Erie, Pa. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team returned from an extended holiday break and advanced into the championship game of the 36th annual Porreco Cup with a 77-66 triumph over Taylor (Ind.) on Tuesday (Dec. 29) evening inside the Hammermill Center at Erie, Pa.
The Bulldogs won the opening game of the four-team event against the NAIA-member school in their first contest since a league road win over Hillsdale nearly two and a half weeks ago (Dec. 12).
FSU will now square off against Seton Hill (Pa.), which topped tournament host and former Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member Gannon by a 64-44 score in Tuesday's second game. The title contest is set for Wednesday (Dec. 30) evening at 8 p.m. (EST) following the consolation tilt between Taylor and Gannon.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 42-25 edge and led 42-34 at the break following a 9-0 Taylor run to end the half. The Trojans trimmed the lead down to six with the first basket of the final period and eventually tied the game up with 15:47 remaining before the Bulldogs went on a 14-2 run and led by double-digits the rest of the way.
Freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin led the Bulldogs with 17 points and seven rebounds in his most productive collegiate game to date. Junior forward/center Justin Keenan added 14 points and five boards while senior guard Austin Randel tallied 12 points and senior guard Josh Young netted 11 points.
The four Bulldog players in double-digits helped offset a game-high 21 point effort from Taylor's Casey Coons, who hit four three-pointers in the game. Jake Hoffman chipped in with 10 points, but was the only other Trojan player to reach double-figure scoring.
The Bulldogs shot 45.9% (28-61) from the floor despite shooting only 28.6% (4-14) beyond the three-point line and 17-of-29 (58.6%) at the free throw stripe.
Defensively, FSU did force 19 turnovers and limited its own mistakes to only 11 for the game as the Trojans never led in the contest. Taylor was 26-of-54 (48.1%) from the field and eight-of-19 (42.1%) beyond the arc to go with six-of-10 (60%) free throw shooting.
Ferris also grabbed 14 offensive boards compared to only eight for Taylor.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 5-4 overall this season and have now won five of their last six games to date. Taylor dropped to 9-7 overall with the setback.
Bulldog Bites: Tuesday's meeting was
the ninth series' encounter between the two teams, but the first
since the 1987-88 season. The series' originally began in
1961-62 ..... FSU defeated Taylor for the fourth time in the last
five matchups ....... Wednesday's game against Seton Hill will
represent the first time the two teams have ever squared off
against each other ..... By virtue of the victory, the Bulldogs
advanced to the Porreco Cup final after previously losing both
games in their last appearance at the event during the 2003-04
Note: There will be no live audio or video webcast for Wednesday's championship game. Live statistics will be provided at the link below: