Scott Morrison watched most of Thursday’s non-conference win over the Winnipeg Wesmen from the comfort of his office.
Tossed from the game for screaming at officials working the contest, Morrison wasn’t happy with what he saw in the final three quarters of action – even though the Lakehead Thunderwolves managed to hang on and pull out an 84-75 decision.
It was how they did it that frustrated the 10th-year coach.
“Everybody made some mistakes tonight, including myself. But the one thing that really wasn’t excusable was the lack of energy level and intensity from the guys I thought from start to finish,” Morrison said.
“While it wasn’t my intention to get kicked out of the game, usually something like that might spark some adrenaline, some intensity, and I just didn’t see it. I’m not really happy with the guys tonight at all.”
He might have a point.
After roaring out of the gate to take a 23-9 lead after 10 minutes, the Wolves began to sputter at both ends of the court. But still, even when Morrison was ejected they held a 27-14 advantage over the Wesmen, a team that finished 4-14 in Canada West play last season.
“I’m disappointed the guys didn’t rally around that, weren’t ready to play in the first place we got real lucky. (Matthew) Schmidt, (Ryan) Thomson and Yoosrie (Salhia) really bailed us out tonight with some offensive rebounding and defensive shooting.”
Thomson led all scorers with 27 points, none more clutch than the three he hit early in the fourth that erased a 62-61 Winnipeg lead, the lone time in the contest the Thunderwolves trailed. Schmidt finished with 13 points, including a pair of hoops down the stretch that kept Lakehead out of reach. And Salhia grabbed eight offensive boards that gave their offence second chances to put the ball in the basket.
Britain’s Joe Hart also had a big night, draining 15 points.
It wasn’t the type of game Thomson and his teammates were looking for.
“We tried to come out with a little bit of energy at the beginning and it sustained for the first quarter and it certainly lost some steam in the second quarter and even the second half,” Thomson said, admitting Morrison’s abrupt departure did have an effect on their game.
But like Morrison said, they did the exact opposite of what they should have done.
“We should get more energy from something like that. That should rattle the guys up and make them want to play harder since he’s not there. But it kind of had a counter effect.”
The veteran forward has no clue why.
“I couldn’t tell you,” he said.
It was the combination of Jordan Clennon and Travis Krahn who pulled the Wesmen back into contention. Clennon finished with 19 to pace the Wesmen, the former pulling Winnipeg to within a point as the third quarter came to an end.
Mark McNee netted the lead-changing basket, but try as they might, after Thomson scored the closest Winnipeg came was a single-point deficit.
The Wolves pulled away thanks to an unexpected spark. Greg Carter, who was just 5-for-10 from the charity stripe and finished 3-for-8 from the field, made a turn-on-a-dime spin move to restore a six-point LU lead, then stole the ball and streaked down the Thunderdome court for the easy lay-up to put the game away.
Beyond the arc: LU guard Ben Johnson had a terrible night shooting, going just 2-for-13 from the floor and just 1-for-7 at the line ... The two sides play again on Friday night.
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