LONDON – SPORTS – Henry Tan saved his best for last in an incredible, 60-58 win over the Western Mustangs on Wednesday, nailing his first three of the game with 8 seconds left and pushing his team into the next round of the OUA playoffs.
That said, Tan got a lot of help from fellow veteran Alex Robichaud in avenging their 2014 playoff loss to the Mustangs. To make things even sweeter for the Thunderwolves, rookie Kache Kopec scored 12 points with three 3-pointers in the first half, and a critical bucket late in the game to finish with 14 points and 2 rebounds.
Kopec and Robichaud fuelled the ‘Wolves in the first half, hitting all of their combined 8 shots (with 5 three’s) to put Lakehead up 32-20 at halftime. In a defensive statement in the first quarter, Lakehead held Western to 5 points.
Western would storm back early in the third, trimming the Lakehead lead to 5 with 10 minutes to play, as their leaders Greg Morrow and Peter Scholtes awakened after slow starts.
Despite struggling to find his rhythm (8 turnovers), Bacarius Dinkins would muster the knack when his team needed it late, converting on a three point play, and rejecting a wide open Western lay up in the final three minutes of play. The Big Floridian finished with a team-high 15 points and 5 rebounds.
Nick Burke also played a big role down the stretch, making a tough drive and finish in traffic to tie the game at 56 with under a minute to play. Following a Greg Morrow pull-up that put Western up by two, Burke was fouled on the ensuing play. Burke hit the first free throw, but missed the second. After a scramble under the basket for the rebound, Dinkins got the ball out to a wide open Henry Tan, who buried the 3-ball to put the ‘Wolves back in front, 60-58 with 8 seconds left.
A foiled lob play followed by a missed three by Western sealed the game.
Tan finished the game with 7 points and 4 rebounds, while Burke scored 10 points with a team-high 9 rebounds and Alex Robichaud had 14 points with 6 boards and 2 steals.
Morrow led the Mustangs with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Both Lakehead and Western shot poorly from the free throw line, shooting 46 and 53%, respectively.
Coach Manny Furtado said, “Our guys competed and battled all night. It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it. I just loved the way our guys never quit and kept on fighting for each other.”
Lakehead thus advances to the second round of the playoffs, and faces the highly-touted Ryerson Rams on Saturday evening at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto at 8pm.
Webcast will be available via OUA TV.