble and either finish or find open shooters is the key to Calgary’s offense.  Cooper continually puts pressure on the defense and is aggressive initiating contact, in many cases putting the decision in the hands of the referees and last night refs did their best – they weren’t perfect – at avoiding early or bail-out whistles.

6’4″ Jas Gill produced a stellar effort for Calgary, knocking down a corner 3 in the first half when Alberta went to a zone for a possession and then taking a wonderful kick-out after a Cooper drive to hammer home another 3 from the left baseline during the big run.  Gill had 12 in 20 minutes on 5-7 shooting including the 2 3’s.  Cooper finished with 24 points (7-16 from the field including 3 3’s), 9 rebounds and 3 assists.

Alberta lost the services of 6’2″ Andre Kelly in the first half when he suffered an injury after a collision going after a loose ball and did not return.  6’7″ Brody Clarke (13 points, 7 rebounds) had his usual array of fine finishes inside but against this Calgary team would benefit from a tough, rebounding, space-carving 4 man to play off of.  Both 5’11” David Kapinga and 6’5″ Mambi Diawara did stellar jobs with their quickness (Kapinga) and length (Diawara) on Waddoups (7 points including 1-6 3’s, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers), who struggled making shots and with the multiple defensive looks usually from superior raw athletes.  Expect better production from one of the higher-end guards in the country on Saturday.  6’7″ Mamadou Gueye struggled offensively shooting just 3 for 17 finishing with 11 points and 9 boards as it appeared that Calgary tried to force him into his mid-range game.

The teams meet again on Saturday night at the Jack Simpson Gym in Calgary beginning at 7 PM Mountain time.


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