KANATA, ON – Sports -The Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s basketball team reached pay dirt at the CIS Final 8, at long last, and advanced past the first round to the semi-finals, with a 74-61 win over the Cape Breton U Capers (#2) on Friday afternoon.
Although deemed to be an ‘upset’ by many, there were no teams seeded in the Top 6 that Lakehaed matched up better against than the Capers.
Lakehead Thunderwolves out gun ‘Orange Army’
Much to the dismay of the bus loads of ‘Orange Army’ Caper supporters, the hunter orange they donned by the hundreds on the baseline did nothing to deter Lakehead gunners from unloading both barrels in the opening minutes of the game.
Lakehead opened on a 11-4 run, with Ben Johnson hitting 2 threes in the first 3:31 of the game.
The Capers would respond after coach Scott Morrison pulled his starters on a near-line change substitution following some rushed shots on the offensive end and a couple defensive lapses. With 4 reserves on the floor, Cape Breton made a run to tie the game at 12. Lakehead would finish the quarter up 15-12, and the rest the starters got in the 1st Q would pay off in the 4th quarter.
On the defensive end, Lakehead was locked in on All-Canadian Jimmy Dorsey, drawing two offensive fouls on the crafty guard in the first 5 minutes of the game. Dorsey picked up his third foul at 7:34 of the 2nd quarter after pushing off on a drive against CIS Defensive Player of the Year Greg Carter. That put the Capers in a tough position, thus relying heavily on their bench, who did a good job, propelling the Capers ahead to lead 33-29 at the half.
To begin the second, Carter would even the score with two straight hoops, and Ben Johnson provided a long range snipe to take the lead at 8:00 of the third, and another triple to give the T-Wolves a 42-35 lead.
Cape Breton fought back time and again, taking a 46-44 lead, and the 3rd Q ending in a 48-48 tie.
The game would be tied again at 52, before Lakehead guards Carter and Dwayne Harvey would score on back to back plays and get the T-Wolves ahead for good. Lakehead out-scored CBU 26-13 in the final quarter. Attribute that to fantastic team defense and rebounding down the stretch, courtesy (in part) of veteran Yoosrie Salhia and sophomore Joey ‘Nitro’ Nitychoruk, who was absolutely Buck Wild in the lane, grabbing a game-high 9 rebounds (4 offensive) to go with 3 blocked shots and 6 points in 13 minutes of play. Salhia finished with 8 rebounds, 2 points, a block and a steal.
Ben Johnson was a man on fire from the land beyond, hitting on 7 of 10 three point attempts, totalling 25 points and 3 rebounds. Dwayne Harvey had 16 points (6-10 FG), 8 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Joe Hart finished 50% from the field (4-8) for 11 points and 5 rebounds. Greg Carter had a good home coming, scoring 9 points with 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. On top of that, he limited CBU’s Dorsey to 12 points (4-15 FG), a good 9 pts below his season average.
Four Capers scored in double figures, with Dorsey and Arild Geugjes with 12pts apiece, and Cedric Kasongo and Sean McCormick adding 10pts each. Geugjes had a team-high 8 rebounds.
Lakehead out-rebounded Cape Breton 47-33, and shot 5-17 from three in the first half, compared to 5-8 in the second frame (41% on the game).Box Score
Coach Scott Morrison commented ”Both our seniors and our young players stepped up and elevated their games today to get an important win for our program. Aside from 5-6 minutes in the first half I thought our guys executed our plan about as well as possible. If we are to have a chance that number must be very close to 40 minutes tomorrow. Either way it’s great to be out of the morning games this year.”
The Thunderwolves will play Ottawa tomorrow at 5:30 pm ET.
The Score Television Network Will Broadcast the Game. Webcast available via CIS TV