Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year to Lakehead Basketball Nation!

The Lakehead Men's Basketball team finished 2011 in strong fashion with a 3-0 record in the UQAM Classique des Citadins in Montreal this week.

2011 was a great, possibly best ever, year for Lakehead basketball. Since Jan 1, 2011 the 'Wolves have a 34 - 5 win/loss record and won their first OUA Championship in March.

The team is enjoying the weekend off after some tough battles in Montreal and then will start putting in work on the "real" season which is the OUA West conference - the toughest and most balanced league in the CIS.

Happy New Year from the team to all of our fans, supporters, alumni and former players/coaches - here's to an even better 2012!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lakehead Sweeps in Montreal with 83-72 Win over Bishop's

The Lakehead Thunderwolves completed the three game sweep at the UQAM Classique des Citadins tonight with a scrappy 83-72 win over Bishop's University Gaiters.

The 'Wolves held a lead for most of the game but could not pull away as Bishop's mixture of aggressive ball pressure and transition offense kept them close until a 24-14 3rd quarter gave Lakehead a bit of breathing room.

The Thunderwolves were led by Ryan Thomson and Ben Johnson who dropped 15 a piece followed closely by Venzal Russell who had his best game of the tournament with 14 points on 6-9 shooting. Greg Carter had 9 points on 4-4 shooting adding 5 rebounds and 5 steals.
Bishop's was led by Tim Hunter and Mukiya Post who each dropped 17 points with Onnex Blackwood adding 11.

AS a team Lakehead had 25 turnovers to Bishop's 23. Lakehead shot 60.8% for the game overall to Bishop's 46.6%.

The win completes Lakehead's 2011-12 non-conference portion of the schedule. The team finishes a perfect 11-0 (9-0 in CIS) including wins in 4 different provinces and two states.

Coach Morrison on the Win:
Bishop's made things very uncomfortable for us in the half-court with their pressure defense and then really hurt us in transition. This weekend has been good from the sense that we were able to get the job done against three tough opponents but it has also showed us what our top priorities for improvement are starting on Monday.

The OUA West season opens next weekend as the 'Wolves welcome the Western Mustangs to the Thunderdome. Stay tuned for game previews and webcast info.

Johnson & Johnson Lead LU to 87-77 Victory over Host UQAM

The Lakehead Thunderwolves won in classic fashion Thursday night with a furious fourth quarter comeback which saw the 'Wolves outscore UQAM 33-12 in the final stanza. Down 65-54 to start the 4th and 70-59 with under seven minutes remaining, Lakehead was finally able to string together enough stops on the defensive end to create some offense of their own.

The duo of Ben and Adam Johnson led the way for Lakehead tonight as Ben Johnson had a career high 31 points shooting 12-17 (5-7 3pt) and a perfect 12-12 from the FT line. Adam Johnson also recorded a CIS career high dropping 21 points on 10-15 shooting in 18 minutes of play. Ryan Thomson overcame a slow start to break open the game late with two 3s of his own finishing with 14 points on the night.

UQAM hit tough shots for 80% of the game led by Gregory St Amand who had 18 and 6 rebounds. Alex Bernard poured in 16 including his first 3pt shot of the season at the first quarter buzzer.

UQAM won the battle of the boards (10-6 offensive) but turned it over 24 times to Lakehead's 14. UQAM led 47-37 at the half.

Coach Morrison on the Win:
We are very fortunate to escape tonight with the victory. Tonight our guys were reminded first hand why we never give up and keep grinding. Credit to our guys for really staying with it and keeping up our energy when things seemed lost. While it was an exciting comeback at the end, what wasn't exciting was out defense in the first half which allowed 47 points - many in transition. Tomorrow we have an explosive Bishop's squad that will require a better job on the boards and increased effort in defensive transition.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lakehead 83 McGill 69 (VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS)

Lakehead defeats McGill 83-69 (Video Highlights)

Opening round play of the UQAM Classique des Citadins 2011 Tournament, featuring 7 steals from Greg Carter and 20 points on 8-10 shooting from Ryan Thomson.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lakehead 83 McGill 69

Lakehead opened the UQAM invitational tournament (The Classique des Citadins) with an 83 - 69 win over McGill.

McGill led by 2 at the half after giving LU a lesson in offensive rebounding (10 first half, 18 for game) and LU struggled offensively shaking off some Christmas rust. Ben Johnson was 3-5 for 10 points in the opening frame but LU also had 10 turnovers.

Second half McGill started quckly with Tristan Tremblay scoring 6 straight points in the paint before drawing a 3rd foul mid-way in the 3rd quarter and going to the bench. Lakehead took advantage by increasing the perimiter ball pressure in Tremblay's absence and used some better D and rebounding to get the offense moving.

Ryan Thomson got going in the second half with 18 points (20 for the game) and Greg Carter's defense was a major factor the entire game as his 7 steals in the game were a big part of LU forcing 23 McGill turnovers.

Lakehead pulled away in the 3rd and kept the lead around 10-15 points for much of the 4th.

Coach Morrison:
"While both teams showed some obvious holiday rust, I thought both teams also played very hard over the 40 minutes. At the end of the day we had many positives to build on, but also a few blantant weaknesses we must improve tomorrow - namely rebounding and shot selection early in the game. UQAM will provide tough match-ups for us and we have to re-group and get focused on them for 9pm tomorrow night."

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lakehead Ranked #3 at the Break

The Lakehead Thunderwolves will carry their highest ever mid-season national ranking into the exam and Christmas break. The 'Wolves opened the season at #4 and despite losing only one game (to #1 Carleton) they have managed to climb one spot to #3. #1 Carleton and #2 St.FX remain undefeated.

Lakehead is 7-1 in Conference, 13-1 overall in the CIS and 15-1 overall (counting the two November games against NCAA schools).

L.U. opens the 2nd semester and closes their non-conference schedule with the UQAM tournament December 28-30 in Montreal. There the team will tip-off against McGill, host UQAM and the Bishops Gaiters. Stay tuned for more information on that tournament as we get closer to opening day.

Below are the current CIS National Top Ten rankings for men's basketball:

2011-12 Men's Basketball Top 10

December 6 - previous ranking ( )

1. Carleton (1)
2. StFX (2)
3. Lakehead (3)
4. Saskatchewan (4)
5. Victoria (5)
6. Alberta (6)
7. UBC (7)
8. Wilfrid Laurier (8)
9. Fraser Valley (9)
10. Concordia (10)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lakehead Wins Thriller in OT vs Laurentian

The Lakehead Thunderwolves finished the first semester with a 7-1 conference record (15-1 overall) with a hard fought win over a very tough Laurentian Voyageurs tonight in Sudbury.
Laurentian came out hot and beat up Lakehead on the glass in the first half to take a 46-38 half-time lead.
The third quarter Lakehead picked up their half-court D and improved on the glass to chip away at the aggressive Laurentian team cutting the lead to 4 to start the third quarter. The 'Wolves had match-up trouble for much of the night especially containing #55 Alex Ratte who had a game high 28 including 2-3 from 3pt land. #21 Mike Hull was also tough for the hosts as he had 18 points and 5 offensive rebounds including the game-tying basket with 12.8 remaining after Lakehead had taken possibly their first lead of the game with just under 40 seconds remaining.
In the 4th and overtime, Lakehead relied on a balanced scoring attack with Brendan King, Joe Jones and RYan Thomson all making key buckets. Thomson was a major factor late in the game as he helped clean the defensive glass down the stretch on his way to posting his first career double-double with 16 and 10 rebounds (despite shooting 1-8 from downtown).
Jones had a rough start but shot 9-11 and had the first 6 points in OT to help LU get their biggest lead of the game with 4 min left in OT. However Laurentian continued to battle and hit big shots of their own.
With Lakehead up 2 and 12 second left in OT, LU forced a turnover in a sideline inbounds situation and knocked down FTs to ice the game 99-95.
Lakehead had 6 players in double figures:
Yoosrie Salhia 10 pts/8 rebs
Ven Russell 10 pts/ 5 rebs
Greg Carter 11 pts/8 rebs in 44 minutes
Brendan King 21 pts (back to back 20 pt games)
Joe Jones 25 points (9-11 shooting).

Coach Morrison on the game:
Credit to Laurentian for outplaying us for over half of this game. Also credit to our guys for never quitting even though there were several times during the game where it looked like we were in too deep. Time now to focus on healing injuries, studying for exams and getting our 'minds right' for the second semester which should very well prove to be the toughest OUA West schedule in my 9 years at Lakehead.

Video Highlights Lakehead vs York

Lakehead 91 York 76 (Video Highlights)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lakehead Survives York 91-76

After jumping out to an 18-13 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, Lakehead stumbled on both ends of the floor and gave up a whopping 49 points over the 2nd and 3rd quarters to a hot shooting and tough penetrating York Lions team. LU trailed by 3 at the half.
Lakehead trailed by as many as 9 in the 3rd quarter before a shift to a 2-3 zone slowed the Lions and allowed LU time to get their offence back on track and mount a late 3rd quarter push that carried into the 4th quarter.

York was led by RIchard Iheadindu who went off for 28 points and 7 rebounds on 11-20 (4-8 from 3pt). Raheem Isaac also had a strong game with 18 and 3 steals. It was the penetration of Iheadindu and Isaac which forced Lakehead into a zone defense for much of the last 12 minutes of the game.

Lakehead was led by Brendan King who had 21 on 9-13 shooting and Ryan Thomson who had 15 shooting 3-6 from 3pt land. Adam Johnson had his best game as a Thunderwolf notching 14 points and 6 rebounds to go with 4 steals. Ben Johnson also had 11 for Lakehead while Yoosrie Salhia led all rebounders with 9 in the game.

Coach Morrison on the Game:
Anyone who watched tonight's contest knows it was not our best effort - however credit to York who has had some tough luck so far this year but is a much better team than their record indicates at this time. I was not happy with out defensive execution or our focus after we built a small lead in the 1st. We were fortunate to get great efforts from Johnson and King off the bench which played a large role in our ability to come back and finish the game. We know must have 100% focus on Laurentian tomorrow night after a tough day of travel. Last game of the semester we need to leave it all on the court tomorrow night.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lakehead Hits Road for First Semester Finale

The Lakehead Thunderwolves will leave town for the 5th and final time this semester as they head south for their toughest road weekend of the season from a travel perspective. Friday night the 'Wolves will tip-off against the York Lions before waking up Saturday to drive north to Sudbury to play the Laurentian Voyageurs.

York has an athletic and skilled team led by all-star David Tyndale who can score off the bounce, off the catch and in transition. York also boasts swingman Aaron Rados who is having a breakout season, averaging nearly a double-double.

Laurentian has been one of the tougher teams in the OUA East at this stage in the season and offers a very balanced scoring attack and one of the harder working teams in the CIS. With his brother Manny injured, Isiah Pasquale will look to lead the "O" with his quick trigger, range and scoring ability. George Serresse will provide a very tough matchup for the 'Wolves with his athletic 'inside-out' game and natural scoring ability. Post Hull and swingman Ratte also are scoring in double figures meaning the 'Wolves will have to bring a full team effort on the defensive side to contain the Voyaguers.

Coach Morrison on the Weekend:
"We have a very tough weekend to try and finish this semester on a winning note. York has some very tough 1 v 1 matchups and some new 'bigs' that we will have to scout and learn to contend with. Laurentian is a hard working team that just keeps looking to score the ball and has a balanced attack with which to do so. We are going to have to be very familiar with the personnel section of our scouting report for both games this weekend and bring a high-energy and focused team effort for both games."

Lakehead is 5-1 in OUA play (13-1 overall) and needs two wins to keep pace with Laurier and Brock who both looking to enter the OUA West portion of the schedule in January with the 'poll position'.

Both games should be on ssncanada.ca (Saturday's for sure - check re Friday)