The U of M Bisons men’s basketball team rounded out the first half of the schedule with a pair of sound defeats from the No. 3 University of Calgary Dinos.
The Bisons were stomped by the Dinos 87-59 at the Investors Group Athletic Centre Friday.
Calgary owned the three-point line and sunk 11 of 18 attempts in the opening half.
The visiting team’s defence was also key in the first half, holding the Bisons to a 30 per cent shooting rate, while the Dinos shot at 60 per cent.
Calgary was led by Brett Layton’s 12 points and five rebounds, and Mambi Diawara’s 14 points. Manitoba struggled to get anything going but Rashawn Browne led the way with a team-high 13 points.
With an early 9-6 lead, the Dinos strung together 14 straight points to stretch out a 23-6 advantage. Malik Irwin ended the run with a three-pointer. Calgary led 29-12 after the first quarter.
The Dinos continued to dominate and opened the second frame with an 11-2 run.
The teams exchanged chances for the remainder of the frame and the Dinos took a 30-point lead into halftime, up 55-25.
The teams battled in the third quarter, and the herd finished strong on an 11-2 run.
DJ Jordan Jr. scored eight of the 11 points, cutting the deficit to 67-46 entering the fourth.
Despite the Bisons’ third quarter surge, the Dinos got off to a 20-0 run to open the fourth and ran away with the 87-59 victory.
“They really controlled the tempo in the first half,” Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp told Bison Sports.
“There’s no question they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
The herd again fell to the Dinos 72-55 Saturday to enter the holiday break at 3-7 on the year.
Layton led the way again for Calgary with 22 points and 13 rebounds. Browne had a team-high 16 points for Manitoba.
The teams went back and forth throughout the first quarter and both teams struggled to score.
A Jordan Jr. dunk energized the crowd, but the visitors led 17-13 after the first.
Calgary pulled away in the second frame with an 11-0 run, taking a 35-19 lead.
André Arruda drained a trey before the break, but the Bisons trailed 37-23 at halftime.
Arruda hit two three-pointers early in the third quarter and James Wagner and Cameron O’Hara each made a big block in the frame. Manitoba tightened up defensively but could not get much going on the offensive end of the floor, as the Dinos took home a 72-55 win.
“Calgary is a great team, obviously, they’re ranked number three in the country,” said Wagner.
“Just to be competing with them and showing that we can actually keep up with them, that’s definitely encouraging for us going forward.”
Manitoba will have over a month to prepare for the second half of the season and Wagner said he knows what the team needs to work on.
“Cleaning up our execution,” said Wagner.
“We’re working hard, the right intentions are there but some other stuff we’re just kind of sloppy with, so I think that’ll definitely be a point of emphasis going into the second half.”
Manitoba will resume play after the break with a pair of games in Edmonton against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. Game one is Jan. 4 at 9 p.m. CST and game two is the next day at 8 p.m. CST.