Saturday, 28 November 2009

Lakehead / Carleton Report

Thunderwolves edge top-ranked Carleton to remain undefeated in OUA

Thunder Bay, Ont. – After narrowly missing out on a CIS Top Ten ranking this week, the Lakehead Thunderwolves men’s basketball team made an enormous statement, Friday night, as the handed the defending CIS Champion Carleton Ravens their first loss of the season in a thrilling 76-73 comeback victory before a raucous crowd at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse in Thunder Bay.

The Wolves have been a fourth-quarter buzzsaw this year and continued that trend against the Ravens, outscoring them 20-9 to overcome a ten-point halftime deficit. Lakehead has now outscored their opponents 167-94 in the final ten minutes and have amassed six second half comebacks in conference play.

Yoosrie Salhia had 19 points and eight rebound to lead the Wolves while sophomore guard Joe Jones added 16 points while playing stifling defence on the Carleton guards. Posts Brendan King and Ryan Thomson had 11 and 10 points, respectively, with Thomson adding seven assists.

Carleton was led by a sizzling three-point barrage from Elliot Thompson who had 25 points while going 5-8 from beyond the arc. Cole Hobin and Tyler Hinz added 12 and 11 points, respectively.

The Ravens appeared to have taken control early in the game as they capitalized on some sloppy turnovers and defensive rotations by Lakehead to lead 45-35 at halftime. Improved offensive penetration and key defensive stops allowed the Pack to storm back into the contest in the second half, whipping a standing-room only crowd into frenzy.

Lakehead took a 71-69 lead - their first lead of the second half - at 4:40 when senior guard Jamie Searle found room in the lane and dumped off a bounce pass for Salhia for the open layout. Point guard Greg Carter’s free throws over two minutes later extended the lead to four while Lakehead took complete control immediately after when Jones drew a charge on Ravens’ point guard Michael Kenny, sending him to the bench with his fifth personal.

After Carter hit a big fade-away to beat the shot clock at 1:40, Carleton showed signs of life and pulled within two points, but forward Kyle McCleery turned it over with 15 seconds left and later missed a three-pointer that would have sent the game to overtime.

"There is no question that was a huge win for us,” says Thunderwolves head coach Scott Morrison. “While it only counts for two points in the standings, our team now believes we are capable of beating any team with the right type of focus, intensity and execution. We were not perfect tonight, but luckily neither was Carleton and we were able squeeze out a tough one. The trick now is to get re-focused on a hot Ottawa team tomorrow night and do everything we can to finish the semester on a winning note."

Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Gee-Gees tips off a 8:00 p.m. at the C.J. Sanders Fieldhouse.

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