For the second consecutive game, a pair of freshmen led the way for Lakehead offensively and the Wolves improving “d” held Acadia to just 23% shooting in an easy 89-47 Thunderwolves win that propelled coach Manny Furtado’s group into the 49th Wesmen Classic championship game this evening against Manitoba.
6’3″ Brandon Persad led the way with 19 points on 6-9 shooting from downtown and is now shooting 10 for 21 from beyond the stripe for the tournament. Fellow first year wing Kache Kopec had 15 last night and is 9 for 19 over the first 2 days. Lakehead also got their usual consistent effort inside from 6’5″ Bacarius Dinkins who went 7 for 10 from the floor, finishing with 16 points and 9 boards, many of the offensive glass which Lakehead dominated, grabbing 22 “o” boards for the game.
Lakehead surged to an early lead and held Acadia to just 24 first-half points. Axemen clearly struggle without their dynamic sophomore guard Ben Miller, a Winnipeg native who came home but appeared to be injured in Acadia’s opening round win over Brandon and did not play yesterday. Miller is the key decision maker for the Axemen and without him yesterday their offense was fraught with indecision and questionable shot selection, stifled in part by Lakehead’s “d”. Kyle Arsenault, who leads the CIS in 3 point shooting, was held to just 10 points and only 1 make from downtown.
Tonight’s championship game will be a contrast in styles as Manitoba loves to push the tempo at virtually every instance and has a quality size advantage however the Wolves are becoming a formidable group defending and rebounding – Lakehead’s ability to convert to stop transition may well be the determining factor tonight.