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(Head Coach Bill Sall, Justin Keenan, Darien Gay)
Big Rapids, Mich. – Ferris State University used the homecourt to its advantage as the Bulldogs remained unbeaten inside Jim Wink Arena this campaign with a convincing 79-61 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) win over visiting Lake Superior State on Thursday (Jan. 6) evening.
Ferris improved to 7-0 at home this year in winning the conference contest, which marked FSU's first league tilt since prior to the holiday break nearly three weeks ago. The Bulldogs also moved to 9-5 overall and 5-2 in league action by virtue of their third victory in the last four contests to date.
The Bulldogs broke open a close game with an 11-0 run midway thru the first half and never trailed from that point forward in dropping the Lakers to 8-4 overall and 2-3 in the GLIAC.
Ferris held a 42-36 lead at intermission that would have been larger if not for Kyle Hunt's three-quarter court basket as the first half expired for Lake Superior State. In the second half, however, it was all Bulldogs as FSU outscored LSSU 37-25 over the final 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs limited Lake Superior to only 28.6% shooting and eight total field goals in the final half. The lead grew to as many as 27 points with 3:27 remaining in the contest.
"We did a much better job of taking away the penetration in the second half," FSU head coach Bill Sall said. "We did a nice job of keeping them out of the paint and forced them into a lot of jump shots that were contested. They're a good shooting team so that feels pretty good."
Senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) led the winning effort with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. He also added two assists and two steals while making eight-of-10 shots from the floor and 12-of-17 free throws in 33 minutes of action. The preseason Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year also moved up two notches into fourth place on FSU's all-time scoring list, surpassing both Bernie Kilpatrick (1961-65) and Dannie Hayes (1991-95) with 1,865 total points to date.
"Justin had a really good game," Sall said. "We did a good job of moving the ball offensively and getting him the ball in good situations."
Keenan was joined in double-digits by senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) with 22 points and senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville), who netted 19 points. Both Gay and DeHart connected on five three-pointers apiece as FSU made 11-of-30 (36.7%) tries from beyond the arc. DeHart's 19 points marked the first time this year he's scored in double-digits and tied a personal career-best set in his second collegiate game versus Grace Bible back in 2007 (11/19/07).
"We've got to have those guys shoot well and it obviously helps Justin out as well," said Sall. "We have a lot of good offensive weapons and have to continue to use them."
Overall, Ferris shot 40.3% (25-62) from the field and was 18-of-32 (56.3%) at the line. The Lakers were held to 37.7% (23-61) shooting, which included a four-of-20 (20%) showing from long range and a 11-of-25 (44%) mark at the charity stripe.
The Bulldogs also took care of the ball with only nine turnovers and held a 49-43 rebounding edge with 11 offensive caroms. Those figures helped FSU record a 12-5 edge in points off turnovers and a 14-7 margin in second chance scoring. Ferris was also able to get out and run as evidenced by a 13-0 advantage in fast break production.
Defensively, the Bulldogs forced 13 Laker turnovers and came up with eight steals and six blocked shots. All six blocks came from senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights), who finished one block shy of matching the school record of seven swats in a single contest owned by former Bulldogs Dave Swilley and Adam Anderson. The 6-7 Williams also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, marking the fourth time in his career he's finished with double-figures on the glass and it was two away from tying his personal single-game high of 14 rebounds in a contest.
The Bulldogs also dished out 16 assists in the game as junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) had eight of his own in the winning cause. His eight assists represented the sixth time in his career he's totaled eight or more in a single game and was three shy of matching his personal career-high of 11 assists.
Lake Superior State was led by Kyle Hunt and Khalid Wells, who both recorded 12 points apiece. Andrew Charlesworth chipped in with 10 points for the Lakers. They managed nine assists, three steals and three blocks in the game.
The win was FSU's 10th in the last 17 series' matchups with Lake Superior State and the Bulldogs improved to 74-48 all-time versus LSSU.
Ferris State hits the road this Saturday, Jan. 8, to face Saginaw Valley State in GLIAC play at University Center, Mich. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. (ET) inside SVSU's Ryder Center and a live FSU broadcast via Ustream will be available at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com.
Bulldog Bites: Lake Superior State's bench outscored the Bulldog reserves 21-2 as Ferris State's five starters accounted for 77 of the Bulldogs' 79 points …. The game featured seven lead changes with the score tied four times ...... The contest pitted two brothers on opposite teams in Ferris junior center Jim Boylan (Grayling) and LSSU's Mike Boylan. Jim totaled five rebounds for FSU in six minutes while Mike had a steal for the Lakers in five minutes ..... Ferris played all 11 available players in the game …. The lone Bulldog bucket off the bench came from freshman guard DeMarco Sanders (Flint/Powers) ..... Dontae Molden climbed into eighth place all-time on FSU's career assists leaders list .... The game marked the 93rd time Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in 98 career games and was his sixth double-double effort of the season ..... FSU head coach Bill Sall picked up his 10th career win (10-7) against LSSU.