THUNDER BAY – The Lakehead University Thunderwolves will be set for some solid basketball action this weekend.
The Skinny: Lakehead will face off in a rematch of last year’s OUA Final Four consolation game, that saw the Thunderwolves shock the Gee Gees in their home gym (78-73), and grab the final OUA bid to the CIS National tournament. This year however, the OUA has only 2 bids to the National tournament in Halifax, therefore requiring Lakehead to win on Friday to continue to the OUA gold medal game and the Big Dance in Halifax’s Metro Center, the traditional mecca of CIS basketball. The game will be broadcast live on The Score Television Network. Game time is 6 pm Eastern.
Match-up Details: Both teams’ lineups have changed since last year, although Lakehead’s loss of reserve big man Sebastian Kasiuk would be a smaller loss than Ottawa’s graduated all star Josh Gibson-Bascombe. Ottawa’s main scoring threat is Warren Ward, who scored 18 points in his last outing against Lakehead (and 29 points in last year’s play-off game vs LU). The Gee Gees, who started out the season with a 2-6 pre-Christmas season record, have gone 11-5 in 2011 and earned their way to the Final Four with a convincing 85-60 win over OUA East # 2 Toronto. Their first round playoff game ended in a 83-77 win over Laurentian. In those games, Ward had 25 and 24 points, respectively.
It will no doubt be advantageous to the Lakehead cause if the game’s pace is dictated by the traditionally stifling Thunderwolf defense, led by 2010′s Defensive Player of the Year, Greg Carter. That defense, combined with great rebounding, led by Yoosrie Salhia but supported by the backcourt, especially Jamie Searle, has caused fits for the Thunderwolves’ opposition, as possessions are hard to come by and every turnover even more costly. In Searle’s final home game in LU playoof against Western, he flirted with the elusive ‘triple double’ by scoring 14, grabbing an incredible 14 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists, with no turnovers in 38 minutes of play.
Last Match-up Results: Lakehead managed to defeat the Gee Gees on November 26th in the firs part of the season by a score of 68-65. In what was a classic LU come from behind victory, Jamie Searle scored 20 points (Five 3-pointers) and Brendan King had 17 points and 7 rebounds. After Ward who had 18 points, Louis Gauthier was Ottawa’s next leading scorer with 16 points and 9 rebounds. Gauthier presents some match up problems for LU, as he is a 6’8 post player with a nice touch and who can also score from the outside.
Coach Morrison states, “As can be expected this late in the season we have a very formidable challenge in front of us this Friday night in the Ottawa Gee Gees. They are more athletic, bigger, and posses more scoring talent than we do – something we will need to work together in order to combat. We hope to execute our game plan with maximum effort for as long as we can and hope it is enough to stay in the game and compete down-the-stretch”.
Game can be watched on The Score Television Network, beginning at 6 pm Eastern.