Thunderwolves Clip Golden Hawks Wings to Make Playoffs
THUNDER BAY – SPORTS – Lakehead’s men’s basketball team beat the Laurier Golden Hawks by a score of 75-69 on Saturday night, splitting the weekend 1-1. The win marks Lakehead’s third victory over a nationally ranked USPORTS top ten team this season. #8 Laurier drops to 16-6, while the Thunderwolves improve to 9-13. Lakehead is now 7-5 since the December break, and 7-3 in their last ten games.
“This was a gritty team win against a tough Laurier squad,” Thunderwolves head coach Ryan Thomson said. “Coach Serresse always has those guys ready to play hard and it shows.”
The two teams battled back and forth in a hard-fought affair, each struggling to extend leads beyond a few points. The first quarter ended with the two squads tied at 15, but the Thunderwolves pushed ahead slightly in the second, taking a 32-27 lead into the half. Laurier opened the second half’s scoring with a shot from deep and didn’t let up, dominating the frame to the tune of a 25-9 difference. The 11-point lead would prove to be Laurier’s largest of the game, however, and all the Golden Hawks could do was watch it slip away as the Thunderwolves stormed back. Lakehead led by as much as 8 with 15 seconds left to go before Laurier scored two empty points.
“I was happy with the way we battled through some adversity and stuck together down the stretch,” Thomson said.
The Thunderwolves were led by Isaiah Traylor’s 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 steals. Traylor committed only 1 turnover in 35 minutes of play. Lock Lam added 12 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and 4 blocks of his own, while Nick Burke chipped in 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 steal. Davarius Wright contributed a crucial 11 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal, and 2 blocks off the bench.
Lakehead—who shot 34.4% from the floor, including 31.6% from deep—held the Golden Hawks to 26.3% shooting, including 20.7% from the outside. Laurier guard Ali Sow, who came into the weekend averaging the second most points per game in the OUA at over 27 points per game, scored 34 points, but the Thunderwolves made him take 33 shots to get there. Traylor’s 30 came on only 19 attempts.
With tonight’s win, Lakehead secures a playoff berth. The Thunderwolves cannot finish lower than 6th by virtue of owning the tiebreaker against Windsor, and Lakehead could finish as high as 4th; the Thunderwolves hold the tiebreaker over McMaster, who sits a win ahead at 10-12, while Guelph, who also sits at 10-12 owns the tiebreaker against Lakehead.
The Thunderwolves return home next weekend to face the Brock Badgers in the Thunderdome for the final games of regular-season OUA play.
Basketball games are available via webcast courtesy of OUA.tv