MBB: Diawara, Dinos headed to semifinal

MBB: Diawara, Dinos headed to semifinal

Ian Gustafson; Dinos Communications

CALGARY – Led by a 25-point, 14-rebound performance by Mambi Diawara, the University of Calgary Dinos defeated the University of Winnipeg Wesmen 88-75 to sweep their playoff series 2-0 and move on to the Canada West semifinal.

The Dinos remain undefeated after a close battle with the Wesmen as they put up a fight with their season on the line. The top-seeded Dinos will host the Saskatchewan Huskies in a best-of-three series beginning Thursday, Feb. 21, with the winner booking a ticket to the U SPORTS Final 8 in Halifax.

Both teams struggled to hit any shots early in the first quarter. After a turnover-filled opening frame, the Dinos held a 15-12 lead. In the second quarter, the Dinos found their game as the pace quickened. Diawara led the way for the Dinos in the first half as he went off for 10 points. The Dinos went into the half with a 37-29 lead.

The Dinos pulled away from the Wesmen in the third quarter despite the Winnipeg shooting well from beyond the arc. Calgary went into the final frame with a 66-54 lead.

With their season on the line, the Wesmen made their final push but were unsuccessful as the Dinos were too much for the opposition. The Dinos played at a fast pace, punctuated by a putback slam from Brett Layton.

Billy Yaworsky led the way for a Wesmen squad that bounced back nicely from their 41-point defeat Friday, scoring 24 points on 10-of-17 shooting. Joseph Medrano was close behind him contributing 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting and 5-of-10 from three-point land.

"I think we lost ourselves in the pick and pop with (Billy) Yaworsky," said Dinos Head Coach Dan Vanhooren. "He played very well, and we let him get going. I thought we did a great job on the glass again but we turned the ball over too much in the first half and we have to improve on that if we are going to beat good basketball teams."

The Dinos had three players with double-doubles Saturday. Mambi Diawara had a big night scoring 25 points and 14 rebounds on 8-of-18 shooting. David Kapinga finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-15, while Brett Layton contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Lucas Mannes also scored 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.

The Wesmen made the three-point shot a part of their game plan as they attempted 37 shots up from beyond the arc.

The Dinos now turn their attention to the Huskies, who swept Regina in their all-Saskatchewan quarter-final, as they look to clinch a fourth straight Final 8 appearance. The series tips off Thursday at 8 p.m. MT in the Jack Simpson Gym.


Photo by David Moll