A 30 point, 11 rebound performance from Thomas Cooper made the difference on Friday night as the Calgary Dinos topped the Manitoba Bisons 92-84 in the consolation round of the 2017 ArcelorMittal Dofasco U SPORTS Men’s Final 8.
“I think he moved the ball well early in the game and we didn’t try to attack the lane when it was loaded all the time,” said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren of Cooper’s performance. “It’s something that we’ve been trying to get him to learn and grow with so he’s prepared for his career later.”
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The Bisons started the quarter on an 11-0 run, shooting 5-for-5, including a trey from guard Justus Alleyn, who led the Bisons with seven points after the first 10 minutes of play. He also had three assists, including a no-look pass as Manitoba led by two after the first.
Calgary countered with the combination of guard David Kapinga – who led all scorers with eight points in the quarter – and reserve forward Connor Foreman, who added four points and was a frustrating matchup inside.
Manitoba duplicated their early success at the beginning of the second quarter, going on a 15-2 run in the opening four-and-half minutes. Guard AJ Basi led the way, going 2-for-2 from the perimeter. Reserve wing Malik Irwin added five points and three rebounds.
The Dinos would keep pace however, finishing the quarter on a 21-5 run, to lead 43-42 at halftime. Guard Jasdeep Gill provided critical energy and accuracy off the bench, recording 10 points and two steals, while shooting 2-for-2 from the perimeter.
Cooper found his rhythm in the third quarter, recording 10 points, including two treys as the Dinos extended their lead to as much as 13. Manitoba fought back with Alleyn and forward wing Keith Omoerah, who combined for 12 points, including a fade-away buzzer-beater trey from Omoerah which brought the Bisons back to within three entering the fourth quarter.
Cooper contributed eight more points in the fourth quarter and the Dinos were able to ice the game at the line, en route to the eight-point win.
Bisons head coach Kirby Schepp acknowledged the provincial rivalry postgame.
“We have tremendous respect for Calgary and their coaches and program,” said Schepp. “And while there’s a rivalry – we’ve played a lot in the last couple years – it’s a good rivalry, a healthy rivalry. We can complete at a high level and it’s fun competing like that.”
Calgary will now compete in the consolation final tomorrow at 8 p.m., while Manitoba is done for the tournament.