November 1, 2009

Men's Basketball Game Notes: Dayton (Nov. 3)

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* The Game: The Ferris State University men’s basketball team takes the floor for the second time with an exhibition game against the NCAA Division I Dayton Flyers on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (EST).

* Ticket Information: Tickets will be available prior to the contest or can be purchased in advance. For more information, please call the UD Athletics Ticket Office at (937) 229-4433 or visit www.daytonflyers.com and look for ticket information. Tickets can also be purchased via www.ticketmaster.com.

* Media Coverage: Tuesday’s game will be carried live locally by WBRN (1460 AM & 107.7 FM) with Rob Bentley handling the play-by-play duties. Both live internet statistics and live game audio will be provided by Dayton and links will be available at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.  A free live video webcast will also be offered.

* Follow On Twitter: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Tuesday’s contest and all other FSU games this year via Twitter. Please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics 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 opened its 2009-10 exhibition slate by beating Aquinas 66-56 in a preseason tilt last Thursday (Oct. 29) evening 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 (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) pacing the Bulldogs with a game-high 17 points and 14 rebounds. Both junior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) and senior guard Austin Randel (Lake City/McBain) chipped in 12 points apiece while sophomore guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) totaled 11 points.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs have one final exhibition game as they will visit longtime West Michigan rival and current NCAA Division III member Calvin on Tuesday, Nov. 10. Tipoff at Calvin’s new Van Noord Arena is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) in Grand Rapids as FSU head coach Bill Sall takes on his alma mater in a preseason matchup.

* 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. Dayton finished the 2008-09 season with an impressive 27-8 overall record and was 11-5 in Atlantic 10 Conference play. The Flyers advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament and posted a 68-60 win over West Virginia in round one before falling to Kansas 60-43 in the second round.

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 106-108 (.495) – (0-0-0 vs. Dayton). 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. Dayton – Brian Gregory (Oakland, 1990), 7th season, 125-68-0 (.648) – (0-0-0 vs. Ferris State). The former Michigan State associate head coach has led the Flyers to two NCAA Tournaments and the NIT quarterfinals since taking over the program. He was a three-time all-conference selection as a player at Oakland University, which was then a NCAA Division II member of the GLIAC.

* Series Information: The Bulldogs and Flyers have never faced either other before heading into Tuesday’s contest. This will be the first-ever meeting in either regular-season or exhibition play.

* 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.

* Last D1 Exhibition: Ferris squared off against the Michigan Wolverines in a historic first-ever meeting between the two teams in its most recent exhibition play against a Division I school two years ago (11/1/07), but dropped a 78-40 decision at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines jumped out to a 37-18 halftime advantage en route to the win. UM limited FSU to a 26.3% shooting effort from the floor and converted 10-of-28 (35.7%) three-point tries in the season-opening triumph. A crowd of 7,489 watch the first-ever matchup between the two schools in FSU's 82-year history of men's basketball. The contest also marked the debut for first-year Michigan head coach John Beilein, who previously led West Virginia to four consecutive postseason berths prior to arriving in Ann Arbor.

* Against D1 Competition: FSU has played several other Division I foes under head coach Bill Sall .......... 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.

* Three-Straight Wins: Ferris has won each of its last three exhibition games following last Thursday’s neutral site triumph against Aquinas. 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.

* FSU Picked Second: Ferris State was picked to finish second in the 2009-10 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll announced last week 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 last Thursday’s exhibition 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 Flyers: Dayton is ranked in both of the major college preseason polls, coming in 21st by the Associated Press and 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. It is the first time since the 1967-68 season Dayton has been ranked in a major preseason poll ..... The preseason favorite in the Atlantic 10 Conference, Dayton returns four starters and 10 of its top 11 scorers from last year's 27-8 team that reached the NCAA Second Round ....... The Flyer returnees include all four players who earned Atlantic 10 postseason honors in 2008-09: Chris Wright, Marcus Johnson, London Warren and Chris Johnson .... Wright was also named Preseason First Team All-Atlantic 10, Marcus Johnson to the A-10 preseason second team, and Warren to the preseason All-Defensive Team ....... Wright, who is on the prestigious John Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 and Naismith Trophy Watch Lists, was First Team NABC All-District last year and led Dayton in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (6.6) with a school single-season record for dunks (54).

* About UD Arena: Built in 1969, the University of Dayton Arena has hosted NCAA tournament events in 23 of its 40 years since opening its doors for the 1969-70 season. The NCAA games awarded through 2013 will make the University of Dayton Arena the most-used tournament venue in NCAA history. To date, UD Arena has hosted 82 NCAA men's tournament games.

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