Men's BB Game Notes: Lewis (Nov. 20)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State men's basketball team wraps up a season-opening three-game homestand by hosting regional foe Lewis (Ill.) on Saturday, Nov. 20, inside Jim Wink Arena.  Tipoff for the non-league tilt is set for 3 p.m. (ET) as part of a tripleheader with as the FSU women's team is also hosting the two-day Bulldog Classic on Saturday and Sunday at Wink Arena.

* Ticket Info: Tickets for Saturday's contest against the Flyers 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: Saturday'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 www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (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 www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics 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: Ferris picked up a key regional win and remained unbeaten with a 66-55 home win over St. Joseph's (Ind.) on Monday (Nov. 15) evening inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.  SJC was ranked 10th in the country in both The Sporting News and Division II Bulletin Preseason National Polls after winning the NCAA-II Midwest Regional crown and advancing to the Elite Eight a season ago. Senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) showed why he was tabbed as the national preseason player of the year in Division II basketball with an impressive 25-point and 13 rebound performance. Keenan was joined in double-digits by senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) with 12 points and five assists.  Both sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) and sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) added nine points.  Junior guard Donte Molden (Detroit/Pershing) had eight assists for FSU.

* The Records: Ferris State (2-0, 0-0 GLIAC) won 10 of its last 16 games overall last season en route to a 16-13 overall mark and reached the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament semifinals.  Ferris placed second (13-9) in GLIAC North Division play.  FSU previously recorded a 14-14 overall record in 2008-09.
   
Lewis (2-1, 0-0 GLVC) compiled a 17-12 overall record in 2009-10 and was 8-10 in Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) action.  The Flyers, who visit Wayne State Thursday (Nov. 18) night prior to facing FSU, placed third in GLVC North Division play a season ago.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 9th season, 124-120 (.508) – (1-3-0 vs. Lewis).  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.
   
Lewis – Scott Trost (Minnesota-Morris, 1985), 5th season at Lewis, 70-49 (.588), 14th season overall, 223-135 (.623). Prior to arriving at Lewis, Trost enjoyed a highly successful tenure at Illinois Wesleyan, leading the club to three-straight league titles and four consecutive NCAA-III Tourney bids. He also served four seasons as head coach at Elmhurst and was an assistant at the University of Michigan.

* Series Information: Ferris State and Lewis will square off for the 12th time Saturday with the Flyers holding a 8-3 series' advantage. Lewis has won eight of the last 10 encounters to date, including a narrow 65-60 win in last year's season opener (11/15/09) at Romeoville, Ill.  FSU posted a convincing 88-59 victory in the most recent game played in Big Rapids (12/30/04). Ferris head coach Bill Sall owns a 1-3 career coaching mark versus Lewis.

* Preseason National Player of The Year: A returning consensus NCAA-II All-American, Ferris 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 last 59 games.

* 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.

* 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.

* FSU Wins Opener: 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. Darien Gay 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 Justin Keenan, who added 18 points and 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 chipped in with 12 points in his first official contest at FSU.

* Sall vs. Calvin: FSU head coach Bill Sall continued his success in the Ferris-Calvin series with last Saturday night's (Nov. 13) season-opening 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.

* 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 119-112 (.515) 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 108 and needs eight 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 577 of 785 (.735) career attempts.

* Bulldog Bites: FSU's Justin Keenan presently has scored 1,612 points to date and moved past former Bulldog Adam Anderson (1,597; 1998-03) into seventh place on Ferris' all-time list versus SJC ....... Darien Gay is sixth on the school's career list with 330 assists and also moved into 10th place all-time in steals with five last Saturday night ....... Darien Gay is 154 points away from notching his 1,000th career point.

* Coming Up Next: Ferris hits the road with two more key regional games in the Owensboro (Ky.) Classic on Nov. 26-27 in Owensboro, Ky.  The Bulldogs face Drury (Mo.) on Friday, Nov. 26, at 9 p.m. (ET) followed by a matchup against host Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday, Nov. 27, also at 9 p.m. (ET).

* 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.

* The Last Meeting: Ferris suffered a hard-fought 65-60 setback to Lewis in its official season opener a year ago (11/15/09) at LU's Neil Carey Arena. The Flyers took a narrow 32-30 edge in an even first half of action despite 15 points in the opening frame from Bulldog guard Austin Randel.  FSU had the ball with the score tied and a minute left in the contest, but the Flyers took the lead on a transition basket after a missed Bulldog shot.  Following the LU basket, the Bulldogs drove the length of the floor before FSU's Jon Yeazel missed a shot and Justin Keenan was whistled for an intentional foul with 15 seconds left on the rebound attempt.  Lewis converted five free throws in the final 25 seconds to notch the victory. Randel paced the Bulldogs with 19 points and Keenan chipped in 15 points. Neither team shot particularly well for the night as the Flyers finished at 38.3% from the floor and the Bulldogs were at only 34.4% shooting. Tony Peter led the Flyers with 17 points while Marty Strus added 15 points.  The trio of Chris McClellan, Matt Toth and Thomas added 11 points each in the regional battle.