Lakehead (1-3) 77, Manitoba (1-1) 72… 6’2″ Algoma transfer Wais Mohamed banged in the go-ahead three with just 1:12 remaining in the game as the Thunderwolves authored what Head Coach Manny Furtado described as “one of the proudest moments I have had since being at Lakehead” in a gut-checking, emotional win over the host Bisons in the final game of the Manitoba tournament last night in Winnipeg.
Lakehead had used a 14-0 run to lead by 16 late in the second quarter and had led by 12 in the third before giving the lead up to trail by 3 late in the game. But big shots by 6’4″ Alex Robichaud and 6’5″ Kelowna, B.C. native Quincy Johnson – who had five 3’s all at key moments in the game – plus a resilient “d” allowed Lakehead to pull off the road upset against a team touted for the National Top 10 by many including this site. Robichaud followed Mohamed’s game-deciding 3 with an equally-important three of his own with under a minute to play and Lakehead then won the game on the foul line.
Lakehead also stayed in the game on the strength of 16 offensive rebounds and won the battle on the glass (46-35) winning despite not having 5’11” starting point guard Henry Tan and 6’3″ Nick Burke. Overall, the Thunderwolves hit 12 of 30 3’s, with virtually all the makes in key spots.
With Lakehead leading at 23-21, Johnson, who missed much of last season with various injuries, had a pair of 3’s during a 14-0 run that gave T-Wolves their biggest lead. Leading 42-30 early in the third, Manitoba authored an 11-0 run of their own, helped by 7 fouls and 5 turnovers by Lakehead during a 5 minute stretch that included a technical foul on T-Wolves reserve forward Mike Theodore, allowing Bisons to make 8 consecutive free throws. Manitoba went a stellar 28 for 32 from the line for the game. But Johnson knocked down two more 3’s in back-to-back possessions to restore a 7 point lead and later Robichaud’s 4 point play as the third quarter ended gave Lakehead a 4 point lead entering the fourth.
But the host Bisons mounted a run, led by 6’1″ Ilarion Bonhomme who finished with 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals off the bench and steady 6’3″ wing Justus Alleyn who made all 3 of his 3’s for 12 points before fouling out. Bisons 5th year shooting guard AJ Basi made only 1-6 from downtown and finished with just 9 points, 6 coming from the foul line.
6’1″ Mor Menashe had his most productive overall effort this season for Lakehead with 17 points, 10 assists and 5 steals including the pitch to Mohamed for the game-winning shot.
The Bisons now travel to the Naismith tournament next weekend in Waterloo where an improved Warriors team and the undefeated UQAM Citadins await.