Cougars playoff hopes hang in the balance after loss to Dinos

Cougars playoff hopes hang in the balance after loss to Dinos

Zachary Worden, Cougar Athletics

CALGARY, Alta – The final game of the regular season for both the Mount Royal University Cougars and the University of Calgary Dinos went Friday night at Kenyon Court.

The two teams faced off on Thursday night in the first half of the home-and-home series where the Dinos came away with a 94-68 win.

The Dinos were able to come away with the sweep in the Crowchild Classic series, beating Mount Royal 79-65.

The game had playoff implications for both teams, as the Dinos were looking to secure second place in the conference and the Cougars now need some help to sneak in as the 12th place team.

The Cougars held their senior night ceremony before the game honouring seniors Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham and Noah Lewis.

Mambi Diawara made his presence felt on both ends of the floor finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six steals. Lucas Mannes also played a big part in the victory, providing energy off the bench, scoring 15 points, grabbing six points and adding four steals.

The Cougars looked to Ross who finished with a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Cunningham also made a big impact on the night, scoring 15 points and only missing one shot on the night.

The Cougars came out and took an early lead with strong starts from Ross and Cunningham who scored the team's first 17 points.

Mannes came off the bench gave the Dinos a spark, helping them respond to the early lead Mount Royal took.

The two teams started going back and forth, looking for an edge in a competitive game.

Charn Gill provided that edge for the Cougars with two three-pointers giving the Cougars the lead which they carried to the end of the quarter.

The Dinos were able to dictate the pace out of the quarter break and eventually overtook the lead, right after the five-minute mark.

Diawara took his game to the next level in the quarter, scoring eight points and getting three steals to make an impact on both ends of the court.

The Dinos were able to grow their lead heading into the halftime break, after Mount Royal received three technical fouls in the final minutes, giving Calgary the free-throws and extra possessions.

The Dinos were able to take advantage of the Cougars 19 first-half turnovers with 20 of their points coming off turnovers.

Mount Royal dominated the glass in the first 20 minutes, outrebounding their cross-town rivals by 11 and had three players with five or more rebounds.

The Dinos started the third quarter on a 10-2 run, taking control of the game and growing their lead into double-digits.

Despite Calgary controlling most of the quarter, the Cougars kept fighting, as they were able to cut the deficit to 13 on a Lewis buzzer-beating three to keep the game within reach heading to the final 10 minutes.

Mount Royal came into the final quarter and were able to cut the lead to eight after another three-pointer from Gill.

After the Cougars made their run, the Dinos answered with a run of their own to grow their lead to 21 with just under four minutes remaining.

With the win, the Dinos secure second place in the conference and will be waiting to see who they face in the first round of the playoffs.

Mount Royal will now revert to scoreboard watching, where they need Thompson Rivers to sweep Brandon in their weekend series to sneak into a playoff spot.