HALIFAX, N.S. (U SPORTS) – The second quarter-final of the U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Championship was a real barn-burner with the Calgary Dinos holding on for a 78-76 win over the Brock Badgers.
The second-ranked Dinos led 38-29 at halftime, only to see the seventh-seeded Badgers battle back to tie the score and take a 62-60 lead with six-and-a-half minutes left to play.
The score jockeyed back and forth the rest of the way, with Calgary making a two-point basket with 45 seconds on the clock to account for their final margin of victory.
Mambi Diawara led Calgary with 19 points and seven rebounds, while player of the game David Kapinga added 18 points, five rebounds, six assists and four steals. Lucas Mannes had five threes amongst his 16 points, and Lars Schlueter also contributed a key three-pointer down the stretch.
Johneil Simpson led all scorers with 24 points for Brock, while Dani Elgadi added 20 points, and point guard Tyler Brown chipped in 12.
Dinos coach Dan Vanhooren termed the game, and especially the second half, too close to call.
“Each team took 64 shots, we had two more free throws, one more offensive rebound, and were plus-one on turnovers,” said Vanhooren. “It was an equal game that could have gone either way.
“We started strong but lost our composure a bit in the second half, but we were able to right the ship to pull out the victory. Now, we have two days to get ready to play a really tough McGill team.”
Asked to comment on his clutch three-point shooting, Mannes acknowledged, “You can’t overthink it. I play my best when I just go out and play, read the defence and make my shots.”
Brock coach Charles Kissi was disappointed with the gut-wrenching defeat, after a shot to tie at the buzzer fell short.
“You have to be proud of this team and this program,” Kissi said. “We started from the ground up five years ago. The man on my left (Elgadi) was the first piece in what we are today.”
The Badgers he added, “worked really hard all year,” after finishing with a 21-3 conference record and a 29-7 overall mark entering the championship.
“I told them when I recruited them they would have a chance to get here, and they did,” Kissi said. I’m proud of their effort, both today and all season.”
“It’s tough,” said Elgadi, the fifth-year senior. “It came right down to the buzzer, and we battled to the end. (It’s) still sinking in how I’m feeling right now.”
Calgary moves on to a semifinal meeting with McGill on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET/ 10 a.m. PT, while Brock will face UNB in the consolation semifinal at 10 a.m. ET / 7 a.m. PT.
Players of the Game
Calgary: David Kapinga
Brock: Johneil Simpson