Postgame Audio Report:
University Center, Mich. - Saginaw Valley State moved into a second place tie with Ferris State in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) men's basketball divisional action with a narrow 68-66 triumph on Thursday (Feb. 18) evening at O'Neill Arena in University Center, Mich.
The Bulldogs took a 32-30 lead at the break before SVSU responded in the second half and grabbed a six-point advantage with 10:17 remaining.
FSU came back to take a one-point lead on a jumper from junior forward/center Justin Keenan with 1:20 remaining in the contest. However, the Cardinals answered with a layup at the one minute mark and after a Bulldog miss from beyond the arc, SVSU threw the ball down the floor for an open layup to take a three-point lead with 33 seconds to go.
Saginaw Valley State pushed the lead to four on a free throw with 10 seconds remaining, but Ferris cut it back to one on a late three-pointer from senior guard Austin Randel with less than a second left. The Bulldogs were whistled for an intential foul on the following inbounds play and SVSU added a free throw to account for the final margin.
Keenan tallied a game-high 28 points and 12 rebounds in a double-double effort for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 14-10 overall and 12-7 in the GLIAC standings with the setback.
Randel added 14 points for Ferris State, but was the only other FSU player to reach double-figures in the game.
Avery Stephenson paced SVSU with a team-best 23 points. Chris Webb contributed 14 points, Dan Genther added 12 points and Keithan Jackson scored 10 points.
SVSU shot 41.4% (24-58) from the field compared to only 34.4% (21-61) for the Bulldogs. FSU was only two-of-21 (9.5%) from beyond the arc, but did make 22-of-29 (75.9%) free throws. The Cardinals finished seven-of-22 (31.8%) from long range and were 13-of-26 (50%) at the stripe.
Ferris did hold a 46-39 rebounding edge and grabbed 18 offensive boards with seven coming from Keenan.
With the victory, SVSU improved to 15-9 overall and 12-7 in league action. Both FSU and SVSU are tied for second place in the GLIAC North Division and trail Grand Valley State by two games following Thursday's games.
The Cardinals managed nine assists, four steals and six blocked shots compared to FSU's seven assists, three steals and a single block.
The game featured eight lead changes and the score was tied 10 times with neither team leading by more than six points in the outing.
The Bulldogs will play their final road contest of the regular-season on Saturday (Feb. 20) as they travel to Lake Superior State for a 3 p.m. (EST) GLIAC contest against the Lakers at Bud Cooper Gymnasium in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Following Saturday's game, FSU will then host Northwood (Feb. 25) and Wayne State (Feb. 27) in its final two regular-season contests next week at Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.