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* The Game: The Ferris State University men’s basketball team returns to the court on Dec. 29-30 as the Bulldogs compete in the 36th annual Porreco Cup hosted by Gannon University at the historic Hammermill Center in Erie, Pa.
* The Matchups: FSU takes on NAIA-member Taylor (Ind.) in the first game of the event on Tuesday, Dec. 29, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. (EST). Host Gannon squares off against Seton Hill (Pa.) in the nightcap at 8 p.m. (EST). The consolation and championship games of the Porreco Cup are scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 30, beginning at 6 p.m. (EST) and 8 p.m. (EST), respectively.
* Ticket Info: Tickets for the event can be obtained at the door or by contacting the Gannon Athletics Department at (814) 871-7476. Ticket windows open one hour prior to tipoff.
* Media Coverage: There will be no local FSU broadcast coverage. GU will provide live internet statistics for all games. Additionally, they will have live audio along with a live video webcast for any games involving Gannon. Complete links will be available via FSU’s Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com - click on the “upcoming events” tab for links.
* Follow On Twitter: Bulldog fans can follow all FSU games this year via Twitter. To access the service, visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.
* Last Time Out: Ferris State split a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road contests to wrap up the pre-holiday portion of its schedule last week. FSU fell to nationally-ranked and defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay by a 90-62 count on Thursday (Dec. 10) evening at UF’s Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio. The Bulldogs then bounced back to beat Hillsdale 78-67 in Saturday’s (Dec. 12) road tilt at Jesse Philips Arena in Hillsdale, Mich. Ferris will have nearly a two and a half week layoff by the time the Porreco Cup gets underway.
* Leading The Way: FSU’s Justin Keenan averaged 25 points and seven boards as the Bulldogs split their two-game road trip at Findlay and Hillsdale. Keenan’s averaged included a season-high 32 points and nine rebounds at Hillsdale. He also had a team-high 18 points and five boards in the setback at Findlay. The Preseason All-America honoree converted 16-of-23 (69.6%) field goal attempts in the two games and was 18-of-28 (.643) at the free throw stripe in pacing the Bulldogs. Keenan also made his 400th career made free throw in the victory at Hillsdale. He currently is averaging a team-high 19.3 points per game this season.
* The Records: Ferris State (4-4, 4-1 GLIAC) has won four of its last five games to date this year. ???FSU 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.
Taylor, an NAIA member, holds a 7-5 overall record, but has three remaining games between Dec. 19 and 22 prior to facing FSU. The Trojans are 0-3 to date in Mid-Central Conference (MCC) action.
Gannon, a former GLIAC member, is 1-3 overall with two non-league games still to play on Dec. 19 and 22. The Knights will start Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) play after the Porreco Cup.
Seton Hill, a West Virignia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) member, is 3-2 overall with a game to play on Dec. 21 at home versus Indiana (Pa.) prior to facing Gannon.
* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 110-112 (.495) – (3-4-0 vs. GU). 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.
Taylor – Paul Patterson, 31st season at Taylor. He entered the year with a record of 667-318 (.677) to go with 15 conference championships and 14 NAIA National Tournament berths. He is an NAIA Hall of Famer.
Gannon – John T. Reilly, 5th season at Gannon. Reilly has guided the Knights to back-to-back NCAA Tournament bids, including an Elite Eight showing last season.
Seton Hill – Tony Morocco, 7th season at Seton Hill. Morocco is the first and only head coach in the program’s short history. He previously spent time as an assistant at several schools on various levels along with a stint in the CBA.
* GLIAC Start: Ferris’ 3-0 league start this year prior to last week’s trip was the program’s best since winning seven-straight to open the 2005-06 campaign en route to a NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance. FSU’s best start ever came in 1988-89 when the Bulldogs finished unbeaten (16-0) in league action.
* Stellar Defense: Ferris’ 26-point victory over GVSU (Nov. 30) was its most decisive win over the Lakers since recording a 111-79 home win on Feb. 11, 1970, and the second-largest ever. The 41 points allowed by FSU were the fewest the Lakers have ever scored versus FSU and the fewest allowed by Ferris against any opponent since 1989-90.
* Looking At Taylor: An NAIA member, Taylor holds a 7-5 overall record, but has three remaining games between Dec. 19 and 22 prior to facing FSU. The Trojans are 0-3 to date in Mid-Central Conference (MCC) action. Head coach Paul Patterson’s team had its worst season in his 30-year tenure last campaign when they finished 11-20 overall. Freshman guard Casey Coons in the team’s leading scorer (15.9 ppg.) to date this season. Currently, the Trojans have lost three of their last four contests heading into the three-game stretch prior to the Porreco Cup.
* Looking At Gannon: A former GLIAC member, tournament host Gannon is 1-3 overall with two non-league games still to play on Dec. 19 and 22. The Knights will start Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) play after the Porreco Cup. They’ve made back-to-back NCAA Division II Tournament appearances under head coach John T. Reilly, including an Elite Eight showing a year ago. None of the current players on Gannon’s roster who’ve played more than one game are averaging in double figures this season. Six seniors were lost to graduation from last year’s NCAA-II Tournament Team. Gannon formerly was a member of the GLIAC until departing for the PSAC prior to the 2008-09 campaign.
* Looking At Seton Hill: A West Virignia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) member, Seton Hill is 3-2 overall with a game to play on Dec. 21 prior to facing Gannon. This is the Griffins second-year as a full-fledged WVIAC member after transitioning to Division II two years ago. They won 10 games last year and were 7-13 in league play under head coach Tony Morocco, who is in his seventh season and is the first and only coach the Griffins have ever had in their short existence.
* Series Information: Ferris will square off against Taylor for the ninth time in hte Porreco Cup, but it will be the first meeting since the 1987-88 season when the Bulldogs posted a 90-66 triumph. The series’ originally began in 1961-62 with Taylor winning 99-94. Taylor took three of the first four series’ matchups, but Ferris has won three of the last four to date ......... FSU has never faced Seton Hill in men’s basketball action ........... The Bulldogs are 4-9 all-time versus Gannon and suffered a 75-61 home setback in the most recent game against the Knights two years ago (2007-08) at Big Rapids. Gannon has won eight of the last 10 series’ meetings and FSU head coach Bill Sall holds a 2-5 career coaching mark versus GU.
* Back To The Porreco Cup: Ferris State also took part in the Porreco Cup during the 2003-04 season, but lost both games that year at the Hammermill Center. FSU fell to Cheyney (Pa.) in its opening game (12/29/03) of the event by a 90-70 count and then suffered a 88-84 loss in overtime to Glenville State (W.Va.) during the consolation game the next night (12/30/03). The two losses were part of FSU’s 0-10 non-league record in 2003-04. However, Ferris went on to post a 14-4 mark in GLIAC play en route to winning the first of two back-to-back GLIAC North Division titles in head coach Bill Sall’s second season at the FSU helm. Former standout guard Willie Thomas paced the Bulldogs with a team-high 25 points against Cheyney while Carlton Epps tallied 24 points to lead the way against Glenville State. FSU led at halftime both nights.
* 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.
* Welcome Back: Ferris 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).
* 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.
* Two Make Debut: The Bulldogs have utilized only two new players in the lineup thus far, 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 105-104 (.502) 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: FSU’s Darien Gay is two points shy of scoring his 600th career point. He climbed into 10th place on the school’s career assists list versus Tiffin (Dec. 5) and currently has 258 career assists ....... Junior forward Lou Williams presently has 73 career blocked shots and has moved into fourth place on the school’s all-time chart ..... Senior guard Josh Young needs 36 points to garner his 500th career point ....... Sophomore guard Dontae Molden scored his 200th career point in the loss at Findlay.
* Hillsdale & Findlay Notes: The victory at Hillsdale helped the Bulldogs snap a four-game series' losing streak to the Chargers. FSU has now won six of the last 10 meetings overall ..... Darien Gay chipped in 20 points against the Chargers to go with Justin Keenan’s game-high 32 points ........ The Bulldogs finished with only three assists in the game at Findlay ......... The Findlay victory represented its 14th win in the last 15 series' meetings and the Oilers picked up their 78th consecutive regular season home victory along with improving to 108-2 in the last seven years at Croy Gymnasium.
* 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 (10/29) at Greenville High School and the fourth in this year’s triumph at Calvin (11/10/09).
* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs return home and will resume GLIAC play on Thursday, Jan. 7, versus Lake Superior State at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST). FSU then takes on Saginaw Valley State in the “Basketball Bonanza” on Saturday, Jan. 9, with a 5 p.m. (EST) start time scheduled for the contest. In addition to the FSU-SVSU men’s and women’s games, the “Basketball Bonanza” quadruple header will also include both local boys and girls high school games between Big Rapids and Chippewa Hills.
* Statistics Notes: Ferris ranked 256th last season out of 270 NCAA Division II teams listed in fouls per game as the Bulldogs averaged 22.2 personal fouls per contest. Presently this year, FSU is averaging 20.3 fouls per game .......... This season, the Bulldogs currently rank 20th nationally out of 270 schools in three-point field goal percentage defense (26.5%) .......... FSU’s Justin Keenan concluded the 2008-09 season ranked 24th nationally in scoring (20.2 ppg.) at the NCAA Division II level. Presently this year, he’s listed 62nd nationally (19.3 ppg.) as of Dec. 13 games.
* GLIAC Statistics: Ferris is second in the GLIAC to date in both three-point percentage (38.1%) and three-point percentage defense (26.5%) ....... FSU ranks third in scoring offense (72.8 ppg.), field goal percentage (46.2%) and assists (13.9 apg.) for all games ....... Justin Keenan is presently fifth in the league in scoring (19.3 ppg.) along with second in field goal percentage (55.4%) ....... Darien Gay leads the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.57) while Lou Williams is second in blocked shots (1.4 bpg.).
* 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.
* 1,000 Point Scorer: FSU’s Justin Keenan was honored prior to FSU’s conference opener against Grand Valley State (Nov. 30) for becoming the 26th player in school history to notch his 1,000th career point in the season opener at Lewis (Nov. 15). He also grabbed his 400th career board in the same game and presently owns career totals of 1,139 points along with 439 rebounds in 63 outings.
* Back In Town: Two of Ferris’ coaches returned to Hillsdale for last Saturday’s game after playing key roles in the Charger program prior to their arrival at FSU. With the win, Ferris head coach Bill Sall improved to 6-5 in his head coaching career against Hillsdale where he served as a Charger assistant coach from 1998-02. He helped the Chargers to a 72-41 (.637) overall record and two consecutive (2001-02) NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tourney appearances during his stint at HC where he worked under Ed Douma, who is currently midst his first season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs. Douma served as HC’s head coach for nine years until 2007.
* Bulldog Notes: Ferris has posted 38 winning campaigns and 44 non-losing seasons in its previous 81 seasons ........ FSU will play a total of 11 regular-season home games this campaign inside Jim Wink Arena ....... The Bulldogs own a current 66-59 (.528) overall record in Jim Wink Arena, which opened in the 1999-00 season. This year marks the team’s 11th season in the 2,400-seat facility ...... Justin Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in all eight games this season and 57 of 60 career outings. He’s tallied 10 points or more in 36 of his last 37 contests ....... Justin Keenan made his 400th career free throw in FSU’s last game at Hillsdale. His 32 points was one shy of matching his personal career-high of 33 points scored last year (11/25/08) in a home win over Olivet .... FSU’s trip to Findlay and Hillsdale began a stretch in which the Bulldogs play nine of 11 games away from home from Dec. 10-Jan. 23.
* 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 for the second-straight year. 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 61 career contests to date, Keenan has recorded 1,139 points and 439 rebounds while starting 60 games. His 408 made free throws (408-541) currently ranks sixth on the school's career leaders list.
* A Familiar Foe: FSU senior guard Jon Yeazel faced a familiar foe in Central Michigan (Nov. 16). 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). His current .436 career three-point percentage is third-best in school history.
* 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.