Men's BB Game Notes: St. Joseph's (Nov. 15)

Men's BB Game Notes: St. Joseph's (Nov. 15)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State men's basketball team continues a season-opening three-game homestand by hosting regional foe St. Joseph's (Ind.) on Monday, Nov. 15, inside Jim Wink Arena.  Tipoff for the non-league tilt is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET).

* Ticket Info: Tickets for Monday's contest against the Pumas will be available at the door starting one hour prior to the contest. FSU students are admitted free with ID. For more information on home ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.

* Media Coverage: Monday's game is slated to be carried live locally in the Big Rapids area by Bulldog Radio (Charter TV Channel 98 in Mecosta County or Channel 21 on-campus). Both live internet statistics and a live audio/video pay-per-view webcast from America One (formerly B2 Networks) will also be offered.  All links will be available at (click on the "upcoming events" scoreboard tab).

* Follow On Twitter: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow Saturday's contest and all other FSU games this year via Twitter. Please visit to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* Last Season: FSU concluded the 2009-10 men's basketball campaign with a 16-13 overall record and the Bulldogs placed tied for second (13-9) in GLIAC North Division play. Additionally, FSU made its 11th GLIAC Tournament appearance last campaign, which was the program's fifth berth in the last six years.

* Last Time Out: A strong second half showing sparked the Ferris men's basketball team to a 91-69 victory over longtime West Michigan foe Calvin in the Bulldogs' 2010-11 season opener on Saturday (Nov. 13) evening at Wink Arena. The Bulldogs led throughout the contest, but held only a slim 47-42 lead at halftime before outscoring the Knights 44-27 in the final frame. Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) led FSU with a team-high 19 points on seven-of-13 shooting from the floor. He added five steals and four assists in pacing the Bulldogs. Gay was joined in double digits by senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), who added nine rebounds in 26 minutes.  A third senior, forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights), contributed 13 points and six boards off the bench while sophomore transfer Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) chipped in with 12 points in his first official contest at FSU.

* Important Note: Saturday's game counted as a regular-season contest for the Bulldogs, but was an exhibition game for Calvin due to varying NCAA rules between Divisions II and III.

* The Records: Ferris State (16-13, 13-9 GLIAC) won 10 of its last 16 games overall last season and reached the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournamet semifinals.  FSU previously recorded a 14-14 overall record during the 2008-09 season and placed third in the GLIAC North Division with a 12-10 league mark.
St. Joseph's
compiled a 20-12 overall record in 2009-10 and was 11-7 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action.  The Pumas captured the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Championship as the eighth seed to advance to the NCAA-II Elite Eight.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 9th season, 123-120 (.506) – (1-7-0 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), 5th season, 69-49 (.585). 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 four consecutive GLVC Tourney bids under his watch in addition to last year's NCAA-II Elite Eight showing.

* Series Information: The Pumas own a 11-2 series' edge over FSU entering Monday's game and beat the Bulldogs 98-82 last season (11/21/09) at Rensselaer, Ind. FSU's Bill Sall is 1-7 versus SJC to date in his head coaching career.  The Bulldogs also lost a 74-69 decision to nationally top-ranked Saint Joseph's in the 2005-06 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament Quarterfinals (3/11/06) hosted by the Pumas.

* Preseason National Player of The Year: A returning consensus NCAA Division II All-American, Ferris State senior center Justin Keenan was tabbed recently as the Division II Bulletin Preseason National Player of the Year for the 2010-11 campaign. The two-time All-GLIAC First Team honoree was the 2009-10 GLIAC Player of the Year after leading the league in scoring for the second consecutive campaign a year ago. A three-time team MVP, Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in 80 of 85 career outings. He's also tallied 10 points or more in 57 of his last 59 contests.

* Possible Breakthrough Team: The Bulldogs were listed as one of the nation's possible breakthrough teams for the 2010-11 campaign in The Sporting News Division II Preseason Top 10 poll.

* Important Fact: St. Joseph's was picked 19th in the 2010-11 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Preseason Poll announced last week.   SJC was also tabbed to finish first in the GLVC North Division Preseason Poll after sharing the divisional crown with Quincy (Ill.) a year ago.  They were also chosen 10th nationally in the preseason rankings by The Sporting News and D2 Bulletin.

* The Last Meeting: The road proved tough for Ferris last year as the Bulldogs suffered a 98-82 non-conference setback (11/20/09) to St. Joseph's (Ind.) in Rensselaer, Ind. The Bulldogs 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 five-point halftime 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 Ferris' Jon Yeazel. Justin Keenan added 22 points and nine boards.
* FSU Wins Exhibition Opener: Ferris opened its 2010-11 exhibition slate by beating Aquinas 69-39 in a preseason tilt (Oct. 28) at Grand Rapids, Mich. The visiting Bulldogs built a 15-point halftime advantage and opened the second half on a 15-4 run en route to the triumph inside Aquinas' new $12 million Sturrus Sports & Fitness Center, which opened last week. The Bulldogs limited the Saints to only 22.6% (12-53) shooting, including an 0-of-14 effort from beyond the three-point arc. Justin Keenan led FSU with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort.  Sophmore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) chipped in with 18 points.

* Narrow Loss At Indiana: The Bulldogs dropped a 78-65 overtime exhibition decision to the NCAA Division I Indiana Hoosiers last Monday night at IU's Assembly Hall in Bloomington (Ind.) after leading for the entire second half and nearly winning the contest as the final horn sounded. A potential game-winning shot from FSU junior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) at the buzzer in regulation was waved off after a replay review. Senior forward Justin Keenan finished the game with a team-high 21 points for FSU.  He was joined in double-digits by sophomore guard Kenny Brown with 18 points while Sanders provided a big contribution at both ends of the floor with nine points, a game-high 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.

* Sall vs. Calvin: FSU head coach Bill Sall continued his success in the Ferris-Calvin series with Saturday night's triumph. Sall, who was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American as a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90, has now been involved in 14 Calvin-Ferris regular-season meetings while emerging victorious 11 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 4-1 versus the Knights since returning as Ferris' head coach in regular-season play.

* Calvin Connection: In addition to FSU's Bill Sall, current Ferris volunteer assistant coach Ed Douma also lists Calvin as his alma mater and later spent part of his 33 years as a collegiate head coach for the Knights, whom he led to the NCAA-III National Championship in 1991-92.  Sall played for Douma at Calvin and later served as an assistant coach on his staff at the school.

* Notes From The Calvin Game: The win was only FSU's fifth victory in its last 15 season openers ....... The regular-season triumph was only Ferris' 18th against Calvin in more than 80 series' meetings .... An announced crowed of 552 fans were on hand for the season opener ..... The Bulldogs got all 13 players into the game and all of them registered at least one statistic on the night with nine scoring ..... Ferris turned the ball over only 12 times, including only three in the initial half .... FSU's bench outscored Calvin's by a 46-17 count.

* Leading The Way: Ferris welcomes back seven letterwinners this season from a year ago. Included in the total are two returning all-conference picks in senior forward/center Justin Keenan and senior guard Darien Gay. They helped form one of the nation's youngest teams as part of a nine-member freshmen class three years ago.

* FSU Picked Second: Ferris was picked to finish second in the 2010-11 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll in conjunction with the launch of the league's media day website.  The Bulldogs totaled 128 points in the balloting and picked up two first-place votes while finishing second in the North Division. FSU rival Grand Valley State earned 22 of a possible 25 first-place votes and led the division with 172 points. The University of Findlay, which won the 2008-09 NCAA-II National Championship, claimed 23 first-place votes and 173 points in being selected as the South Division favorite.

* Preseason Honorees: Ferris had two players named to the 2010-11 GLIAC North Division Preseason All-Conference Teams as chosen by the league's head coaches.  Justin Keenan was chosen as a preseason first-team pick with Darien Gay on the five-member second team.  Keenan was also tabbed as the GLIAC's Preseason Player of the Year after winning the conference's top individual honor a year ago.

* Interesting Note: Last year represented the eighth 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 2010-11 roster includes four seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen. Six of the 14 players are primarily guards while the remaining eight are frontcourt players. All 14 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan.

* 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 118-112 (.513) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his eight previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* FSU Notebook: Senior forward Lou Williams ranks third all-time on FSU's career blocked shots leaders list with 105 and needs 11 more to move into second place ..... Justin Keenan currently ranks as the school's all-time leader in made free throws with a school-best 570 of 773 (.737) career attempts.

* Bulldog Bites: FSU's Justin Keenan presently has scored 1,587 points to date and is 10 shy of catching former Bulldog Adam Anderson (1,597; 1998-03) for seventh place on Ferris' all-time list ....... Darien Gay is currently sixth on the school's career list with 325 assists and also moved into 10th place all-time in steals with five on Saturday night ....... Darien Gay is 166 points away from notching his 1,000th career point.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs wrap up their season-opening three game homestand with another key regional matchup versus Lewis (Ill.) on Saturday, Nov. 20, at Wink Arena.  Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) against the GLVC opponent following the Bulldog women's game versus Edinboro (Pa.), which is part of the two-day Bulldog Women's Classic (Nov. 20-21).

* One More D1: Indiana won't be the only NCAA Division I program the Bulldogs face this season.  FSU will also visit Eastern Michigan in a regular-season tilt.  The contest will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 4, at EMU's Convocation Center in Ypsilanti with the start time scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET). This year marks the second consecutive season the Bulldogs will play a Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in regular-season competition following last year's (11/16/09) 82-69 loss at Central Michigan.

* Conference Record Book: The 465 points scored by FSU's Justin Keenan in conference regular-season games last season was only six away from matching the league's all-time seasonal record of 471 points recorded by Saginaw Valley State's Michael Williams in 1993-94. Additionally, Keenan's 176 free throws made and 253 attempts in league games topped the previous conference single-season records of 132 makes and 196 attempts owned by former Bulldog center Adam Anderson in 2000-01.

* 131 Showdown: The Ferris State men's and women's basketball teams will square off against rival Grand Valley State this season at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena in the first-ever "131 Showdown" presented by Amway. Details for the January 29, 2011, doubleheader were announced during a press conference (Oct. 20) involving both schools at Van Andel Arena.  Tipoff for the women's GLIAC tilt will be at 6 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 29 with the men's game to follow at 8 p.m. (ET). A portion of the proceeds from the "131 Showdown" will be donated to the Van Andel Institute as part of the Community for a Cure Purple Game. For additional information on the 131 Showdown and tickets, please go to the official web site for the game at

* New Assistant Coach: The Bulldogs have a new full-time assistant coach this season in Andy Bronkema, who had served as a volunteer assistant for the past three years and replaces longtime assistant coach Cory Anderson. Bronkema was a collegiate standout at NAIA Division II member Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. As a player, he served as team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels.

* 1,000 Point Scorer: FSU's Justin Keenan was honored last year for becoming the 26th player in school history to notch his 1,000th career point in the season opener at Lewis (11/15/09). He also grabbed his 400th career board in the same game and presently owns career totals of 1,587 points along with 600 rebounds in 85 outings.

* One of a Kind: Ferris' Justin Keenan was honored as a 2009-10 State Farm® Coaches' All-America First Team selection, becoming the first-ever All-America pick at the Division II level in Ferris State men's basketball history.  He's the first Bulldog player in 36 years to claim All-America accolades and joins four previous players to achieve the distinction in Ferris men's hoops history.  He was also the first FSU player in 20 years to be named GLIAC Player of the Year in 2009-10.

* Bulldog Notes: Ferris has posted 40 winning campaigns and 46 non-losing seasons in its 83 seasons of competition ........ The Bulldogs own a current 71-63 (.530) overall record in Jim Wink Arena, which opened in the 1999-00 season. This year marks the team's 12th season in the 2,400-seat facility ...... Justin Keenan reached double-figure scoring in 28 of 29 games last season and 80 of 85 career outings.  He's tallied 10 points or more in 57 of his last 59 contests ......... Keenan led the GLIAC with 13 games of 20 or more points last season ..... The GLIAC had only four players record 10 or more assists in a game last year and two of those efforts came from Bulldog players - Darien Gay (10 vs. Ashland - Dec. 3) and Dontae Molden (11 at Ashland - Jan. 16) ....... Senior guard Darien Gay's current .429 career three-point percentage is sixth-best in school history.

* All-Tourney Team Picks: FSU forward/center Justin Keenan and forward Daniel Sutherlin were both named to the Porreco Cup All-Tournament Team last season after helping the Bulldogs claim the tourney championship in the holiday break event (Dec. 29-30) at Erie, Pa.  Keenan tallied a team-high 18 points in the championship game against Seton Hill (Pa.) following a 14-point effort versus Taylor (Ind.) in the opening game of the event, which was held at Gannon University's Hammermill Center.  Meanwhile, Sutherlin chipped in with six points and eight rebounds in the final after scoring a team-high 17 points in the opening round win over Taylor.

* New GLIAC Format: The GLIAC office recently announced that for the 2010-11 basketball season, the men's teams will play the first game of a doubleheader and the women's teams the second game whenever both teams are playing on the same day or night in the same venue. Meanwhile, the scenario will be reversed the following year with the women's teams playing the first game and the men's teams the second game in 2011-12. Along with the time format change, the conference will also now play a 19-game schedule this coming year instead of the previous 22-game format due to the addition of two new schools in Lake Erie and Ohio Dominican joining the league.

* Great Game: Justin Keenan's 35-point effort last season versus the defending NCAA-II National Champion Findlay (Feb. 6) topped his previous career-high of 33 points set against Olivet in 2008 (11/25) and it marked the most points scored by a Bulldog player in a game during the eight-year tenure of head coach Bill Sall.  The last FSU player to score more than 35 points in a single contest came in 2001-02 (Jan. 19) when Marcus Wallace totaled 40 points in a 86-85 league overtime home loss to rival Grand Valley State.  The 35-point effort was the GLIAC's third-best individual performance last season and helped FSU defeat the Oilers for only the second time in the last 45 years.

* FSU Notebook: FSU's Justin Keenan made 215 free throws (215-312) last year and topped his own school single-season mark of 180 free throws recorded in 2008-09. He shot over 100 free throws more than any other GLIAC player last season and it marked the third-straight year he led the league in both makes and attempts ....... Justin Keenan claimed the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week Award four consecutive weeks from Jan. 19-Feb. 8 during the 2009-10 season.

* The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, Bill Sall also has two longtime collegiate coaches serving as volunteer assistants in Bill Killian and Ed Douma. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program throughout Sall's eight-year tenure and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Meanwhile, Douma served as Sall's collegiate head coach at Calvin during his playing career and previously spent 32 seasons as a head coach at several schools while winning more than 550 games.  He joined the Bulldogs last season after spending the final 11 years of his head coaching career at Hillsdale.

* Sixteen Wins: FSU's 16 victories last year represented the fourth time in head coach Bill Sall's eight years the Bulldogs had won at least 14 games in a campaign. Last year also marked the eighth consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have won 10 or more games under Sall.  Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had won 10 games or more only twice in the seven previous seasons.

* Veteran On Staff: Longtime college basketball coach Ed Douma joined the Bulldog staff for the 2009-10 season.  Douma most recently served as head coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale 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 caoch Bill Sall played for Douma at Calvin and also served as one of his assistant coaches at both Calvin and Hillsdale.

* Transfer Additions: The Bulldogs have added three transfer players who are expected to play a key role this year.  Junior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) joined the Bulldog program at midseason last year and sat out after playing JUCO ball at Columbus State (Ohio) before originally inking with NCAA-II Gannon.  Meanwhile, guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) played his initial collegiate campaign at NCAA-II Augustana (S.D.) a year ago with guard Brandyn Mungo (Westland/Detroit Renaissance) playing at the Division II level as well while at Clarion (Pa.).