January 14, 2011

Men's BB Game Notes: Northwood (Jan. 15)

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Saturday, Jan. 15
Men's Basketball at Northwood, 4 p.m.

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* The Game:
The Ferris State men's basketball team visits Northwood for a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contest on Saturday, Jan. 15, in Midland, Mich.  Tipoff at the Bennett Sports Center is slated for 4 p.m. (ET).  Saturday's matchup will represent the final regular-season tilt between the two teams this year.

* Ticket Info: Tickets for Saturday's game will be available at the door.  For more information on ticket sales, please contact the NU Athletics Department at (989) 837-4385.

* Media Coverage: The game will be carried live by Bulldog Radio, which can be found on Charter Channel 98 in Mecosta County or Channel 21 on the FSU campus.  It will also be streamed live via an internet-only audio broadcast from Ustream.  A live pay-per-view audio and video webcast from America One will also be offered along with live internet statisticss.  All links will be available at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (click on the "upcoming events" scoreboard tab or team schedule page).

* Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to radio and internet coverage, Bulldog fans can follow all FSU games this year via Twitter & Facebook. To access the feed, please visit www.twitter.com/ferrisathletics or www.facebook.com/ferrisathletics to follow the tweet-by-tweet social media coverage with periodic scoring updates.

* Last Week: The Ferris State men's basketball squad won a pair of games last week to improve to 10-5 overall and 6-2 in the GLIAC this campaign.  FSU topped Lake Superior State 79-61 at home on Thursday (Jan. 6) before winning at Saginaw Valley State 82-74 on Saturday (Jan. 8).  The Bulldogs received a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds from senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) in the home win over LSSU.  He added a team-best 18 points in the road win at SVSU.  Senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) also had back-to-back double-figure scoring games with 19 versus LSSU and 16 at SVSU.

* GLIAC Statistics: FSU's Justin Keenan currently leads the GLIAC in both scoring (20.9 ppg.) and rebounds (8.9 rpg.) for all games this year (as of Jan. 13) and is first in defensive boards (5.9 pg.) along with third in offensive caroms (3.1 pg.).  Meanwhile, senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) is third in blocked shots (1.7 pg.), fourth in offensive rebounds (2.7 pg.) and sixth in field goal percentage (.562).  Junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) is fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.8) and sixth in assists (3.7 apg.).  Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) ranks fourth in three-pointers made (2.8 pg.), sixth in scoring (17.0 ppg.), seventh in three-point percentage (.467) and 10th in assists (3.1 apg.).

* The Records: Ferris State (10-5, 6-2 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.
   
Northwood (5-10, 3-4 GLIAC) has currently won three of its last five outings to date this year.  NU 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, 132-126 (.512) – (11-7 vs. Northwood).  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.
   
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.

* Moving Up The List: FSU senior forward/center Justin Keenan climbed into fourth place on the school's all-time scoring chart last week.  He presently has scored 1,883 career points and is only 27 away from tying Clarence Carlisle (1,910) for third place.  He needs 79 to catch Jesse Mangham (1,962) for second place.  Former standout Dennis Johnson (1969-73) is the school's all-time scoring leader with 2,312 points. Keenan also moved into fifth place on the FSU career rebounding list with 18 boards in two games last week.  He has 725 career rebounds to date and is 25 away from catching Ted Bee (1973-77) for fourth place.

* Next Home Action: The Bulldogs will next be back at home on Thursday, Jan. 20, when they host Michigan Tech in GLIAC play at Jim Wink Arena. FSU will also face Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 22, in a league home contest.  Thursday's outing is being billed as Meijer Giveaway Night with Saturday Kidz Day set for the NMU contest and sponsored by Green's Sporting Goods.

* Approaching 1,000 Wins: Ferris State is currently only six wins away from notching the 1,000th victory in program history.  FSU heads into Saturday's game with an all-time mark of 994-925 (.518).

* Preseason National Player of The Year: A returning consensus NCAA-II All-American, Ferris senior center Justin Keenan was tabbed 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 94 of 99 career outings. He's also tallied 10 points or more in 71 of his last 73 games.  Saturday will mark his 100th game in a Bulldog uniform.

* 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 Northwood: The Timberwolves are currently 5-10 overall and 3-4 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 suffered a 89-38 league road setback on Wednesday (Jan. 12) night at Grand Valley State in Allendale, Mich.  They've won three of their last four games overall to date.  Junior forward Bobby Lewis is scoring a team-high 17.0 points per game this season.

* Series History: Ferris holds a 50-24 advantage entering Saturday's 74th meeting with Northwood. The Bulldogs have claimed nine of the last 13 matchups to date, including  76-65 win earlier this year (Dec. 11) at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.  FSU beat NU twice last year with a 86-73 win in Midland (1/23/10) and a 93-74 victory at Big Rapids (2/25/10). FSU head coach Bill Sall currently owns a 11-7 mark to date in his head coaching career versus Northwood.

* The Last Meeting: Three players reached double-figure scoring as the Bulldogs beat Northwood 76-65 earlier this year (Dec. 11) at Wink Arena. Senior guard Darien Gay led the Bulldogs to their ninth win over the Timberwolves in the last 13 matchups by scoring a game-high 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting. The Bulldogs also received 19 points and 11 rebounds from senior Justin Keenan along with 15 points by sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison). Ferris broke up a close game in the first half by going on a 13-2 run to take a 14-point advantage with only 3:10 to play in the opening stanza.  FSU led at the break 38-27 and still held a 13-point edge with 14 minutes to play in the contest. The Timberwolves battled back and pulled within four points with 9:17 remaining, but FSU reeled off seven-straight points to push the advantage back to 11 and never trailed by less than nine points the rest of the way.

* Another 10-Win Year: This year marks the ninth consecutive year the Bulldogs have 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.

* 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. 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.

* 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 127-117 (.520) 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 has moved into sole possession of second place on the school's all-time blocked shots list with 130 total.  He now trails only Adam Anderson's (1998-03) school-record of 142 swats ...... Last Tuesday's meeting at Eastern Michigan was the first between the two teams since a 66-47 Bulldog win on Feb. 7, 1973, in Big Rapids ...... Junior guard Dontae Molden has 285 assists to date and moved past Kurt Stevens (1982-86) into eighth place all-time at FSU last week.

* Bulldog Bites: Senior guard Darien Gay ranks fifth on the school's career list with 368 assists. He also ranks tied for eighth all-time with 125 steals at FSU ....... Darien Gay is currently third in career three-point field percentage at FSU as he's made 175 of 400 treys (.438) ..... 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) ....... Senior forward Lou Williams had a personal career-high six blocked shots versus Lake Superior State, which was only one shy of tying the school's single-game record of seven blocks set previously by both Dave Swilley and Adam Anderson.  Williams also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds against the Lakers and had a second-straight double-figure rebound effort with 10 boards at Saginaw Valley State.

* 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 1,883 points along with 725 rebounds in 99 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 77-63 (.550) 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 .438 career three-point percentage is third-best in school history .... Justin Keenan's 725 rebounds is now fifth-most in FSU 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's visit to Eastern Michigan last Tuesday (Jan. 4) marked the second consecutive season the Bulldogs faced a Mid-American Conference (MAC) team in regular-season competition following last year's (11/16/09) 82-69 loss at Central Michigan.  FSU also suffered a 78-65 overtime loss at NCAA-I Indiana this preseason (Nov. 8) after falling 88-73 in exhibition play a year ago at nationally-ranked NCAA-I member Dayton.

* 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 added three transfer players who have played 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.).

* Key Bulldog Notes: FSU junior forward Jerrell Sanders was featured on ESPN's Top 10 Plays during Sportscenter episodes on 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 7-0 mark at home this year and has won nine of its last 10 games at Wink Arena dating back to last year.

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