Kache Kopec was the answer against a stingy Brandon zone defense that stumped the 'Wolves early, as he connected on five of his ten three-point attempts to lead Lakehead past the Brandon Bobcats, 72-64, in their first game of the 2015 Wesmen Classic.
Both teams were slow to find their offensive touch, with Brandon leading 29-27 at halftime.
Lakehead found their rhythm in the third quarter, scoring 24 points, as both Kache Kopec and Brandon Persad heated up from outside. Despite this, Brandon stayed in their zone, since the rest of the Thunderwolves struggled to hit many three's.
As a team Lakehead shot poorly from beyond the arc, going 12-for-39, and badly from the free throw line as well, hitting just 12 of 21.
All of the missed three's earlier in the game led to odd-man fast breaks for the Bobcats and layups. An 18-8 run in the fourth quarter, capped off by a Nick Burke three, put Lakehead up 69-58.
Persad finished 4-of-12 from long range for 15 total points, while Kopec scored a team-high 17 points.
Henry Tan scored 15 points with 6 rebounds and 5 assists. Nick Burke helped out on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds. Bacarius Dinkins scored 13 points with 9 rebounds before fouling out, after just 20 minutes of court time.
Earl Thomson Jr. hit five three's for the Bobcats en route to a game-high 23 points and 13 rebounds.
Lakehead committed 21 turnovers to Brandon's 25 give-aways.
"We started off pretty slow and that's probably because of how long we've been off," said Coach Manny Furtado. "Our guys competed for 40 minutes and gave us a chance down the stretch. We had 2 rookies in Kache and Brandon step up 2nd half and hit some big shots for us."
The men's team takes on either Acadia or MacEwan next at 8:00pm (Central time) tomorrow.
Webcast will be available via Canada West TV.
Source: Lakehead Thunderwolves