Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball team came out on the short end of the scoreboard for the first time this season as FSU dropped a 88-72 non-conference decision to the Drury (Mo.) Panthers on Friday (Nov. 26) evening at the Owensboro Classic in Owensboro, Ky.
The Bulldogs, who were ranked 24th in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 poll, trailed by only four points at halftime, 38-34, before the Panthers took control by scoring the first 12 points of the second half at the historic Owensboro Sportscenter.
Drury built its largest lead at 60-39 lead with 14 minutes to play. FSU rallied and was able to cut it back to 10 points with just over 11 minutes to play and got within 71-64 with 6:45 left, but the Panthers were able to hold on down the stretch and pull out the win.
Ferris was forced to play much of the first half without senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), who still managed to finish with a team-best 19 points in 29 minutes. He played only 11 minutes in the initial frame after picking up his second personal foul with more than seven minutes to go in the initial stanza.
Sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) added 16 points for FSU while sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) chipped in with 13 points. Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) recorded eight points.
The Bulldogs shot only 29% from beyond the three-point arc and were outrebounded 37-24 in the contest. Ferris also turned the ball over 18 times.
Overall, Ferris shot 45% (25-55) from the floor and was 16-of-21 (76%) at the free throw stripe. Meanwhile, Drury finished shooting 58% (33-57), including a six-of-11 (55%) showing at the three-point line. The Panthers hit 16-of-20 (80%) free throws.
Dennon Mitchell came off the bench to score a game-high 21 points for Drury with Alex Hall registering 17 points and Jajuan Maxwell contributing 15 points.
Drury totaled 19 assists in comparison with FSU's eight, including four from junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing). The Panthers had 16 turnovers.
DU shot 64.3% (18-28) from the floor in the second half and made four-of-six (66.7%) three-point tries in the frame to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
With Keenan hampered by foul trouble at times, the Panthers were able to outscore FSU by a 40-24 count in the paint and they also held a 9-2 advantage in second chance points.
FSU dropped to 3-1 overall with the setback while Drury also improved to 3-1 overall following its second win of the season over a ranked opponent.
Ferris State will next square off against host and nationally 16th-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan on Saturday (Nov. 27) evening at 9 p.m. (ET) in the Owensboro Classic at the Owensboro Sportscenter.
Bulldog Bites: Friday's game represented the first-ever series' meeting between Ferris State and Drury .... DU finished with nine steals while the Bulldogs had only three ...... The contest was the third of a four-game stretch for FSU versus Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) member schools ..... Drury received 49 points from its reserves in comparison to 27 for the Bulldogs ..... Ferris scored the first basket of the game, but never led again in the contest ..... An announced crowd of 900 fans were on hand for the game ....... Host Kentucky Wesleyan topped Urbana (Ohio) by a 95-69 score in the opener.