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* The Game: The Ferris State men's basketball team opens Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action this week with two home games at Jim Wink Arena. FSU hosts Tiffin on Thursday (Dec. 2) in a 6 p.m. (ET) tilt before facing league newcomer Ohio Dominican for the first-time ever on Saturday (Dec. 4) at 1 p.m. (ET).
* Ticket Info: Tickets for both doubleheaders will be sold at the door starting one hour prior to the opening game. FSU students are admitted free with their student identification cards. For additional information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.
* Time Change: The men will hit the floor first for both games this week as part of the league's new scheduling format with the men playing before the women in all conference doubleheaders this campaign.
* Media Coverage: Both games will be carried live locally in the Big Rapids area and over the internet by Bulldog Radio (Charter TV Channel 98 in Mecosta County or Channel 21 on-campus). A live audio feed is also available in addition to both live internet statistics and a live audio/video pay-per-view webcast from America One (formerly B2 Networks). All links will be available at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (click on the "upcoming events" scoreboard tab or the team schedule page).
* Follow On Twitter: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can follow all FSU games this year via Twitter. To access the feed, please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet coverage with periodic scoring updates.
* Last Week: Ferris State suffered its first two losses of the year last weekend as the Bulldogs dropped two games in the Owensboro Classic hosted by Kentucky Wesleyan in Owensboro, Ky. FSU fell to regional foe Drury (Mo.) by a 88-72 count in Friday's (Nov. 26) opening game before falling to host KWC 85-73 on Saturday (Nov. 27).
* National Rankings: The Bulldogs are receiving votes this week after previously cracking the national rankings for the first time in more than four years last week by being listed 24th in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 Poll released on Nov. 23. Two of FSU's GLIAC and three Midwest Regional foes were found in last week's top five as Findlay was second followed by regional member Bellarmine (Ky.) and Grand Valley State. Last week's ranking marked the first time the Bulldog men's basketball team had been listed among the nation's top 25 teams since Feb. 28, 2006, when they also came in at number 24 nationally. Overall, the showing represented the 22nd time the Bulldogs had been ranked in the top 25 going back to 1972.
* The Records: Ferris State (3-2, 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.
Tiffin (2-2, 0-0 GLIAC) has already matched its win total of last year as the Dragons managed only a 2-25 overall record and were 1-21 in GLIAC play a season ago.
Ohio Dominican (2-3, 0-0 GLIAC) registered a 10-17 mark in 2009-10 and is making its debut season in the GLIAC this campaign. They will visit Grand Valley State for their league opener Thursday (Dec. 2).
* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 9th season, 125-123 (.504) – (5-1-0 vs. TU, 0-0-0 vs. ODU). 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.
Tiffin – John Hill (Heidelberg), 2nd season at TU, 4-25 (.138). Hill took over last year at Tiffin after serving as AD and Associate VP at Shenandoah since 2002. He formerly was a head coach and AD in a 27-year career at Heidelberg where he won 357 games and made two NCAA Tourney appearances.
Ohio Dominican – Artie Taylor (John Carroll, 1998), 4th season at ODU, 46-46 (.500). Prior to becoming the head coach at ODU, Taylor served as an assistant varsity coach and head coach of the junior varsity squad for five seasons at Division III power Wittenberg. He played collegiately at John Carroll and led ODU to a 19-11 mark his initial season in 2007-08.
* All-Classic Team: FSU senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) and senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) were both named to the All-Classic Team at the Owensboro Classic last week. Keenan averaged 19.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the two games while Gay chipped in 16.5 points per contest, including a team-high 25 versus Kentucky Wesleyan.
* Coming Up Next: Ferris won't have much time to rest as the Bulldogs visit Hillsdale on Tuesday, Dec. 7, for their first league road game against the Chargers. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (ET). FSU then hosts Northwood on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Wink Arena with the game slated for a 1 p.m. (ET) start.
* 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 (Detroit/Henry Ford). They helped form one of the nation's youngest teams as part of a nine-member freshmen class three years ago.
* 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 84 of 89 career outings. He's also tallied 10 points or more in 61 of his last 63 games.
* Possible Breakthrough: 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 ..... Last week's national ranking marked the fifth time FSU had been ranked under Bill Sall. He led FSU to as high as number 19 in 2004-05. Prior to that season, Ferris had not been ranked nationally in nearly 16 years going back to 1989.
* 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.
* GLIAC Player of the Week: FSU's Justin Keenan was named last week's (Nov. 23) GLIAC North Division Player of the Week after averaging 25 points and 12.5 rebounds in two key regional home victories over St. Joseph's (Nov. 15) and Lewis (Nov. 20). Keenan made 16-of-27 (.593) field goal tries and was 18-of-23 (.783) in free throws in the stretch.
* Looking At Tiffin: Tiffin is presently 2-2 overall and has already matched its win total of last year when the Dragons finished 2-25 for the year. TU is coming off a 125-77 setback at West Liberty State (W.Va.) last Saturday (Nov. 27). Second-year head coach John Hill's team is led in scoring by freshman guard Joe Graessle (15.3 ppg.). They have wins over Michigan-Dearborn and Ohio Valley. Tiffin was selected to finish sixth in the GLIAC South Division Preseason Media Poll.
* Looking At Ohio Dominican: ODU heads into Thursday's GLIAC opener at Grand Valley State with a 2-3 mark after a narrow 77-76 overtime loss at Northwestern Ohio last Tuesday (Nov. 23), which snapped a two-game win streak. The Panthers are 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road this year to date. Junior center Zak Capron (12.4 ppg.) is the leading scorer for fourth-year head coach Artie Taylor. ODU was 10-17 overall a season ago and picked seventh in the GLIAC South Preseason Poll this year.
* Series History: Ferris holds a 5-1 all-time series' lead over Tiffin after beating the Dragons twice last year by scores of 82-61 in Big Rapids (12/5/09) and 85-66 in Tiffin (1/14/10). Three years ago (2007-08), FSU suffered a 72-62 road setback in the first-ever series' matchup (12/8/07) before rebounding to post an identical 72-62 win in the second meeting (1/4/08) at Big Rapids. FSU head coach Bill Sall is 5-1 to date versus Tiffin .... Saturday's game marks the first-ever meeting between FSU and Ohio Dominican.
* 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, ninth-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 120-114 (.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 (Muskegon Heights) ranks third all-time on FSU's career blocked shots leaders list with 109 and needs seven 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 602 of 811 (.742) career attempts.
* Bulldog Bites: FSU's Justin Keenan presently has scored 1,676 points to date and needs 37 more to tie former great Jarvis Walker (1,713; 1985-89) for sixth place on the school career scoring list ....... Darien Gay has moved into fifth place on the school's career list with 341 assists. He also ranks 10th all-time with 116 steals at FSU ....... Darien Gay is 118 points away from notching his 1,000th career point ..... Senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) needs 18 points for his 400th career point while Lou Williams needs 10 points to reach the same total .... Sophomore guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) tallied his 250th career assist at Kentucky Wesleyan.
* Promotions: FSU will honor the academic success of various student-athletes with a special presentation at halftime of this Thursday's women's game as part of the Student-Athlete Academic Achievement Night. Also, Saturday will represent the first of FSU's Saturday "Kidz Dayz" events sponsored by Green's Sporting Goods at Wink Arena. The fun, exciting and free activities for kids will include an arts and crafts table, bounce house, halftime events, face painting, photos with Brutus the Bulldog and more free to children with a paid adult.
* 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 www.131showdown.com. The Detroit Pistons' popular public address announcer, John Mason, will serve as the official PA voice for the contest.
* 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 1,676 points along with 636 rebounds in 89 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 73-63 (.537) 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 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 .417 career three-point percentage is sixth-best in school history while Matt DeHart's .392 figure is tied for 10th-best all-time.
* 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.
* D1 Regular-Season Meeting: FSU will visit NCAA Division I member Eastern Michigan for a regular-season tilt during the 2010-11 campaign. 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. FSU suffered a 78-65 overtime loss at NCAA-I Indiana this preseason (Nov. 8).
* League Openers: Ferris has won fourof its last five league openers heading into Thursday's matchup, including a decisive 67-41 GLIAC-opening win over rival Grand Valley State a year ago (11/30/09). Overall, FSU is 4-4 under Bill Sall in its first league game of the year, including a 3-2 mark in games at home.
* 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.
* Fifteen 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 coach 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 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 Division II ball at Clarion (Pa.).