Men's BB Notes: St. Joseph's (Nov. 21)

Darien Gay & the Bulldogs visit St. Joseph's on Saturday (Photo by Rob Bentley)
Darien Gay & the Bulldogs visit St. Joseph's on Saturday (Photo by Rob Bentley)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State University men’s basketball team continues its season opening three-game road swing with a non-conference outing on Saturday, Nov. 21, at St. Joseph’s (Ind.). Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (CT) in the Richard F. Scharf Alumni Fieldhouse in Rensselaer, Ind.

* Free Admission: St. Joseph’s will offer free admission to this Saturday’s contest in exchange for donating a non-perishable food item at the door. The same offer will also apply to the Pumas women’s basketball contest versus St. Francis (Ind.), which tips off prior to the men’s outing at 1 p.m.

* Media Coverage: There will be no local radio or internet coverage available for Saturday’s outing. St. Joseph’s is slated to provide free live internet statistics for the game. Please visit FSU’s Athletics Website at to find links for all available coverage in the “upcoming events” tab.

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

* This Past Week: Ferris State opened the 2009-10 season with a pair of non-conference road setbacks this past week. The Bulldogs suffered a narrow 65-60 loss at regional foe Lewis (Ill.) in Sunday’s (Nov. 15) season opener at Romeoville, Ill. FSU then dropped a 82-69 decision at NCAA Division I Central Michigan on Monday (Nov. 16) evening in CMU’s Rose Center at Mount Pleasant, Mich. Ferris had the ball with the score tied and only one minute to play at Lewis in a contest that went back and forth the entire night. Senior guard Austin Randel paced the Bulldogs with 19 points and junior forward/center Justin Keenan chipped in 15 as two Bulldog players reached double-figure scoring. Senior guard Jon Yeazel narrowly missed reaching double-digits with nine points. In the game at CMU, Ferris built a nine-point first half lead before the Chippewas battled back. Junior guard Darien Gay kept the Bulldogs in the contest for much of the night as he tallied a game-high 26 points and hit eight-of-nine three-point tries in the outing. The Bulldogs also received 15 points from Keenan, who was doubled and tripled most of the game by the bigger Chippewa lineup. A former CMU transifer, Yeazel had a double-double effort against his former team with 13 points and a game-best 15 rebounds, including 12 defensive boards.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs are idle after Saturday’s game until Monday, Nov. 30, when archrival Grand Valley State comes to town for the GLIAC and home opener at Wink Arena. Tipoff is at 8 p.m. (ET).

* The Records: Ferris State (0-2, 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. St. Joseph’s finished the 2008-09 season with a 15-13 overall record and was 8-10 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action, placing fifth in the league’s East Division.

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 8th season, 106-110 (.491) – (1-6-0 vs. St. Joseph’s). 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.

St. Joseph’s – Richard Davis (Ashland, 2001), 4th season, 51-37 (.580). A former three-year starter and assistant coach at Ashland, Davis was promoted to the St. Joseph’s helm after two years as the program’s assistant coach in 2006. He led the Pumas to the NCAA-II Tournament in 2007-08 and the squad has made three consecutive GLVC Tourney bids under his watch.

* Welcome Back: Ferris State 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). 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.

* 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 1,015 points along with 401 rebounds in 57 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.

* Looking At St. Joseph’s: The Pumas inished the 2008-09 season with a 15-13 overall record and was 8-10 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action, placing fifth in the league’s East Division. Fourth-year head coach Richard Davis’ squad opened the 2009-10 campaign with a pair of wins this past week (Nov. 15-16) as the Pumas topped Point Park (125-98) and host Lake Erie (93-67) to win the Lake Erie College Tipoff Tournament. Phillip Collins scored a team-high 23 points in the win over Point Park while Mark Lake netted 17 points versus Lake Erie as both were chosen as All-Tournament Team selections. SJC was picked to finish third in the GLVC North Division this campaign.

* Series Information: The Pumas own a 10-2 series’ edge over FSU entering Saturday’s game and beat the Bulldogs 78-63 last season (11/20/08) at Big Rapids, Mich. FSU’s Bill Sall is 1-6 versus SJC to date in his head coaching career. In the most recent meeting at the Scharf Alumni Fieldhouse, St. Joseph’s earned a 90-74 triumph over FSU in the 2007-08 campaign (12/17/07). The Bulldogs also lost a 74-69 decision to Saint Joseph’s in the 2005-06 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament Quarterfinals (3/11/06) hosted by the Pumas in Rensselaer.

* 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.

* 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.

* Two Make Debut: The Bulldogs have utilized only two new players in the three exhibition games and two 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 101-102 (.498) 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 Josh Young notched his 400th career point at CMU after ranking second among the squad’s scoring leaders at 14.2 points per game last year ....... Senior guard Austin Randel needs a single point to notch his 200th point. 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.

* Tough Openers: The Bulldogs dropped to 40-42 all-time on opening day with the loss at Lewis and have now lost 10 of their last 14 season openers to date. In 2000-01, Ferris toppled NCAA-I Oakland (11/21/00) 75-70 on opening day for its first opening day road victory since the 1987-88 campaign and one of only two FSU season-opening road wins in the last 20 years along with ‘02-03.

* Notes From CMU Game: Central Michigan improved to 65-21 all-time versus FSU by beating the Bulldogs for the fifth time in the last 11 meetings ........ Bulldog junior guard Matt DeHart came off the bench to score six points and grab six rebounds in 19 minutes of action while helping fill Austin Randel’s void ...... FSU utilized nine different players in the contest ......... The announced attendance was 1,705 with a good contingent of Bulldog fans on hand at the Rose Center ....... The lead changed hands seven times in the game ...... Darien Gay hit four three-pointers in each half for Ferris and was nine-of-11 overall from the floor ........ Monday’s meeting 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 after missing the season opener due to injury.

* 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. 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 57 career contests to date, Keenan has recorded 1,015 points and 401 rebounds while starting 54 games. His 357 made free throws (357-464) 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).

* 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.