Men's BB Notes: GVSU (Nov. 30)

FSU's Josh Young and the Bulldogs host GVSU On "Big Monday" (Pioneer Photo)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State University men’s basketball team hosts nationally-ranked archrival Grand Valley State in its 2009-10 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) opener on Monday, Nov. 30, at FSU’s Jim Wink Arena. The game will also serve as the squad’s home opener with the “Big Monday” tipoff set for 8 p.m. (EST) in Big Rapids.

* Ticket Info: Tickets for Monday's men’s and women’s doubleheader against Grand Valley State will be available at the door starting one hour prior to the women’s tipoff. All single-game general admission ticket prices are $7. FSU students are admitted free with ID. For more info on home ticket sales, please call the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.

* Game Promotions: Free t-shirts will be given to the first 100 students in attendance and a special "dance-off" competition is scheduled to take place at halftime of the men's game. The dance contest is open to anyone and prizes include 10 free tanning sessions at Tan Lines, a $20 gift card to Meijer, a $25 gift card to the Blue Cow and first prize being awarded free cover to The Gate for a full year.

* Media Coverage: The game will be carried live by local radio station WBRN (1460 AM & 107.7 FM) with Jason DaDay providing the play-by-play coverage. A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast via B2 Networks will also be available along with live internet statistics. Please visit FSU’s Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com to find links for all available coverage in the “upcoming events” tab.

* Follow On Twitter: Bulldog fans can follow all FSU games this year via Twitter. To access the service, please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* The Last Game: The road proved tough again for the Bulldogs in their most recent outing last Saturday (Nov. 21) in a 98-82 non-conference setback at St. Joseph’s (Ind.) in Rensselaer, Ind. The loss was the third-straight on the road for the Bulldogs, who trailed the Pumas 43-38 at halftime before being outscored 55-44 over the final 20 minutes. The Pumas forced 22 Bulldog turnovers and sank seven-of-23 (30.4%) three-point tries to offset a 43-30 rebounding edge for FSU. St. Joseph’s increased its lead to 11 points only five minutes into the final half and FSU could not get closer than five the rest of the way. The setback came despite a game-high 25 points on nine-of-11 shooting from senior guard Jon Yeazel for FSU. Junior forward/center Justin Keenan added 22 points and nine rebounds in his most productive game of the campaign to date. Senior guard Josh Young totaled 11 points with seven rebounds while junior forward Lou Williams notched a game-best 10 rebounds.

* The Records: Ferris State (0-3, 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.

Grand Valley State (2-1, 0-0 GLIAC) finished the 2008-09 season with a 21-10 overall record and was 14-8 in GLIAC action, placing second in the league’s North Division. The Lakers also made their fourth-straight NCAA-II Tournament appearance last season and are currently ranked 18th nationally in the NABC Division II Coaches Poll (as of Nov. 24).

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 106-111 (.488) – (6-12-0 vs. GVSU). 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.

Grand Valley State – Ric Wesley (Central Michigan, 1980), 5th season, 133-31 (.811). Wesley spent five years as associate head coach at Southwest Missouri State before taking over at GVSU. He also spent time as a NCAA-I assistant at Lamar and Iowa State. Wesley’s directed GVSU to four national tourney bids, two Elite Eight showings and three league titles in his tenure.

* 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.

* Keenan Tops Mark:
FSU’s Justin Keenan became the 26th player in school history to notch his 1,000th career point in the season opener at Lewis. He also grabbed his 400th career board in the game and presently owns career totals of 1,037 points along with 410 rebounds in 58 outings. He’s the fifth FSU player in the eight-year enture of head coach Bill Sall to top the 1,000 career points mark.

* 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).

* Large Crowds For Rivalry: Two years ago (2/23/08), the Bulldogs drew a modern Wink Arena record crowd of 2,430 fans for the regular-season men's basketball finale against the Lakers, which was also played in front of the first-ever live television audience from the arena. The official women's halftime attendance of 1,640 fans for the "Fill The Wink" contest also represented the largest crowd ever to watch the FSU women play in the 2,400-seat facility. Ferris has broke its own men's basketball arena attendance mark against GVSU three of the last four seasons and four of the top six crowds in the building's history have came against Grand Valley State. The Bulldogs have had more than 2,000 fans for the contest versus the Lakers two of the last three years.

* 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).

* FSU Falls At Dayton: Ferris’ lone exhibition loss this year came as the Bulldogs battled the preseason nationally-ranked NCAA Division I Dayton Flyers tough for most of the night, but came out on the short end of a 88-73 exhibition decision in its second preseason outing on Nov. 3 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 paced Ferris with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Austin Randel added 22 points and junior guard Darien Gay chipped in with 10 points for FSU.

* Looking At GVSU: The Lakers finished the 2008-09 season with a 21-10 overall record and were 14-8 in GLIAC action, placing second in the league’s North Division. The Lakers also made their fourth-straight NCAA-II Tournament appearance last season under head coach Ric Wesley. GVSU was picked to finish first in this year’s GLIAC North poll and currently owns a 2-1 overall mark to date this season after a 79-69 non-league road win at St. Joseph’s (Ind.) on Tuesday (Nov. 24). Junior guard/forward Justin Ringler, who’s from Reed City, paces the Lakers in scoring with an average of 20.0 points per game to date. GVSU is currently ranked 18th nationally.

* Series Information: Ferris holds a 47-45 advantage heading into Monday’s 93rd meeting with GVSU. The Lakers won two of three games versus Ferris last season, including a 67-49 victory in the GLIAC Tourney Quarterfinals (3/3/09) at Allendale. FSU won last year’s game (1/12/09) in Big Rapids by a 74-67 count. The Lakers had won eight-straight series’ meetings prior to last year’s setback at Wink Arena and also recorded a 72-62 regular-seson triumph last year (12/1/08) at Allendale, Mich. FSU has won six of the last 16 series’ contests overall. Prior to its win in the most recent game, Ferris’ last series’ victory had came nearly three years before (12/8/05) with a 79-63 triumph on its home floor.

* 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.

* 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 three exhibition games and three regular-season contests 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 101-103 (.495) 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:
Senior guard Austin Randel notched his 200th point in the St. Joseph’s game. He averaged 20.7 points per game in 2007-08 at NCAA-II North Greenville (S.C.) before transferring to FSU. Randel tallied 19 points in the opener at Lewis, but was injured and did not play at Central Michigan before returning versus the Pumas ....... Junior forward Lou Williams has 68 career blocked shots to date and needs four more to move into fourth place on the school’s all-time chart.

* Home Openers: The Bulldogs have won five of their last seven home openers at Wink Arena although the mark includes setbacks in each of the last two years. Last campaign (11/20/08), FSU fell to St. Joseph’s 78-63 in its initial home contest at Wink Arena. The Bulldogs’ most recent victory in a home opener came during the 2006-07 season (11/25) with a 57-52 triumph over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. The Bulldogs are 5-2 to date in their first home game of a season under head coach Bill Sall. Monday’s game will represent the first time the Bulldogs’ home opener has also served as a league opener under Sall.

* League Openers: Ferris has won three of its last four league openers heading into Monday’s matchup with the lone loss coming last year (12/1/08) at GVSU by a 72-62 count. Overall, FSU is 3-4 under Bill Sall in its first league game of the year, including a 2-2 mark in games at home.

* Bulldog Notes: This year’s game at Central Michigan (Nov. 16) represented the first regular-season matchup between the two teams since Dec. 3, 1990. It was also only the third official contest between the two schools since 1976 ..... Sophomore guard Dontae Molden saw his first action of the regular-season at CMU after missing the season opener due to an injury he suffered in the Dayton exhibition game ........ Ferris has posted 38 winning campaigns and 44 non-losing seasons in its previous 81 seasons ........ FSU will play 11 regular-season home games this campaign inside Jim Wink Arena ....... The Bulldogs own a current 65-59 (.524) 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 ...... FSU is 5-5 all-time to date versus Grand Valley State in the current Wink Arena.

* 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 58 career contests to date, Keenan has recorded 1,037 points and 410 rebounds while starting 55 games. His 363 made free throws (363-475) 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. 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 .427 career three-point percentage is fourth-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.

* The Last Meeting: Fourth-seeded Grand Valley State took advantage of the homecourt edge and poor shooting from Ferris State to top the Bulldogs 67-49 in the quarterfinal round of the GLIAC Tournament in the most recent game played between the two teams last year (3/3/09) at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale, Mich. The Bulldogs and Lakers were tied at 23 points apiece at halftime, but GVSU used a strong second-half showing to outscore FSU 44-26 over the final 20 minutes. FSU concluded the season with a 14-14 overall record as the Lakers notched their 20th win of the year to advance to the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals. The Bulldogs were paced by Justin Keenan, who had a team-high 19 points and nine rebounds while playing 30 minutes in the contest. GVSU was led by Pete Trammell with 21 points and eight rebounds while Justin Ringler tallied 12 points and five boards. Ferris shot only 23% (12-52) for the game and had 12 turnovers in the setback. GVSU shot 43% (18-42) in the contest after connecting on 55% of its second-half tries. Ferris State connected on only two-of-16 (12.5%) three-point tries, but was 23-of-33 (69.7%) at the free throw line. Meanwhile, GVSU hit five-of-12 (41.7%) three-pointers and 26-of-38 (68.4%) free throws. The win was GVSU's second over the Bulldogs on the season after the rivals split their two-regular season meetings with each winnning on its home floor. The Bulldogs owned a 40-37 rebounding edge. However, the Lakers' reserves outscored the Bulldogs' bench by a 23-9 count for the contest. Ferris had 12 turnovers and GVSU totaled 13 miscues in the game. FSU was whistled for 26 fouls in the contest as two Bulldog players fouled out of the game. FSU also dropped to 0-4 all-time in GLIAC Tournament play against the Lakers. Ferris was making its 10th tournament appearance and fourth in the last five years after missing the event in 2007-08.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs continue a three-game homestand this week with a pair of league games against Ashland on Thursday (Dec. 3) and Tiffin on Saturday (Dec. 5) at Wink Arena. Game times are set for 8 p.m. (ET) on Thursday with Saturday’s outing starting at 2 p.m. (ET).

* New Wink Arena Look: Fans attending Monday’s men’s basketball home opener will have a chance to watch the Bulldogs play their first contest at Wink Arena following the facility's most recent renovation this past spring. The gym floor was completely sanded down, refurbished and painted with a new design and color corresponding with the university's graphic identity. The new look in Wink Arena, which has been home to both the Bulldog men's and women's basketball programs since the 1999-00 season, now includes an extra large "Bulldog" head in the center of the floor replacing the former basketball design found in the center circle. Additional wording includes both the GLIAC logo and the "Wink Arena" designation in two seperate places. The floor is outlined in Ferris' official crimson color with gold wording. In addition, the lane found under both hoops now features a light open-colored appearance replacing the old maroon background. The women's three-point line maintains its black appearance with the men's line in crimson. The Ferris signature line remains on both baselines.

* B2 Video Webcasts:
A live broadband video and audio webcast will be available via B2 Networks for all of FSU’s home games and selected road contests this season. The cost is $7 per game and includes live video along with a radio audio feed. To access the service or obtain more info, please visit the FSU Athletics Website at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.

* Live Internet Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2009-10 Ferris State home games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com and click the “Live Stats” icon to access.

* GLIAC Games On Air: All 22 of FSU’s 2009-10 league games are tentatively slated to be carried live by local radio station WBRN (News Talk 1460 AM or 107.7 FM). FSU Associate Athletics Communications Director Rob Bentley will once again call the play-by-play action on the road while Jason DaDay will be the on-air talent for home games. The audio from road contests can also be accessed live via the internet by clicking on the Bulldog Athletics Webcasts icon at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.

* On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics’ official web site can be found at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com. The site features information on all FSU varsity programs including rosters, stats and more.

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