SUDBURY – The Thunderwolves men’s basketball team rallied from being down most of the game to pull out a 99-95 over-time victory at Laurentian’s Ben Avery gymnasium Saturday evening.
The Voyageurs wasted no time in welcoming the OUA champs to home court, knocking down jumper after jumper in the first half and leading by as many as 13 points. Lakehead managed to finish the first half strong, cutting the lead to 46-38 at the break.
In the second half Lakehead got firing on a few more cylinders, chipping away at the lead, but in the process getting into a slug fest with the hometown team that had a longer bench and fresher legs. Coach Scott Morrison did a bit of gambling in that sense, only going 8 players deep the entire 45 minute marathon, with Adam Johnson, the 8th man, only playing 8 minutes (all in the first half).
His mainstay ‘group of seven’ did manage to produce the winning result, as all contributed in all facets of the game when called upon to do so. Six players scored in double digits, led by Joseph Jones with 25 (8 of LU’s 11 in OT). Jones connected on 9 of his 11 attempts, and was 5-of-5 from the stripe. Brendan King had another great game, particularly in his efficiency once again, scoring 21 points in 26 minutes. Ryan Thomson struggled from outside (1-of-8) but made up for it grabbing rebounds (10 total) finishing inside for a total 16 points. Greg Carter clocked 44 minutes and scored 11 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Yoosrie Salhia and Venzal Russell had 10 points apiece. As a team Lakehead shot 18-for-20 from the charity stripe, and 49% from the field, compared to the Voyageurs’ 17-for-21 free throws and 41% from the field. The T-wolves also out-rebounded Laurentian 39-31.
Joe Jones also came up with a huge block on a Voyageurs breakaway lay-up in the final minute of regulation.
Laurentian’s bench came up large for them, as Alex Ratte dropped a new CIS career-high(?) 28 points along with 5 assists, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. Big man Mike Hull scored 18 hard-earned points and hauled down 8 rebounds (5 offensive). Voyageurs’ ‘go-to’ scorer Isaiah Pasquale had 14 on 4-of-11 shooting. His brother, Manny, Laurentian’s starting point guard, was on the bench nursing an injury. Eric Ducharme also hit double digits with 14 points.
Scott Morrison, who donned a broad smile all game despite some curious officiating, said after the game, “This week we talked about how hard Laurentian is going to work from a rebounding and transition standpoint. They did just that and really took it to us in the first half. The second half and OT was a great basketball game with both teams making tough shots. I was proud of our team- not necessarily for our play but more so for our toughness down the stretch and our unwillingness to pack it in when the odds were stacked against us late.”
Moving forward into the December exam period, Morrison added, “Perfect time to break and get ourselves regrouped for the dogfight that is the OUA west schedule.”