The University of Calgary Dinos brought a stifling defensive intensity to the court in game two of their clash with the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, topping the TWolves 75-57 on Saturday, January 4th in Calgary, Alberta.
The Timberwolves, who are led offensively by the dynamic guard pairing of Tyrell Laing and Vova Pluzhnikov, were immediately met by a physical defense from the bigger Dinos roster. Real estate was tough to come by, particularly for Laing who had notched 28 points the night prior.
“That was definitely a focus for them, this whole weekend,” said UNBC’s Saje Gosal. “They’ve got some older guys who don’t stop making contact the entire game. Their bigs have high motors, and they play with the same intensity every minute.”
The inside presence of the Dinos was again the story as the combination of starters Brett Layton and Mason Foreman, as well as reserve Edwin Jeudy asserted themselves in the paint. At the half, Calgary held a 42-25 lead.
In the third quarter, TWolves freshmen Saymon Loki and Fareed Shittu were able to get to the rim for some buckets, as well as senior Anthony Hokanson who registered a pair of blocks at the defensive end to go with a pair of midrange jumpers. However, the Dinos are unbeaten in Canada West play over the last two years for a reason. Foreman had his best quarter, crashing the glass and getting putbacks, and the Dinos continued to contain Laing and Pluzhnikov. They led by 15 heading into the final frame.
In the fourth quarter, every time the Timberwolves made a shot, the Dinos would respond, holding on for the 18 point victory.
“Calgary is a really good program. They have a nice combination of guards who play at a high pace, and bigs who punish you down low,” said Gosal. “With that, they can play any style and dictate the pace of the game. They are back-to-back Canada West champs for a reason.”
Layton would lead the Dinos with 21 points and 14 rebounds, Ezeoha Santiago added 15 points, and Foreman chipped in with an 11 point, 10 rebound double double.
Laing would pace UNBC with 18 points, ending his streak of seven consecutive games with 20 points or more. He’d be the only TWolf in double figures, followed by eight points from Pluzhnikov, and seven from Hokanson.
The Timberwolves now head home to prepare for next weekend, when they’ll host the University of Fraser Valley Cascades in Prince George, B.C.
“We had a good defensive performance today. Moving forward if we continue to bring defensive intensity, our stars and shooters will shine and ultimately we’ll be able to have a lot of success,” said Gosal. “Consistency rules the day in this league so the name of the game is no days off, no let downs the rest of the way out.”