Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lakehead Wins OUA Quarter Final Over Western

The Lakehead Thunderwolves had a packed Thunderdome crowd behind them tonight and did not disappoint. Key 1st and 4th quarters helped the 'Wolves top the Western Mustangs 63-49 in front of a sold-out CJ Sanders Fieldhouse.
The first half was ugly offensively as the two teams combined to shoot 18-67 including a 12-4 1st quarter in favor of Lakehead. At the half the home side led by 1, 22-21.
Western started off strong in the 3rd quarter taking a 6 point lead and forcing an early LU timeout. However out of the time-out Lakehead responded by going to Yoosrie Salhia who hit some tough shots in the paint to keep the 'wolves in the game. Salhia led all scorers with 19 points on 8-15 shooting and pulled down 8 boards.
Lakehead, usually reliant on its outside shooting, were ice-cold shooting 0-13 from downtown and missing its first 18 3pt attempts. Jamie Searle's late 3rd quarter three broke the ice and the 'wolves closed out the game by knocking down a couple of open looks when Western started focusing more on Salhia in the paint.
Jamie Searle, playing in his last career home game, played tough scoring 14 points and adding an incredible 14 rebounds to lead all players. Searle had 7 assists as well and 0 turnovers in 38 minutes of play.
Greg Carter set the tone in the first half on the defensive end picking up 4 steals and forcing 6 turnovers in the half from all-star Ryan Barbeau of Western. Carter's cold shooting forced him to the bench late when Ben Johnson continued the tough defense on Western's playmaker.
For the game the 'Wolves shot only 4-29 from 3pt range but made up for it in part by grabbing 15 offensive boards.

Lakehead advances to the OUA Final Four and will play the winner of Ottawa-Toronto in the OUA semi-final at 8pm Friday @ McMaster.

"I was proud of our guys for sticking to our defensive gameplan for the majority of the 40 minutes tonight. Also out team effort on the offensive boards was a major reason we were able to stay in the game given our poor shooting percentage. Western played us tough but in the end Jamie Searle made up for a poor showing last weekend to be the best player on the court tonight and lead us to this important win. Time to get focused on next week's opponent."
-Coach Scott Morrison

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