Short-handed Griffins show positive signs of growth before running out of steam against Dinos

Taylor Cook guards Calgary's Mason Foreman on Saturday (David Moll photo).
Taylor Cook guards Calgary's Mason Foreman on Saturday (David Moll photo).

MacEwan Athletics and Dinos Athletics

CALGARY – Down to just nine healthy players after losing Job Janda to injury on Friday, the MacEwan Griffins men's basketball team ran out of gas in a 90-64 defeat to the Calgary Dinos on Saturday night.

MacEwan got off to a slow start, but kept it close until the third quarter before Calgary put an exclamation mark on it.

"We had a bad start, down 11-1 to early," said Griffins head coach Mike Connolly. "We picked up energy in the second half. We only played with nine guys and ran out of steam, which contributed to their run at the end of the game.

"We still showed lots of signs of improvement overall."

The Dinos built a 25-13 lead by shooting 71 per cent from the floor in the opening quarter with their defence holding MacEwan to a mark of 23 per cent.

The Griffins continued to display resiliency and the tools needed to compete in Canada West, hanging around in the opening half after three strong quarters Friday. With wins surely on the horizon for the Griffins, it was another Dinos third-quarter run that put the game out of reach. 

The Dinos built a 23-point lead in the third, despite cooling off from three-point range. On a night where they shot 10-of-21 from beyond the arc, Calgary was held to 16 per cent in the frame. Fourth-year guard Ezoha Santiago found success early from distance and responded well to the adjustments of the Griffins.

"The second day is always going to be tough," Santiago said post game. "They know our offence and our sets. So, sometimes I wasn't getting the looks we wanted, and I had to switch it up in the second half because they were guarding me how I usually play."

Mason Foreman led the way once again for the Dinos, scoring 26 points on an incredibly efficient 10-15 shooting performance. The East Selkirk, Man. product finished with his second consecutive double-double, racking up a combined 51 points and 24 rebounds on the weekend.

Second-year guard Colton Halbersma finished with a team-high 16 points for the Griffins, whose second unit outscored the Dinos 33-14. Mason Hunter added 13 points and Matthew Osunde had 11.

"We can take away that we can play," said Connolly. "We can score. We defended very well at times. Youth equals inconsistency. We will keep working and doing the right things and eventually we'll break through."

MacEwan will look to build upon impressive showings in consecutive matchups against CW powerhouses when they return home to take on Lethbridge next weekend.