In Thunder Bay, The T-Wolves came from double digits down, ending the game on a 14-2 run and taking the lead on a basket by 6’2″ Alex Robichaud in the final minute to defeat #5 McMaster 73-67, ending the Marauders 8 game winning streak in the first of two games this weekend at the Thunderdome. 6’5″ Bakarius Dinkins generally had his way in the paint against a porous Mac inside “d”, scoring 14 of his game-high 27 points and adding 15 rebounds (10 in the second half) despite missing much of the first half with 3 fouls and battling foul trouble all night.
Lakehead, which outrebounded the Marauders 44-34 also got a strong second-half offensive effort inside from 6’11” Jack Bull as the Australian had 6 points and 7 rebounds that include a two-handed dunk off a sweet pick-and-roll with 6’0″ lefty facilitator Henry Tan. Marauders had a chance to tie the game when, down 3 and 14 seconds left, 6’7″ Connor Gilmore missed a long 3 from the right wing. Dinkins grabbed a big in-traffic rebound and Lakehead iced the game on the line.
Marauders appeared to be pulling away, taking a 12 point halftime lead, keyed by a 12-5 run to end the first half after Dinkins hit the bench with his 3rd foul. Up to then, Dinkins (13 points, 5 rebounds) was the story inside, keeping his team to within 4 at 30-26. Marauders maintained leads between 8 and 12 before Lakehead stiffened their ball “d”, not allowing dribble penetration and contested Mac shots stopped falling.
Lakehead coach Manny Furtado did a fine job tonight finding the right match-ups and his scrappy team really only has two very good players in Dinkins and 6’0″ lefty guard Henry Tam. The talent level drops off somewhat after that although the Wolves do have a couple of decent shooters off the bench in Brandon Persaud and Kache Kopec who can knock down open looks with some measure of consistency. However neither can create their own shot and need Tam to create on their behalf. U of T transfer Nick Burke adds an element of athleticism while veteran Robichaud continues his chippy, on-the-edge antics although if his second foul of the game in the second quarter is an indicator, referees are getting wise to his work off the ball. Robichaud’s two-handed push on Mac’s Leon Alexander during a rebound opportunity was quickly flagged to theatrical disbelief from Robichaud. Still, Robichaud was instrumental in tonight’s win down the stretch, scoring the go-ahead bucket with just under a minute to play and also knocking down his only 3 early in the fourth to help build momentum; he finished 3-12 overall including 1-7 from downtown, 9 points, 9 rebounds. The scrappy native Thunder Bay-ite remains a reliable third at the top of Lakehead’s rotation.
Alexander showed his perimeter shooting skill set, going a perfect 3 for 3 from beyond the arc in the first but was relatively silent down the stretch tonight while Gilmore, who also had a big first half, struggled down the stretch with some tough takes to the rim; he finished just 5 for 14 from the field.
The teams meet again tomorrow night in Thunder Bay.
In Ottawa at the Raven’s Nest, the York Lions unleashed a somewhat-bizarre look with their traditional road red jerseys combined with their home white trunks. The sunglasses-inducing uniform combination provided little relief as #3 Carleton dominated a Lion team 96-53 that dressed only 10 players and did not have starting pg 6’3″ Shane Reader, oft-injured 6’5″ athlete-extraordinaire Daniel Tulloch, valuable 6’3″ reserve guard Gene Spagnuolo, 6’2″ Raheem Isaac or 6’1″ Tristan Newman in the lineup. Carleton made 11 of their first 15 threes in the game to effectively decide it by late in the first quarter against the depleted Lions who are struggling to maintain a battle for a playoff spot. 6’3″ Gavin Resch went 6 for 10 from downtown to lead Ravens with 20 points. Carleton created 23 York turnovers against only 8 for the home side.
#2 Ottawa got a near triple-double from 6’1″ Mike L’Africain as the Gee-Gees steadily pulled away for an easy 76-60 win over Queen’s at Montpetit Hall. Still without 6’3″ Caleb Agada in the lineup, L’Africain has taken up much of the offensive slack, scoring a season-high 30 points tonight and adding 7 boards and 7 assists. uOttawa’s two-headed “5”man package of 6’8″ Nathan McCarthy and 6’7″ Brody Maracle combined for 29 points and 9 rebounds on 13 of 18 shooting from the floor.
#1 Ryerson took a big early lead and cruised at Laurentian, winning 86-62 as 6’5″ Aaron Best led 5 players in double figures with 19 points and 6 boards. 6’8″ Kadeem Green went a perfect 6 for 6 off the bench in the win.
AUS game scheduled in Sydney between UPEI Panthers and Cape Breton was postponed until Sunday afternoon at 4 PM Atlantic Time due to inclement weather out East. The teams will play their regularly scheduled fixture tomorrow night at CBU also. Thus, a rare Friday off night for all teams in the AUS this evening.