Postgame Audio: Head Coach Bill Sall
(MP3 Version) - (Windows Media File)
Postgame Audio: Austin Randel
(MP3 Version) - (Windows Media File)
Big Rapids, Mich. - It was a tale of two halves on Thursday (Feb. 4) evening inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena as the visiting Hillsdale Chargers rallied back from a 15-point deficit in the first half to post a 96-85 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) triumph over Ferris State.
The Chargers snapped FSU's six-game winning streak in the process while winning their own sixth consecutive contest with the victory. Thursday's game represented FSU's annual "Pink Wave Night" in support of breast cancer awareness.
FSU built a 15-point advantage with 6:30 to play in the first half before the Chargers cut the gap to 45-37 at halftime as Bulldog junior forward/center Justin Keenan sat the final seven minutes of the opening half with two personal fouls.
Keenan returned in the second half, but his team high 20-point performance wasn't enough to offset a 35-of-44 (79.5%) Charger showing at the free throw stripe. Hillsdale outscored Ferris 59-40 over the final 20 minutes as the Bulldogs finished with 29 personal fouls in the game.
"We did not defend very well for the whole game and we struggled guarding them," said FSU head coach Bill Sall. "We didn't get stops and it makes it difficult that's for sure."
Overall, Hillsdale shot a blistering 63% (29-46) from the floor, including a 73.7% (14-19) effort in the final half. They were three-of-10 (30%) behind the three-point arc.
The Bulldogs connected on 28-of-55 (50.9%) field goal tries for the game and were seven-of-19 (36.8%) beyond the three-point line. FSU shot 13 fewer free throws than the Chargers as the Bulldogs finished by making 22-of-31 (71%) free throws.
Keenan's 20 points paced FSU and he also added six rebounds in 28 minutes of action. Four other Bulldog players also reached dobule-digits with senior guard Austin Randel next in line with 19 points and a game-best eight rebounds to go with four assists.
Senior guard Jon Yeazel added 13 points and five assists for FSU while both junior guard Darien Gay and senior guard Josh Young netted 10 points apiece. Gay chipped in with six assists, Yeazel had five and sophomore guard Donte Molden also had five helpers as the Bulldogs totaled 22 assists in the contest.
The Chargers had four players score in double-figures with both Luke Laser and Tyler Gerber leading the way with a game-high 21 points apiece. Gerber also tallied seven assists and three steals in a solid all-around contest.
Brad Guinane recorded 15 points and Matt Clarke registered 12 points off the bench for the Chargers, who improved to 8-11 overall and 8-7 in GLIAc play while avenging an earlier home setback to the Bulldogs back in December.
Ferris State fell to 12-8 overall and dropped two games behind GLIAC North Division leader Grand Valley State with a 10-5 conference record.
The Bulldogs were slightly outrebounded for the game by a 26-25 count although FSU did finish with 12 offensive boards that led to a narrow 12-8 edge in second chance scoring. FSU turned the ball over 13 times with the Chargers netting only 10 miscues.
Hillsdale posted a 40-24 advantage in points scored inside the paint along with a 14-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Ferris State returns to the floor again on Saturday (Feb. 6) as the Bulldogs host the defending NCAA Division II National Champion and the GLIAC South Division leader in nationally-ranked Findlay with tipoff set for 2 p.m. (EST) inside Wink Arena. Tickets will be available at the door.
Saturday's game will include a special halftime performance as part of the local Festival of the Arts series and it will also be "Community Health Day" with various informational tables and free health screenings located in the main concourse during the afternoon.