MBB Notes: Hillsdale/Northwood (Dec. 7 & 11)

MBB Notes: Hillsdale/Northwood (Dec. 7 & 11)

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* The Game:
The Ferris State men's basketball team continues Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action this week with two games.  The Bulldogs first travel to Hillsdale to face the nationally-ranked and unbeaten Chargers in their first conference road tilt on Tuesday (Dec. 7) at 6 p.m. (ET).  FSU then hosts Northwood on Saturday (Dec. 11) at 1 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.

* Ticket Info: Tickets for both doubleheaders will be sold at the door. FSU students are admitted free to Saturday's home contest with their student identification cards. For additional information on home ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.

* Time Change: The men will hit the floor first for both games 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 improved to 5-2 overall by winning its opening two GLIAC games this past week at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.  The  Bulldogs topped Tiffin by a 93-63 count in their league opener Thursday (Dec. 2) before beating conference newcomer Ohio Dominican by an 86-60 count in the first-ever series' meeting between the two teams Saturday (Dec. 4).

* Welcome Back: Two of Ferris' coaches will square off against Hillsdale for Tuesday's game after playing key roles in the Charger program prior to
their arrival at FSU. Ferris head coach Bill Sall currently holds a 6-6 career head coaching mark against Hillsdale where he served as a Charger assistant coach from 1998-02. He helped the Chargers to a 72-41 (.637) overall record and two consecutive (2001-02) NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tourney appearances during his stint at HC where he worked under Ed Douma, who is currently midst his second season as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs. Douma served as HC's head coach for nine years until 2007.

* The Records: Ferris State (5-2, 2-0 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.
Hillsdale (8-0, 2-0 GLIAC) placed second in the GLIAC South Division a year ago with a 16-13 overall record and was 14-8 in the GLIAC.  They also reached the GLIAC Tournament Championship game last year and are currently ranked 25th in last week's NABC Division II Top 25 Poll.
Northwood (2-6, 1-1 GLIAC) recorded a 12-14 overall mark last year and was 9-13 in league action under former coach Bob Taylor.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 9th season, 127-123 (.508) – (6-6-0 vs. HC, 10-7-0 vs. NU).  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.
Hillsdale – John Tharp (Beloit, 1991), 4th season at HC, 17th year overall. Tharp came to Hillsdale after a 13-year run at Division III Lawrence University where he led the team to a NCAA-III Elite Eight berth and number one national ranking.
Northwood – Jeff Rekeweg (Nebraska, 1988), 1st season at NU, 15th season overall.  The 2010 NAIA National Coach of the Year, Rekeweg guided St. Francis (Ind.) to the school's first National Championship last season prior to taking over at NU. During his time at USF, the team posted seven 20-win seasons, won at least 14 games in 12 of his 14 seasons and reached the NAIA Tournament three times.

* Good Week: FSU senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) tallied 39 points and 19 rebounds in two contests this past week while averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds.  Keenan had 24 points and nine boards in the win over Tiffin followed by 15 points and 10 boards versus Ohio Dominican.  The D-II Bulletin Preseason National Player of the Year also registered his 1,700th career point during the stretch and moved into sixth place on the school's all-time scoring chart versus ODU.  He shot 55% or better from the floor in both contests.

* Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs will travel to Michigan's Upper Peninsula next week for back-to-back games at Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.  FSU visits MTU on Saturday, Dec. 18, before facing NMU on Sunday, Dec. 19.  Both league games tipoff at 1 p.m. (ET).

* 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 86 of 91 career outings. He's also tallied 10 points or more in 63 of his last 65 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 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 the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week on Nov. 23 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 Hillsdale: Hillsdale, which was ranked 25th in last week's NABC Division II National Poll, is unbeaten at 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the GLIAC.  HC placed second in the GLIAC South Division a year ago with a 16-13 overall record and was 14-8 in the GLIAC.  They also reached the GLIAC Tournament Championship game last year.  Fourth-year head coach John Tharp's team is led in scoring by senior forward Brad Guinane (13.3 ppg.). Hillsdale is coming off a 79-55 home win over Lake Erie on Saturday and is 5-0 at home to date this year.

* Looking At Northwood: The Timberwolves are currently 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the GLIAC this campaign under first-year head coach Jeff Rekeweg.  They recorded a 12-14 overall mark last year and were 9-13 in league action under former coach Bob Taylor.  NU beat Lake Superior State 86-77 on Saturday (Dec. 4) at home.  Junior forward Bobby Lewis is scoring a team-high 16.4 points per game to date.

* Series History: Ferris holds a 61-42 all-time series' mark going into Tuesday's 104th series' meeting with Hillsdale, but has lost five of the last six meetings. The Bulldogs had won five-straight series' meetings prior to the current stretch. FSU is 6-9 in the last 15 series' encounters versus HC, including a 78-67 road win last year (12/12/10) at Hillsdale along with a 96-85 setback in Big Rapids (2/4/10) ............ Ferris holds a 49-24 advantage entering Saturday's 73rd meeting with Northwood. The Bulldogs have claimed eight of the last 12 matchups to date, including an 86-73 win in Midland last year (1/23/10) and a 93-74 victory at Big Rapids (2/25/10). FSU head coach Bill Sall owns a 10-7 mark to date versus Northwood.

* Key Bulldog Notes: FSU junior forward Jerrell Sanders was featured on ESPN's Top 10 Plays during Sportscenter episodes last Wednesday (Dec. 1) for a dunk he had at nationally-ranked Kentucky Wesleyan (Nov. 27) ........ The Bulldogs dropped a 78-65 overtime exhibition decision to the NCAA Division I Indiana Hoosiers this season (Nov. 8) 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 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 .......  FSU's Justin Keenan and Darien Gay were both named to the All-Classic Team at the Owensboro Classic (Nov. 26-27).  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 ..... Ferris owns a 5-0 mark at home this year and has won seven of its last eight games at Wink Arena dating back to last year.

* 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. Findlay, which won the 2008-09 NCAA-II National Championship, claimed 23 first-place votes and 173 points 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 122-114 (.517) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tourney appearances in his eight previous seasons. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* FSU Notebook: Senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) notched his 400th career point as a Bulldog player on Saturday against Ohio Dominican.  He also moved within three blocked shots of second place on the school's all-time leaders list. His 16 points versus Ohio Dominican were the second-most in a game of his career behind a 17-point effort versus Lake Superior State as a freshman (2/16/08) ...... Thursday's win over Tiffin was Ferris' sixth all-time victory against the Dragons in seven series' meetings dating back to 2007.  It was also the sixth-straight win for the Bulldogs against Tiffin and represented the Bulldogs' fifth triumph it their last six league openers.

* Bulldog Bites: FSU senior forward/center Justin Keenan moved past former Bulldog standout Jarvis Walker (1985-89) into sixth place on the school's all-time scoring chart in Saturday's triumph........ Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) ranks fifth on the school's career list with 347 assists. He also ranks 10th all-time with 117 steals at FSU ....... Darien Gay is 93 points away from notching his 1,000th career point. He scored his 900th point versus Tiffin last week ..... Senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) needs 10 points for his 400th career point .......The Bulldogs were listed 24th nationally in the NABC Division II Poll on Nov. 23 before dropping out after two losses at the Owensboro Classic (Nov. 26-27).  FSU received votes in last week's national poll.

* Promotions: Saturday will represent the second 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 1,715 points along with 655 rebounds in 91 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 75-63 (.543) 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 .420 career three-point percentage is sixth-best in school history.

* 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).

* 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 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 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.).