Men's BB Notes: GLIAC Semifinals/Finals

Senior guard Jon Yeazel & the Bulldogs take on Findlay in the GLIAC Semifinals this Friday (Photo by Rob Bentley)

Complete Game Notes: Click Here For PDF Version

Friday, March 5
Men's Basketball at Findlay, 6 p.m.

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* The Game: The Ferris State men’s basketball team has advanced to the 2010 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament Semifinals and will face defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay on Friday, March 5, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. (EST) at Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio. The winner advances into Saturday’s (March 6) league tournament title game at 7 p.m. (EST).

* Ticket Info: Tickets are $10 (reserved), $8 (general admission) and $5 (college/students). They will be sold at the door starting one hour prior to game time. A limited number of tickets will be held for FSU fans. Please call (419) 434-6684 for more information.

* Media Coverage: Friday’s game and Saturday’s title contest (if neccesary) will be carried live locally on WBRN 1460 AM and 107.7 FM with Rob Bentley providing the broadcast coverage. B2 Networks will provide a live video pay-per-view webcast for all tournament games and live internet statistics will be available. 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 also follow all FSU postseason games via Twitter. To access the service, visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* Tourney Notes: The Bulldogs are seeded fourth and the Oilers first entering the semifinal round ........ Second-seeded Grand Valley State will meet third-seeded Hillsdale in the 8 p.m. (EST) nightcap with the two winners squaring off Saturday (March 6) in the 7 p.m. (EST) title contest ...... Note: More information on possible championship game opponents can be found on page four of this release.

* What’s At Stake: The eventual tournament champion will receive the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Men’s Basketball Tournament slated for March 13-16 at a site to be determined. Eight teams, including six at-large squads, will participate in the regional with the official announcement set to be released late Sunday (March 7) evening.

* Quarterfinal Results: The Bulldogs, who were seeded fifth overall going into Tuesday’s (March 2) quarterfinals, were the only lower seeded team to pull out a road win as FSU defeated Saginaw Valley State 65-59 in University Center, Mich. UF advanced to the semifinals with a 100-90 triumph over Ashland on Tuesday in Findlay, Ohio. In the other quarterfinal games, GVSU beat Wayne State 47-44 at home in Allendale while Hillsdale posted a 78-68 win over Lake Superior State at Hillsdale, Mich.

* The Records: Ferris State (16-12, 13-9 GLIAC) has won 10 of its last 15 games to date this season, but presently lost five of its last seven to date. 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.

Findlay holds a 22-6 mark and won the GLIAC South Division title with a league-best 17-5 conference record. The Oilers claimed the 2008-09 NCAA Division II National Championship with a perfect 36-0 ledger.

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 122-119 (.506) – (2-10-0 vs. UF). 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.

Findlay – Ron Niekamp, 25th year at UF. Niekamp has guided the Oilers to eight GLIAC South titles since 1999 and led UF to a national title last campaign while earning national Coach of the Year honors. His teams have posted 24-straight winning seasons to date. He also won 208 games as a prep coach before Findlay.

* Third Meeting This Year: Friday’s meeting will be FSU’s third against Findlay this season. The Oilers posted an impressive 90-62 home win at Croy Gymansium in the first meeting (Dec. 10). However, FSU responded with a 86-77 victory at Wink Arena in early February (Feb. 6) behind a personal career-high 35 points from junior forward/center Justin Keenan. This year's home win was only FSU's second against the Oilers in the last 45 years.

* FSU Tourney Notebook: The Bulldog men, who are making their 11th all-time tournament appearance, own a 8-12 mark in the league’s annual postseason event ..... FSU will be making its first appearance in the semifinals since 2005-06 when the Bulldogs upset Findlay 64-62 in the second round at Allendale, Mich. The Bulldogs then dropped an 80-58 decision in the final contest (3/3/06) to host Grand Valley State ......... Ferris captured the 1997-98 league tourney title and is making its fifth tourney appearance in the last six years, including a second-straight berth ...... FSU holds a 4-5 overall mark to date in GLIAC Tourney play under head coach Bill Sall .......... The Bulldogs had dropped each of their last two GLIAC Tourney quarterfinal games in 2007 and 2009 at Grand Valley State prior to Tuesday’s win at Saginaw Valley State ..... FSU is 3-4 all-time in GLIAC Tournament Semifinal games.

* Looking At Findlay: Findlay holds a 22-6 overall record to date this year after winning the NCAA Division II National Championship last season with a 36-0 mark. The Oilers claimed their ninth GLIAC South title this season since 1999 despite losing three starters from a year ago. Head coach Ron Niekamp, who’s in his 25th season at the helm, has led the Oilers to NCAA Division II’s best winning percentage this decade (83.3%). Senior guard Marcus Parker was chosen as this year’s GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year and is one of three players in double digits at 15.1 points per game. Junior guard Nathan Hyde averages a team-best 17.8 points per contest. UF has now won eight of the last nine divisional crowns and four of the last six conference tournaments to date. Findlay has won six-straight games to date with two coming in overtime.

* Series Info vs Findlay: Findlay is presently 15-4 all-time against the Bulldogs and has won 14 of the last 16 series’ meetings. UF beat Ferris twice last season followed by a convincing 90-62 home win earlier this year (12/10) before the Bulldogs’ 86-77 triumph at Wink Arena (Feb. 6). The Oilers had claimed 10-straight wins in regular season play over the Bulldogs prior to the loss in Big Rapids. FSU’s last series’ win before this year’s victory came in the 2005-06 GLIAC Tournament Semifinals (3/3/06) by a 64-62 score in Allendale.

* Tough Place To Play: The Oilers have been particularly tough at Croy Gymnasium this decade. In the past seven years, the Oilers are a staggering 120-2 (.984) at home and currently own an 89-game regular-season homecourt winning streak. They have won 52 games overall in a row at home counting tournament play heading into Friday's game.

* FSU 65, SVSU 59: Ferris advanced into the semifinals of the 2010 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. 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 ....... The win 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 ........ The game featured 10 lead changes, but the score was tied only once in the contest ...... The contest was FSU's first-ever GLIAC Tournament game against SVSU, which was making its first berth since 1999 .... It was FSU’s first win at the Ryder Center since a 84-73 triumph on Jan. 31, 2007, as the Bulldogs had dropped four-straight games in the facility.

* The Last Meeting: Ferris State snapped a 10-game regular-season series’ losing streak as the Bulldogs toppled the defending NCAA Division II National Champions in the University of Findlay in the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 6 as the Bulldogs pulled out an exciting 86-77 triumph at Jim Wink Arena. The win, which ended Findlay's five-game overall series' streak, was also Ferris' first against the Oilers in the current Wink Arena as the Bulldogs had dropped all five previous tilts versus Findlay in the 11-year old facility. The triumph was only FSU's second victory in the series' during the last 45 years as the 2005-06 GLIAC Semifinal win had been its first over Findlay since 1964.

* GLIAC Tourney Play: Ferris State holds an all-time mark of 1-0 against Findlay in GLIAC Tournament play with the lone previous meeting coming in 2005-06 when FSU recorded a 64-62 triumph at the Grand Valley State Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Mich. ............... The Bulldogs are presently 0-4 all-time against rival Grand Valley State in GLIAC Tournament action with two of the meetings coming in the league championship game. Each of FSU’s last three tournament berths have ended with losses to the Lakers in the 2006, 2007 and 2009 tournaments ............. Ferris is 0-2 overall to date versus Hillsdale in league tournament action with the most recent result being a 87-85 Charger victory in the 1994-95 semifinals.

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