by Eric Kerkhoven, U of Calgary Sports Info Assistant
BRANDON, Man. - Officially eliminating the host Brandon Bobcats from playoff contention in the Prairie division, the University of Calgary Dinos improved their own chances for first place with a substantial 103-70 victory on Friday evening in Western Manitoba.
Ross Bekkering led Calgary with 29 points and six rebounds while Jamie McLeod and Tyler Fidler chipped in 18 and 16 points, respectively. With this six rebounds, Bekkering eclipsed the 900 career rebound plateau by two, and becomes just the fourth player in Canada West history to achieve such a feat. Bekkering remains 39 boards back of third place on the all-time conference list with two regular season games remaining in his illustrious career.
"Ross was outstanding tonight," said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. "He made great decisions, he was all over the place, and he played fantastic basketball. A great night for him to get his 900th rebound.
"We shot the ball really well tonight, better than 70 per cent from the field," Vanhooren went on. "Our post presence is tough for them and provided us with a lot of easy scores, and when they brought some help inside it opened up our outside shooters. We got really great balance offensively."
The ‘Cats could not solve the Dinos first quarter zone defence, putting themselves in a hole they could not get out of. With 6'9" Tyler Fidler wreaking havoc at the top with his length, Brandon scored only 10 points in the opening frame compared to 28 from Calgary.
Calgary would jump out to their largest first half lead on a nifty play from rookie Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson in the second quarter, who worked the spin move to perfection before hitting Bekkering perfectly in stride for the lay-up to make it 32-12.
Along with 45 first half points, Calgary also outrebounded Brandon 19-9 in the opening 20 minutes.
Bekkering would open the second half by emphatically welcoming Brandon's rookie post player James Elias to CIS, going over top of him for the two handed flush, leading a relatively strong Dinos effort out of the break.
Brandon managed to get the lead down to 11 late in the third, but immediately fouled the over-powering Bekkering for a three point play and then lost the ball to Fidler in the open court for the breakaway lay-up.
The quick five point swing abruptly brought the lead back to 16, and Calgary would cruise from there.
Even the Dinos' reserves made their presence felt in the late-going, helping balloon the lead to over 30 where it would eventually stay. Guards Trevor Debolt and Lindsay Thouret had a breakaway two handed slam and a long three pointer, respectively, to help ice the game for the Dinos. Debolt added a long jumper moments later, finishing with six points.
McLeod added an impressive 11 assists to go with his 18-point night, while Fidler also posted a double-double with a dozen boards along with his 16 points. Robbie Sihota finished with 11 points, putting him just two points ahead of Bekkering on the Dinos' all-time scoring list with 1,394 as their regular season careers inch toward conclusion.
For Brandon, it marks a disappointing conclusion to their playoff hopes, as they fall to 7-11 on the season with only one game left to play. The Bobcats will be playing for pride on Saturday, where they will attempt to send out fifth-year seniors Dany Charlery and Tarik Tokar on a winning note. Charlery was once again the Bobcats' workhorse, posting a game-high 30 points in a losing cause.
The Dinos (14-4) move their magic number to one with the victory as they gun for first place in the Prairie Division. While Saskatchewan expunged the Lethbridge Pronghorns on Friday by 46 points, the Huskies walk on thin ice in their quest for first, as one more Dinos victory or Saskatchewan loss clinches the top spot for Calgary.
Calgary and Brandon will do battle again at the BU Gym on Saturday, with tip-off going at 8:00 p.m. CT.
CWUAA Men's Basketball All-time Rebounds
1. 1164 - Roger Gaines, Saskatchewan (1973-78)
2. 1039 - Andrew Spagrud, Saskatchewan (2003-08)
3. 939 - Eric Hinrichsen, Victoria (1994-99)
4. 902 - ROSS BEKKERING, CALGARY (2005-10)