Erie, Pa. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team
captured the 36th annual Porreco Cup Championship with a 71-64
triumph over Seton Hill (Pa.) in Wednesday's (Dec. 30) title
contest of the event hosted by Gannon University inside the
Hammermill Center at Erie, Pa.
With the win, the Bulldogs have now won six of their last seven outings to date this season.
Seton Hill grabbed a nine-point halftime edge in the title contest and never trailed in the opening period. The Griffins led by as many as 11 points in the first 20 minutes of action.
However, Ferris continued to chip into the lead during the second half and took the lead for the first time in the game on a three-pointer by junior guard Darien Gay with 4:41 left in the contest.
After the Griffins tied it back up with a pair of free throws, the Bulldogs scored six-straight points to take the lead for good with a pair of baskets by Gay and a jumper from junior forward Lou Williams.
FSU then made seven free throws in the final 34 seconds to
secure the victory.
"It was good to see us execute well down the stretch," said FSU head coach Bill Sall. "We battled back from a nine-point halftime deficit and made some big plays at the end to pull out the win.
"I thought we did a nice job on the boards and it was an exciting victory for our team," he added.
The Bulldogs posted a commanding 50-34 rebounding edge and tallied 16 offensive boards in the game to help offset 25 turnovers and a two-of-14 (14.3%) effort from behind the three-point stripe.
Overall, Ferris converted 26-of-58 (44.8%) field goal attempts and connected on 17-of-25 (68%) free throws.
Junior forward/center Justin Keenan tallied 18 points and made seven of 12 field goal tries in leading the Bulldogs. Both Gay and senior guard Jon Yeazel chipped in with 12 points while senior guard Josh Young added 11 points for FSU.
Defensively, FSU also limited Seton Hill to 37.1% (26-70) shooting, which included a one-of-11 (9.1%) showing from the three-point arc. The Griffins sank 11-of-19 (57.9%) free throws and had 16 turnovers.
Chris Giles paced Seton Hill with a game-high 20 points while Cody Boone added 12 points and Justin McCoy netted 11 points.
Both Keenan and freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin were named to the Porreco Cup All-Tournament Team following the conclusion of the event. Sutherlin chipped in with six points and eight rebounds in the final after scoring a team-high 17 points in Tuesday's (Dec. 29) opening round win over Taylor (Ind.). Giles was chosen as the event's Most Outstanding Player.
FSU improved to 6-4 overall by winning the Porreco Cup while Seton Hill dropped to 4-4 overall this year with the setback.
Ferris State returns home and will resume Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play versus Lake Superior State on Thursday, Jan. 7, at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST).
FSU then squares off against Saginaw Valley State in a conference home contest as part of the "Basketball Bonanza" high school-college quadruple header on Saturday, Jan. 9, with the men's game scheduled for a 5 p.m. (EST) start at Wink Arena.
Bulldog Bites: Wednesday's title game represented the first-ever series' matchup between FSU and Seton Hill ...... Host Gannon took third place in the Porreco Cup with a narrow 59-57 win over Taylor (Ind.) in the consolation game ...... The Bulldogs won both of their games in this year's Porreco Cup after previously dropping both contests in their most recent cup appearance during the 2003-04 season .... Justin Keenan has now reached double-figure scoring in all 10 games this season and 59 of his 62 career outings, including 38 of his last 39 appearances.