KITCHENER, Ont. – After a 2-10 start, the Lakehead Thunderwolves playoff chances were looking grim.
Talk about a turnaround.
The Thunderwolves have gone 7-3 since that point and knocked off top 10 teams on three separate occasions.
The effort paid off on Saturday night, as they rallied from 11 down after three to down the No. 8 Laurier Golden Hawks 75-69 and clinch a spot in the OUA men’s basketball post-season.
Isaiah Traylor continued torrid play, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Lock Lam also completed the double-double with 12 points and 13 boards.
“This was a gritty team win against a tough Laurier squad,” said Thunderwolves coach Ryan Thomson in a release.
“Coach (Justin) Serresse always has those guys ready to play hard and it shows.”
Sixteen of Traylor’s 30 came in the decisive final frame, with Lam giving the Wolves the lead for good with a free throw with 3:42 to play.
Lam was a driving force down the stretch, making the lay-up that pushed the lead to three, then stealing the ball and draining a three-pointer that made it 65-59 with 2:40 to play.
Then, after the Golden Hawks cut the lead back to four, Traylor buried a three of his own. Lakehead kept Laurier at bay from the charity stripe the rest of the way.
At 9-13, the Thunderwolves could climb to as high as fourth place in the OUA West with a pair of wins next weekend at home against Brock. They’d also need McMaster to beat Guelph, and then the Gryphons to lose to Laurier in their season finale, in order to earn the right to host a first-round playoff game.