November 13, 2009

MBB Game Notes: Lewis & CMU (Nov. 15-16)

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* The Games: The Ferris State University men’s basketball team officially opens the 2009-10 campaign by visiting Lewis (Ill.) on Sunday, Nov. 15, for a 6 p.m. (CT) non-league tilt in Neil Carey Arena at Romeoville, Ill. Then, on Monday, Nov. 16, FSU travels to face NCAA Division I Central Michigan in a non-conference contest at CMU’s Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich., with tipoff at 7 p.m. (ET).

* Ticket Information: Tickets for both games will be available prior to the contest. For more information on ticket sales for the Lewis game, please call the LU Athletics Office at (815) 836-5612. CMU’s Athletics Ticket Office can be reached by calling 1-888-FIREUP-2.  The Bulldogs will also have a fan bus going to the CMU game for the first 30 to sign up.

* Media Coverage: There will be a live local FSU radio broadcast for Monday’s game at CMU only on WBRN 1460 AM & 107.7 FM with Rob Bentley handling the play-by-play action. Live internet statistics and live video pay-per-view webcasts are slated to be available for both games. Please visit FSU’s Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com to find links for all available coverage in the “upcoming events” tab.

* Follow On Twitter: Bulldog basketball fans can follow all FSU games this year via Twitter. To access the service, please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* Last Time Out: Ferris wrapped up exhibition play by limiting longtime West Michigan rival Calvin to only 29.7% shooting en route to a 88-68 triumph over the Knights on Tuesday (Nov. 10) inside the new Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids. Ferris held Calvin to only 19 total field goals and forced 14 turnovers for the night while also shooting 50% (37-74) from the field in its final exhibition contest. The Bulldogs scored the final four points of the opening frame to take a narrow 40-36 halftime advantage and proceeded to outscore Calvin 48-32 the rest of the way to grab the win and finish exhibition play with a 2-1 mark. The Bulldogs had five players reach double-figure scoring in the contest with senior guard Josh Young pacing FSU with a game-high tying 19 points. Junior Justin Keenan chipped in 18 points in only 19 minutes of action while senior guard Jon Yeazel added 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Senior guard Austin Randel scored 13 points and freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin also reached double-digits with 11 points in the outing.

* Coming Up Next: Following the two games on back-to-back nights, the Bulldogs continue a season-opening three game road swing by heading to Saint Joseph’s (Ind.) on Saturday, Nov. 21, for a 3 p.m. (CT) non-league game in Rensselaer, Ind.

* The Records: Ferris State (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC) recorded a 14-14 overall record during the 2008-09 season and placed third in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division with a 12-10 league mark. Lewis finished the 2008-09 season with a 16-12 overall record and was 10-8 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action.
CMU was 12-19 overall a season ago at the NCAA Division I level and posted a 7-9 mark in Mid-American Conference (MAC) competition to earn a share of the league’s West Division title.

* The Coaches:

Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 106-108 (.495) – (3-2-0 vs. Calvin). Sall was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Calvin College from 1985-90 and previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02). He served as FSU’s interim coach for a brief portion of the 1995-96 season.

Lewis – Scott Trost (Minnesota-Morris, 1985), 4th season at Lewis, 51-36 (.586), 13th season overall, 204-122 (.626). Prior to arriving at Lewis, Trost enjoyed a highly successful tenure at Illinois Wesleyan, leading the club to three-straight league titles and four consecutive NCAA-III Tourney bids. He also served four seasons as head coach at Elmhurst and was an assistant at the University of Michigan.

Central Michigan – Ernie Zeigler
(Cleary College, 1994), 4th season at CMU, 39-54 (.419). Zeigler spent time as a NCAA Division I assistant at Kansas State, Bowling Green, Pittsburgh and UCLA prior to taking the CMU job. He also coached overseas for three years and was a prep assistant at Detroit Cody from 1990-96.

* Welcome Back: Ferris State welcomes back eight letterwinners this season from a year ago. Included in the total are two All-GLIAC picks in junior forward/center Justin Keenan (first team) and junior guard Darien Gay (second team). They helped form one of the nation’s youngest teams as part of a nine-member freshmen class two years ago.

* Preseason All-American: Ferris State junior center Justin Keenan has been named a NCAA Division II Preseason All-America selection by three different sources, including being tabbed to the Division II Bulletin “Super 16” Preseason squad. He also claimed acclaim from both The Sporting News and Basketball Times. Keenan was honored last season as a National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II All-Midwest District Second Team pick along with a Daktronics All-Midwest Region Second Team and All-GLIAC North Division First Team selection.

* FSU Wins Exhibition Opener: Ferris State opened its 2009-10 exhibition slate by beating Aquinas 66-56 in a preseason tilt on Oct. 29 at Greenville (Mich.) High School’s North Gym. The Bulldogs led 29-23 at halftime and outscored the Saints 37-33 in the final half. Four players reached double-figure scoring with junior forward/center Justin Keenan pacing the Bulldogs with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds. Both junior guard Darien Gay and senior guard Austin Randel chipped in 12 points apiece while sophomore guard Dontae Molden totaled 11 points. The contest marked the return of Bulldog junior guard Matt DeHart to his hometown for the game.

* FSU Falls At Dayton: Ferris State battled the preseason nationally-ranked Dayton Flyers tough for most of the night, but came out on the short end of a 88-73 exhibition decision in its second preseason outing on Nov. 3 at the historic University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio. An announced crowd of 11,169 fans watched the Flyers take a 48-35 halftime edge. The Bulldogs whittled the lead down to 10 points with 4:38 to play, but could get no closer. The Bulldogs had three players reach double-figure scoring. Junior forward/center Justin Keenan, a preseason NCAA Division II All-American, paced Ferris with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Austin Randel added 22 points and junior guard Darien Gay chipped in with 10 points for FSU. Dayton is currently ranked 21st in the Division I Associated Press preseason poll along with 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

* Good Exhibition Mark: With two exhibition wins this season, the Bulldogs have now claimed a victory in four of their last five preseason tilts going back ot last year. FSU had won three consecutive exhibition games prior to the loss at Dayton. Last year, the Bulldogs defeated Cornerstone 74-73 (10/30/08) and Calvin 80-66 (11/11/08) in home exhibition games at FSU’s Jim Wink Arena with the third victory coming in this year’s exhibition opener against Aquinas and the fourth in this year’s triumph at Calvin.

* Looking At Lewis: The Flyers finished the 2008-09 season with a 16-12 overall record and was 10-8 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action. Fourth-year head coach Scott Trost welcomes back three starters and eight letterwinners from last campaign. Junior guard Dennis Thomas is the team’s top returning scorer after averaging 10.2 points per game last campaign, which ranked third on the team behind two 1,000-point career scorers who have since moved on. The Flyers topped NCAA Division I Illinois-Chicago by a 66-55 count in their final exhibition game on Tuesday (Nov. 10) after losing a pair of earlier exhibition games versus NCAA-I schools at Notre Dame, 70-54, and Bradley, 68-63.

* Looking At CMU: CMU was 12-19 overall a season ago at the NCAA Division I level and posted a 7-9 mark in Mid-American Conference (MAC) competition to earn a share of the league’s West Division title. The Chippewas are the favorites to win the MAC West again this year and return 46 percent of their points scored and 36 percent of their rebounding from a season ago. Three starters are also back. CMU posted two convincing exhibtion wins over Marygrove (85-38) and Indiana-South Bend (70-42) at Rose Arena.

* FSU Picked Second: Ferris was picked to finish second in the 2009-10 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll in conjunction with the league’s annual media day teleconference. The Bulldogs totaled 107 points in the balloting and picked up two first-place votes while finishing second in the North Division. Grand Valley State earned 17 of a possible 24 first-place votes and led the division with 130 points. Defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay earned 22 first-place votes in being selected the South Division favorite by a group of 24 media members.

* Preseason Honorees:
Ferris had two of the five players named to the 2009-10 GLIAC North Division Preseason All-Conference Team as chosen by the league’s head coaches. Both Justin Keenan and Darien Gay were on the five-member team. Keenan was a first-team all-league pick last season while Gay claimed All-GLIAC North Division Second Team kudos.

* Last Season: FSU finished 14-14 overall and placed third (12-10) in the GLIAC North Division last season. In 2008-09, Ferris also made its 10th GLIAC Postseason Tournament appearance and fourth in the last five years. Last year represented the seventh consecutive year the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under head coach Bill Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.

* The Bulldog Roster: Ferris’ current 2009-10 roster includes three seniors, four juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen. Eight of the 13 players are guards while the remaining five are frontcourt players. All 13 players on the Bulldogs’ roster hail from Michigan.

* Home Opener: The Bulldogs’ 2009-10 home opener at FSU’s Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids will be on Monday, Nov. 30, when archrival Grand Valley State comes to town for an 8 p.m. (ET) tilt. The contest will also mark Ferris’ initial GLIAC encounter.

* Two Make Debut: The Bulldogs have utilized only two new players in the three exhibition games, which include freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) and senior guard/forward Jon Yeazel (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg). Yeazel is a former Division I transfer from CMU, who redshirted at FSU last season.

* Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, eighth-year FSU head coach Bill Sall previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02) prior to being named Ferris State’s 11th head coach. Before joining the coaching ranks, Sall was a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90. He twice (1989-90) received second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-America honors and led Calvin to three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) championships, four NCAA-III Tournament bids and the 1990 NCAA-III Final Four.

* FSU History: Ferris State’s impressive basketball tradition includes 11 GLIAC titles, eight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and a berth in the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris, which last won the GLIAC Tournament championship during the 1997-98 campaign, captured a league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90.

* Great Run: Ferris won back-to-back GLIAC North Division crowns under Bill Sall in 2003-04 and 2004-05 while reaching the NCAA-II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06. FSU advanced to the NCAA-II “Sweet Sixteen” during the 2004-05 season, which was Sall’s third season at the helm.

* Turnaround Time: The Bulldogs had posted only a 21-82 (.204) mark in the four seasons prior to head coach Bill Sall's arrival, but have since went 101-100 (.501) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his seven previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* Career Milestones: Ferris’ Justin Keenan enters the season needing only 15 points to become the 26th player in school history to register 1,000 career points. He’s eight rebounds shy of notching his 400th career board ...... Senior guard Josh Young is three points away from recording his 400th career point after ranking second among the squad’s scoring leaders at 14.2 points per game last year ....... Senior guard Austin Randel needs 20 points to notch his 200th point. He averaged 20.7 points per game in 2007-08 at NCAA-II North Greenville (S.C.) before transferring to FSU.

* Season Openers: Ferris will officially open its 82nd season against Lewis. The Bulldogs, who have won four of their last 13 openers, currently hold a 40-41 all-time record in opening day contests. Last season (11/15/08), FSU dropped a 72-57 non-league road decision at Northern Kentucky. In 2000-01, Ferris toppled NCAA-I Oakland (11/21/00) 75-70 on opening day for its first opening day road victory since the 1987-88 campaign and one of only two FSU season-opening road wins in the last 20 years along with ‘02-03.

* FSU vs. Lewis: Ferris State and Lewis will square off for the 11th time Sunday with the Flyers holding a 7-3 series’ advantage. Lewis has won seven of the last nine encounters to date, but FSU posted a convincing 88-59 victory in the most recent game during the 2004-05 season in Big Rapids (12/30/04). The Flyers recorded a 76-63 win in the last meeting (11/15/03) played at Romeoville, Ill. Ferris head coach Bill Sall owns a 1-2 career coaching mark versus Lewis.

* The Last Meeting: Ferris recorded its fourth consecutive victory with an 88-59 non-conference win over visiting Lewis (Ill.) in the last meeting between the two teams (12/30/04) at FSU’s Jim Wink Arena. Senior guard Carlton Epps (Benton Harbor) hit six three-pointers and tallied a game-high 22 points as the Bulldogs improved to 10-2 overall. Ferris sprinted out to a 44-24 halftime advantage and outscored the Flyers 44-35 in the final frame. FSU shot 55.9% (33-59) from the floor for the game and was 17-of-26 (65.4%) in the second half. Ferris also sank 14-of-26 (53.8%) three-point tries and made eight-of-13 (61.5%) free throw attempts. The Bulldogs eventually went on and reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05.

* FSU vs. CMU: CMU holds a commanding 64-21 edge entering Monday’s 86th series contest. The two teams last played during the 2003-04 season, when the Chippewas won 73-58 at Rose Arena. That game counted as a regular-season outing for FSU and an exhibition contest for CMU per NCAA rules regarding the season’s official start date. The 2003-04 meeting was the first matchup between the two squads since the Chippewas 79-53 home victory in 1990-91 (12/3). Ferris has won two of the last seven and four of the previous 10 meetings overall.

* Ferris vs. CMU Series Notes: Former Chippewa player Sean Waters led CMU with 12 points in the 1990 meeting (12/3/90). He is the son of former Bulldog player and assistant coach Gary Waters, who now serves as the head men’s basketball coach at Cleveland State University and guided the Vikings to an NCAA Tournament appearance last year ....... Monday’s game will be only the second regular-season tilt between the two schools in the last 33 years. Prior to the 1990 meeting, the two teams had not faced each other since FSU posted a 72-69 home win on Dec. 8, 1976. The 6,150 fans who attended the contest at the Ferris Fieldhouse (later known as Jim Wink Arena) in Big Rapids in 1976 is the largest crowd ever to witness a Bulldog home basketball game ...... The Ferris-CMU series dates back to 1925-26 when the Bulldogs picked up a 25-23 win.

* The Last Meeting: The Bulldogs jumped out to a 12-point advantage only six minutes into their non-league contest versus NCAA Division I Central Michigan (11/17/03) before the Chippewas responded to post a 73-58 win in CMU's Rose Arena at Mt. Pleasant, Mich. The contest, which was played as a regular-season game for Ferris and an exhibition outing for CMU per NCAA regulations, represented the first meeting between the two schools since the 1990-91 campaign. Bulldog junior guard Corey Epps (Benton Harbor) led the way with 12 points, freshman forward Terrance Shaw (Saginaw/Bridgeport) added 11 points while sophomore forward Jeffery Shanahan (Flint/Kearsley) and sophomore guard Dennis Springs (Toledo, Ohio/Scott) both chipped in 10 points for FSU.

* FSU vs. Division I - Bill Sall Era: Besides the exhibition outing at Dayton (Ohio) this season, the Bulldogs have played several other Division I foes under head coach Bill Sall .......... Ferris squared off against the Michigan Wolverines in a historic first-ever meeting between the two teams in an exhibition game two years ago (11/1/07), but dropped a 78-40 decision at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. A crowd of 7,489 watch the first-ever matchup between the two schools in FSU's 82-year history of men's basketball and the contest also marked the debut for then first-year Michigan head coach John Beilein ...... In 2006-07, the Bulldogs dropped a pair of exhibition games to NCAA Division I schools. FSU fell at Toledo (Ohio) in its exhibition opener 97-71 before dropping a 68-53 decision at the University of Detroit Mercy ......... The Bulldogs narrowly suffered a 67-55 non-conference regular season decision in 2005-06 versus Toledo in UT's Savage Hall at Toledo, Ohio ......... In 2003-04, the Bulldogs dropped a 73-58 decision to Central Michigan in CMU’s Rose Arena at Mt. Pleasant, Mich. That contest was played as a regular-season game for Ferris and an exhibition outing for CMU per NCAA regulations involving the season's official starting date ....... Ferris’ last win over a NCAA Division I school came in 2000-01 (11/21) when the Bulldogs defeated Oakland by a score of 75-70 in regular- season action at Rochester, Mich.

* Sall On Winnning Side: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall continued his recent success in the Ferris-Calvin series’ with Tuesday’s exhibition triumph. Sall, who was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American as a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90, has been involved in 13 Calvin-Ferris regular-season meetings while emerging victorious 10 times. He led the Knights to three victories as a player (1987-90) and recorded a 2-1 mark as a Calvin assistant coach (1992-95) against the Bulldogs. Sall also helped guide FSU to a 2-1 ledger during his initial Bulldog coaching stint from 1995-98 and is 3-1 versus the Knights since returning as Ferris’ head coach in regular-season play. The Bulldogs are also 2-0 under Sall in exhibition outings versus Calvin.

* More On Keenan: A preseason All-America pick, Justin Keenan led the GLIAC in scoring (20.2 ppg.) while ranking second in offensive rebounds (3.4 rpg.), fourth in rebounding (7.3 rpg.) and fourth in field goal percentage (.546) last year. He also made and attempted more free throws (180-237) than any other player in the league last season. Keenan reached double-figure scoring in 24 of his 25 games and totaled 20 points or more in 14 outings a year ago, including a career-high 33 points versus Olivet (Nov. 25), en route to earning team MVP honors for the second-straight year. In 55 career contests to date, Keenan has recorded 985 points and 392 rebounds while starting 52 games. His 347 made free throws (347-449) currently ranks sixth on the school's career leaders list while he needs only 15 more points to become only the 26th player in Ferris history to score more than 1,000 career points. Keenan's current .543 (317-584) field goal percentage figure is tied for 10th place on FSU's career chart.

* A Familiar Foe: FSU senior guard Jon Yeazel will face a familiar foe in Central Michigan. The 6-2 Yeazel spent both the 2005-06 and 2007-08 campaigns at CMU before transferring to FSU. He appeared in all 28 games and made two starts for the Chippewas as a freshman in 2005-06, but did not see game action in ‘07-08. He averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in his initial year with CMU, including two double-figure scoring efforts. The Thornapple-Kellogg High School product also competed at Schoolcraft Community College the year between his two stints at Central Michigan (2006-07) and redshirted for the Bulldogs last year.

* Notes On Darien Gay: FSU junior guard Darien Gay was an All-GLIAC North Division Second Team pick last year and one of five players named to this year’s preseason all-conference team. The 5-10 Gay was the team's third-leading scorer (11.1 ppg.) and had 17 double-figure scoring performances in 28 games last year. Gay's 47 percent (54-115) shooting effort behind the three-point stripe ranked as the seventh-best seasonal mark in FSU history. He ranked second in the league behind teammate Donte Molden in assists (4.4 apg.). He was also second in steals (1.8 spg.) and fourth in three-point percentage (.470) among the GLIAC leaders. Gay placed first in the conference in assist to turnover ratio (2:1).

* Molden Paced GLIAC: Ferris sophomore guard Dontae Molden led the GLIAC with 132 assists (4.7 apg.) last year, which represented the 11th-best figure in school single-season history. The 2008-09 team Defensive MVP also had 177 (6.3 ppg.) points and added 76 rebounds (2.7 rpg.) in 28 appearances his rookie year, including 23 starts. The Detroit Pershing prep product compiled seven double-figure scoring contests and tallied six assists or more in 12 games. Molden was seventh in steals (1.7 spg.) in the GLIAC.

* The Coaching Staff: The Bulldog coaching staff includes top assistant coach Cory Anderson, who played for Ferris from 1996-98, and is in his 11th season as a full-time assistant. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Killian also returns for his eighth season on Sall’s staff. Former Cornerstone University standout Andy Bronkema, who teaches at Big Rapids’ Crossroads Charter Academy, is in his third season as a volunteer assistant at FSU while longtime collegiate head coach Ed Douma joins the staff for the first time this year as a volunteer after former volunteer assistant coach Dave Schlump departed to become the head coach at Muskegon CC.

* Douma Joins Staff: Longtime college basketball coach Ed Douma has joined the Bulldog staff for the 2009-10 season. Douma most recently served as head coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale for nine years until 2007. His experience includes 33 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, including at his alma mater, Calvin College (NCAA-III), where he guided the Knights to the NCAA-III National Championship in 1991-92. He has also served as head coach at Alma College (NCAA-III), fellow GLIAC member Lake Superior State (NAIA), Kent State (NCAA-I) and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (NCAA-III). Douma owns a career mark of 561-295 and also won two MHSAA Class C State Championships at Shelby High School. FSU head coach Bill Sall played for Douma at Calvin and also served as one of his assistant coaches at both Calvin and Hillsdale.

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