Ferris Advances To GLIAC Tourney Semifinals

FSU's Josh Young pressures the ball in Tuesday's GLIAC Quarterfinal (Photo by Rob Bentley)
FSU's Josh Young pressures the ball in Tuesday's GLIAC Quarterfinal (Photo by Rob Bentley)

Postgame Audio Report:
(MP3 File) - (Windows Media Version)

University Center, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team advanced into the semifinals of the 2010 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament with a hard-fought 65-59 triumph over Saginaw Valley State on Tuesday (March 2) evening in the quarterfinal round at SVSU's O'Neill Arena inside the Ryder Center at University Center, Mich.

With the win, the Bulldogs will now head to Ohio to face top-seed and defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay on Friday, March 5, at 6 p.m. (EST).  The game will be played at UF's Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio

In Tuesday's quarterfinal, the Cardinals built a 12-point lead with 8:03 to play in the first half before FSU was able to trim the deficit back to only three at the break. Ferris then outscored SVSU 37-28 in the second half to notch the victory before a crowd of 1,141 fans.

The Bulldogs took the lead for good on a layup by junior forward Justin Keenan with 14:12 to play and never trailed the rest of the way. FSU increased its advantage to as many as six points with 4:46 left and then was able to sink six free throws in the final 37 seconds to secure the victory.

Junior guard Darien Gay led the Bulldogs with 14 points while both Keenan and junior guard Matt DeHart added 13 points apiece to lift FSU into the conference semifinals for the first time since the 2005-06 season.

The win also avenged two earlier regular-season setbacks to the Cardinals, who had won the tiebreaker over FSU for the homecourt edge after the two teams tied for fourth place overall in the GLIAC standings.

Ferris limited SVSU to only 31.6% (18-57) shooting for the game and forced 15 Cardinal turnovers in notching the win. Saginaw Valley State made six-of-23 (35.3%) three-point tries, but missed all six of its long range attempts in the final half.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs converted 22-of-60 (36.7%) field goals and were four-of-22 (18.2%) beyond the arc. Both teams sank 17-of-22 (77.3%) free throws and both teams netted 41 total rebounds with 18 apiece on the offensive glass.

The Cardinals owned a 19-12 advantage in second chance scoring. However, Ferris posted a 22-16 edge in points scored inside the paint and a 13-8 margin in points off turnovers. The Bulldogs also received 30 points off their bench compared to only 12 for SVSU.

Avery Stephenson and Greg Foster both paced Saginaw Valley State with 18 points apiece in the game. Stephenson added 11 boards in a double-double effort while Keenan also posted a double-dobule with 11 rebounds for Ferris State.

FSU managed nine steals, six assists and three blocked shots with the Cardinals recording six assists, four steals and two blocks.

Ferris State improved to 16-12 overall with the win while Saginaw Valley State ended its season with an identical 16-12 mark.  The Cardinals had recently beat FSU 68-66 in University Center only a week and a half ago (Feb. 18).

Friday's other conference tournament semifinal between second-seeded Grand Valley State and number three seed Hillsdale will begin at 8 p.m. (EST) inside Findlay's Croy Gymnasium with the title game tentatively set for Saturday, March 6, at 7 p.m. (EST).

Bulldog Bites: The game featured 10 lead changes, but the score was tied only once in the contest ...... FSU improved to 8-12 all-time in GLIAC Tourney play with the win .... The Bulldogs are currently making their 11th tournament appearance, including the fifth in the last six years ....... The contest was FSU's first-ever GLIAC Tournament game against SVSU, which was making its first berth since 1999 ......... The victory also snapped a two-game Bulldog losing skid in the conference tournament ..... Justin Keenan moved into eighth place on the school's career scoring chart in the game ...... Darien Gay scored the Bulldogs' last three offensive baskets over a three-minute stretch late in the game before Ferris' final eight points came from the free throw stripe .... The win was FSU's first at the Ryder Center since a 84-73 triumph on Jan. 31, 2007, as the Bulldogs had dropped four-straight games in the facility.