Men's Basketball To Play Exhibition At Greenville

Greenville native and current Bulldog Matt DeHart (#5) will return to his hometown for the exhibition opener
Greenville native and current Bulldog Matt DeHart (#5) will return to his hometown for the exhibition opener

Big Rapids, Mich. - Area basketball fans will have their first opportunity to catch the 2009-10 Ferris State University men's basketball team in action with a "home game" away from home as the Bulldogs will square off against Aquinas College in a college exhibition game on Thursday, Oct. 29, in Greenville, Mich.

The game, which was organized by the Greenville High School Athletic Department in conjunction with FSU Athletics, will be played at Greenville's North Gym and tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (EDT).

Former Yellow Jackets' guard Matt DeHart will suit up and play for the Bulldogs in the game.  Additionally, one of the game's organizers is current Ferris State Associate AD Jon Coles, also a Greenville native who will make a special presentation to prospective college student-athletes on the process of becoming a student athlete as part of the event.

"Like the Battle of the Ballpark, we are trying to expand our brand to show more than just the immediate surroundings what a great product we have," Coles said.  "It's great PR for our entire institution."

DeHart, who will be a junior this season, played in 27 games for the Bulldogs during the 2008-09 campaign and totaled 113 points along with 55 rebounds.  The two-year letterwinner appeared in 20 games for FSU as a freshman in 2007-08.  While at Greenville, the all-area selection helped the Yellow Jackets to two-straight district runner-up finishes.

"A game like this gives us the ability to bring former players from this area back to showcase and it also brings the college level into town so our local people can see what it is all about," said GHS Boys Basketball Coach Mark Haist.

Besides DeHart, both the Ferris and Aquinas rosters will include several other players with West Michigan ties, particularly from the Grand Rapids area.

Ferris State owns a commanding 55-16 all-time series' advantage in regular-season contests against Aquians, but narrowly beat the Saints 79-77 in the last meeting between the two teams during the 2004-05 season (11/20) at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.  Aquinas registered a 24-10 overall mark a year ago and won the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) with a 12-2 mark in league play under head coach Dave Hammer, who starts his seventh season at the helm.

The Bulldog men's basketball team, which is guided by eighth-year head coach Bill Sall, welcomes back eight letterwinners from last campaign and officially opened preseason practices last Thursday (Oct. 15).

Ferris finished 14-14 overall and placed third (12-10) in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division a year ago. In 2008-09, FSU also made its 10th GLIAC 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 Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.

In addition to the game against Aquinas, the Bulldogs will also play exhibition games at NCAA Division I Dayton (Ohio) on Tuesday, Nov. 3, and against Calvin on Tuesday, Nov. 10, in Grand Rapids before tipping off the regular season with a non-league tilt at Lewis (Ill.) on Sunday, Nov. 15, at Romeoville, Ill. The following night, Nov. 16, the Bulldogs visit Central Michigan for a regular-season contest against the NCAA-I Chippewas in Mount Pleasant, Mich.