By Lucas Meyer
CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos' league-best offense was too much for the Saskatchewan Huskies' top Canada West defense Friday night, as the No. 5-ranked team in the country picked up a big 82-69 victory on home court.
The Dinos improve to 11-2 on the year, while dropping the Saskatchewan Huskies to 9-5 and, after losing to Alberta two weeks ago, Calgary is now on a three-game winning streak.
In a highly-anticipated series, both teams played well to start, with Dinos point guard David Kapinga hitting an opening three and making a layup several possessions later to give Calgary an early 7-2 lead.
Saskatchewan's star forward Shane Osayande - averaging a double-double on the season - was a force from the beginning, scoring his team's first seven points. But Calgary would control the second half of the opening quarter and led 20-14 at the end of the first..
The team play continued in the next quarter, with an early 6-0 Calgary run, leading to a Mitch Ligertwood jumper to make it 35-23 at the 4:17 mark. Reigning Canada West MVP Thomas Cooper filled the stat sheet throughout the half, as Calgary took a 47-35 lead at halftime.
Although Saskatchewan's the top defensive and rebounding team in the conference, it was Calgary dictating the flow of the game in both areas, contesting shots and limiting the Huskies second-chance opportunities.
Osayande was unstoppable, but besides fellow forward Matt Forbes, the Huskies didn't get enough offense from guards Jaylan Morgan and Lawrence Moore, who also average double-figures but struggled all night.
It was still just a nine-point game late in the third, but Kapinga would hit a free throw and Jhony Verrone would make a big three just before the end of the quarter for a 65-52 lead. In the fourth, Calgary kept Saskatchewan at bay and ended with the 13-point victory.
Cooper ended with his most complete game of the year, finishing with 23 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, while Lars Schlueter and Kapinga each finished with 10.
Osayande had 23 points and seven rebounds, with Forbes ending with 18 and 7, but the rest of the Huskies were a combined 9-35.
The Dinos surprisingly won the rebounding battle 39-35 and held Saskatchewan to an overall shooting percentage of 36 per cent, while the home team shot just under 37.
Moore finished with just one point, while Morgan ended with nine. Another Huskie averaging double-figures, Chan De Ciman, left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.
The two teams tip off again Saturday night at the Jack Simpson Gymnasium for a 7 p.m. start, live on CanadaWest.tv.