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(Players: Darien Gay, Matt DeHart, Justin Keenan)
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team kept its unbeaten mark at home intact as the Bulldogs earned a key 70-60 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) decision against Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 20) evening at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The win was Ferris' eighth in as many home contests this campaign and marked the Bulldogs 10th victory at home in their last 11 games dating back to a season ago.
Ferris avenged an earlier season road setback to the Huskies in late December (12/18) by outscoring MTU 40-32 in the final half. FSU held a slim 30-28 advantage at halftime.
The Huskies trimmed a seven-point Bulldog lead down to a single point with 4:14 remaining, but FSU outscored Michigan Tech 15-6 the rest of the way to improve to 12-5 overall and 8-2 in the GLIAC.
The Bulldogs remain one game behind divisional leader Grand Valley State after posting their fourth consecutive victory and sixth win in the last seven games.
"The last 10 minutes of the second half we did a better job of moving the ball," said FSU head coach Bill Sall. "We're doing some good things and we have a veteran team that understands now the importance of what you have to do at home.
"When it came down to crunch time today, we had great focus, especially from our upperclassmen," added Sall.
Senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) once again led the charge for the Bulldogs as he scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed a contest-best 10 rebounds in a double-double effort. Keenan scored 17 points in the second half and scored nine consecutive points for FSU after the Huskies had pulled within one at the four minute mark.
"We stressed defense and team rebounding and it was a team effort tonight," Keenan said. "We don't want to lose at home and that's what we've tried to do."
The Bulldogs also received another outstanding shooting performance from senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville), who knocked down five three-pointers and scored 17 points for his fourth consecutive double-figure scoring contest.
"We have good shooters and some were in and out tonight, but Matt has been shooting the ball really well lately," Sall said. "He's really come on strong in this January period when we've needed it."
FSU senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) chipped in with 10 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots in the winning effort while senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) totaled seven assists and six points. Junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) also distributed the ball well with six assists as Ferris compiled 19 as a team for the night.
The Bulldogs shot 46.2% (24-52) from the floor, including an impressive 63.6% (14-22) figure in the final half. They converted five-of-19 (26.3) three-point tries with all five make's coming from DeHart. FSU was 17-of-20 (85%) at the free throw line as Keenan sank 10-of-13 foul attempts.
Ferris limited Michigan Tech to 39.3% (22-56) shooting overall. The Huskies hit six-of-19 (31.6%) three's and were 10-of-13 (76.9%) at the stripe.
Four Michigan Tech players scored in double-digits with Don Fowler netting a team-high 14 points on six-of-10 shooting. He was joined by Ali Haidar with 13 points, Mike Hojnacki with 10 and Alex Culy totaling 11 points.
The Huskies managed to outrebound FSU 37-29 for the game and had 15 offensive boards compared to only eight for the Bulldogs, which led to a 14-6 advantage in second chance scoring. However, FSU forced 16 turnovers and posted a 22-12 edge in points off turnovers by totaling only 10 miscues.
FSU recorded six blocked shots, including five from Williams, to go with 11 steals. Keenan had a team-high three steals which matched Michigan Tech's team figure. The Huskies handed out 10 assists and blocked three Bulldog shots.
With the setback, Michigan Tech dropped to 10-6 overall and 5-4 in the GLIAC. The Huskies had entered the contest third in the North Division and only a game behind the Bulldogs.
Ferris State will try to keep its home unbeaten streak intact against Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 22) at Wink Arena. Tipoff for the league home tilt begins at 1 p.m. (ET) and it will be "Kidz Day" sponsored by Green's Sporting Goods with activities for youth.
Saturday's contest will be the Bulldogs' final outing before meeting rival GVSU with a possible share of first place in the division on the line in the "131 Showdown" next Saturday (Jan. 29) at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
Bulldog Bites: The game featured 10 lead changes and the score was tied six times ..... Michigan Tech never led by more than two points in the game ..... FSU's Lou Williams pulled within five blocked shots of tying former FSU standout Adam Anderson's career-high total of 142 swats ...... Justin Keenan scored in double-figures for the 96th time in 101 career outings ..... Ferris now needs only four more wins to secure the 1,000th victory in program history ..... With 28 points, Keenan continues to close in on Jesse Mangham's second-place FSU career total of 1,962 points and is now only 18 shy of that mark ...... The victory was the Bulldogs' ninth series' win over MTU in the last 15 games ...... A moment of silence was observed prior to the contest for former Ferris ticket manager Paul Davis, who passed away on Monday (Jan. 17).