Men's Basketball Game Notes: Calvin (Nov. 10)

Senior Austin Randel and the Bulldogs visit Calvin after playing Dayton last week (Photo by Nate Tymes)
Senior Austin Randel and the Bulldogs visit Calvin after playing Dayton last week (Photo by Nate Tymes)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State University men’s basketball team visits Calvin for its final exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 10, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside the new Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.

* Ticket Information: Tickets will be available prior to the contest. For more information, please call Calvin Athletics Department at (616) 526-6037.

* Media Coverage: There will be no local Ferris media or radio coverage for Tuesday’s exhibition contest. Live internet statistics are tentatively slated to be provided for the game and a link will be available on FSU’s Athletics Website.  Calvin will also provide an audio webcast.  Please visit the FSU website at and click on the "upcoming events" scoreboard tab for direct links.

* Follow On Twitter: Bulldog basketball fans can follow Tuesday’s contest and all other FSU games this year via Twitter. To access the service, please visit to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 13,572. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich. FSU also plays NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

* Last Time Out: 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 last Tuesday (Nov. 3) evening 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 (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), a preseason NCAA Division II All-American, paced Ferris with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Austin Randel (Lake City/McBain) added 22 points and junior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) 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.

* Coming Up Next: Ferris tips 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.

* 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. Calvin finished the 2008-09 season with a 19-8 overall record and captured the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) crown with a 12-2 league mark.

* 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. Calvin – Kevin Vande Streek (Dordt, 1981), 14th season at Calvin, 20th season overall. Vande Streek was named the 1999-2000 Division III Coach of the Year by Basketball Times, DIII News and by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) after leading the Knights to a Division III National Championship.

* Series Information: Last season (11/11/08), the Bulldogs posted an 80-66 home win over Calvin in an exhibition game at FSU’s Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids. Overall, FSU and Calvin have squared off 82 times in men's basketball regular-season action with the Knights holding a commanding 65-17 series' advantage, but the Bulldogs registered a 78-64 road win in the last meeting nearly four years ago (11/22/05). The Bulldog men own a 3-2 regular-season record against the Knights under Bill Sall.

* Welcome Back: Ferris State welcomes back eight letterwinners this season from a year ago. Included in the total are two all-conference picks in junior forward/center Justin Keenan and junior guard Darien Gay. 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. He 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 campaign. He’s a two-time team MVP.

* 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 (Detroit/Pershing) totaled 11 points. The contest marked the return of Bulldog junior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) to his hometown for the game.

* Good Exhibition Mark: Ferris had won three consecutive exhibition games prior to last Tuesday’s 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.

* Sall vs Calvin: Last year’s exhibition win over Calvin in Big Rapids enabled FSU head coach Bill Sall to continue his recent success in the Ferris-Calvin series. 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 previous Calvin-Ferris regular-season meetings while emerging victorious 10 times. Sall 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. He helped guide FSU to a 2-1 ledger during his initial Bulldog coaching stint from 1995-98 and is currently 3-1 versus the Knights since returning as Ferris’ head coach in regular-season play.

* The Last Meeting: Three players reached double-figure scoring as Ferris State rolled to a 80-66 win over longtime West Michigan rival Calvin in last year’s exhibition (11/11/08) inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 48-31 halftime lead and never trailed in the final 30 minutes of the game while leading by as many as 25 points with 17 minutes to go in posting the convincing win. Ten of the 12 FSU players who played in the outing scored. Justin Keenan paced FSU with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

* FSU Picked Second: Ferris State was picked to finish second in the 2009-10 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll announced 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 divisional team. Keenan was a first-team all-league pick last season while Gay claimed All-GLIAC North Division Second Team kudos a year ago.

* 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.

* Season Opener: Ferris tips 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.

* 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 and will be the second game of a doubleheader with the Bulldog women facing the Lakers at 6 p.m. (ET).

* Two Make Debut: Two FSU players saw their first-ever action in a Bulldog uniform in the exhibition win against Aquinas, including freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) and senior guard/forward Jon Yeazel (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg). Sutherlin scored six points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked two shots in his debut. Yeazel is a former transfer from NCAA Division I Central Michigan who redshirted 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 Bulldog 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 will enter the regular-season needing only 15 points to become the 26th player in school history to register 1,000 career points. He’s only eight rebounds shy of notching his 400th career rebound as well.

* Looking At The Knights: Calvin finished the 2008-09 season with a 19-8 overall record and captured the MIAA crown with a 12-2 league mark. Head coach Kevin Vande Streek’s squad was selected as this year’s MIAA co-favorite along with Hope. Calvin returns two full-time starters and two part-time starters from its MIAA championship team of a year ago headlined by 6-9 senior center John Mantel, who garnered first team All-MIAA accolades after averaging 13.6 points and 7.3 rebounds a game. The Knights were listed 18th in the DIII News Top 25 Preseason Poll with Mantel being chosen as a Division III Preseason All-American.

* Van Noord Arena: The Van Noord Arena opened in January of 2009 and is part of the $50 million dollar Spoelhof Athletic Complex which features the Huizenga Tennis and Track Center, the Venema Aquatic Center, the Hoogenboom Health and Recreation Center and the Marian Hoogenboom Health Services. The air-conditioned Van Noord Arena seats approximately 5,000 people within 175,000 square feet of athletic and event-ready space.