January 27, 2011

Men's Basketball "131 Showdown" Game Notes

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Saturday, Jan. 29
Men's Basketball vs. Grand Valley State, 8 p.m.
Televised Live On Comcast (Channel 900 or 901)
Live FSU Audio Broadcast via Ustream
Live GVSU Audio & Video Webcast
Live Internet Statistics
Live Facebook Scoring Updates
Live Twitter Scoring Updates

* The Game:
Ferris State men's basketball team squares off against archrival Grand Valley State in the "131 Showdown" this Saturday, Jan. 29, at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.  The women tipoff first at 6 p.m. (ET) with the men's game at 8 p.m. (ET).  A share of first place in the GLIAC North Division will be on the line in the men's game as the Bulldogs currently trail GVSU by a single game.

* Ticket Info: Tickets for the "131 Showdown" can be purchased via Ticketmaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or by going online at Ticketmaster.com. Visit www.131showdown.com for more information.

* Media Coverage: Both games will be televised live by Comcast on Channel 900 or 901 on selected systems across the state.  They will also be streamed live via an audio/video webcast.  The Bulldog Sports Network will carry the FSU radio broadcast via the internet and Bulldog Radio on Charter TV Channel 98 in Mecosta County or Channel 21 on the FSU campus.  All links are 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.

* Showdown Notes: A portion of the proceeds from the "131 Showdown" will be donated to support cancer research at the Van Andel Institute as part of the Community for a Cure Purple Game. The color purple symbolizes cancer survivors ....... Two popular personalities will also be on hand for the "131 Showdown" as the Detroit Pistons public address announcer "Mason" will be on the mic for both games with Fox 17 entertainment reporter Emily Richett serving as the emcee for the evening ..... The Bulldog men own a narrow 48-46 all-time series' advantage over the Lakers in men's basketball play .... Saturday's meeting is the first of two this year between the schools as FSU hosts GVSU in Big Rapids on Feb. 26 in the regular-season finale.

* Last Week: Ferris State won a pair of league home games last week as FSU defeated Michigan Tech 70-60 on Thursday (Jan. 20) before beating Northern Michigan by a 70-63 count on Saturday (Jan. 22). The Bulldogs also stayed unbeaten inside Jim Wink Arena this season and now hold a perfect 9-0 home mark to date this campaign. Senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) had another impressive week as he averaged 29.5 points and 10 rebounds in the two games.

* The Records: Ferris State (13-5, 9-2 GLIAC) has presently won seven of its last eight games to date.  The Bulldogs were 16-13 overall and reached the GLIAC Tourney semifinals. last year  FSU was 14-14 overall in 2008-09.

Grand Valley State (15-3, 10-1 GLIAC) is presently ranked 15th in the nation this week.  The Lakers finished 22-9 and were 16-6 in the GLIAC last year (2009-10) while reaching the NCAA-II Tournament.

* The Coaches: Ferris State  – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 9th season, 135-126 (.517) – (7-13 vs. GVSU).  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.

Grand Valley State – Ric Wesley, (Central Michigan, 1980), 6th season. Wesley spent five years as associate head coach at Southwest Missouri State before taking over at GVSU. He also spent time as a NCAA-I assistant at Lamar and Iowa State. Wesley's directed
GVSU to five national tourney bids, two Elite Eight showings and four league titles in his tenure.

* GLIAC Weekly Honor: FSU senior forward/center Justin Keenan attained this week's GLIAC North Division Player of the Week Award for the second consecutive week and third time overall this campaign. He averaged 29.5 points and 10 rebounds versus MTU and NMU.  The 6-7 Keenan moved into second place on the school's career scoring list with a game-high 31 points and 10 rebounds in FSU's win over Northern Michigan.  He previously tallied a contest-best 28 points and 10 boards on Thursday (Jan. 20) as FSU topped Michigan Tech.  Keenan made 17-of-25 (68%) field goal attempts and 25-of-35 (71.4%) free throws on the week.

* Closing In On GLIAC Record: FSU's Justin Keenan currently has scored 1,392 points over his four-year career in conference contests and needs only 139 points to tie or 140 more to surpass former Grand Valley State standout John Flynn (1998-01) as the GLIAC's all-time leading scorer.  Flynn holds the league's career scoring record with 1,531 points in GLIAC games only over his four-year career.

* Approaching 1,000 Wins: Ferris State is currently only three wins away from notching the 1,000th victory in program history.  FSU heads into Saturday's game with an all-time mark of 997-925 (.519).

* Tied School Record: Ferris senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) posted five blocked shots against Northern Michigan last Saturday and has tied Adam Anderson's (1998-03) school record total of 142 career swats.  The 6-7 Williams needs a single blocked shot to become the Bulldogs' sole all-time career leader in the category.

* 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 97 of 102 career outings. He's also tallied 10 points or more in 75 of his last 77 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: This week's selection marked the third time Justin Keenan has claimed the GLIAC weekly honor this year and ninth time in his career. Prior to the last two weeks, Keenan previously was honored as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week earlier this year on Nov. 23 and won the award four consecutive weeks from Jan. 19-Feb. 8 during the 2009-10 season.

* Looking At GVSU: The Lakers are presently ranked 15th in the nation this week with a 15-3 overall mark and own a current 10-1 GLIAC ledger entering Saturday's showdown.  GVSU finished 22-9 and was 16-6 in the GLIAC last year (2009-10) while reaching the NCAA-II Tournament under head coach Ric Wesley.  Presently, they've won six of their last seven games to date this year and are coming off a 77-63 league home win over Michigan Tech last Saturday (Jan. 22).  Senior guard Justin Ringler, a native of Reed City, paces the Lakers in scoring at 13.8 points per game.  Eleven of the Lakers' 15 wins this campaign have came at home in Allendale.

* Series Info vs. GVSU: Ferris holds a 48-46 advantage heading into Saturday's 95th meeting with GVSU. The Bulldogs and Lakers split two meetings last year with FSU earning a decisive 67-41 home win in Big Rapids (11/30/09) before Grand Valley State responded to post a 80-68 win in Allendale (1/11/10).  Overall, the Lakers have won three of the last five games versus Ferris and captured 11 of the last 18 meetings.

* Last Year's Notes: Ferris' 26-point victory over GVSU in last year's initial meeting (Nov. 30) at Big Rapids was its most decisive win over the Lakers since recording a 111-79 home win on Feb. 11, 1970, and the second-largest ever. Additionally, the 41 points allowed by FSU were the fewest the Lakers have ever scored versus the Bulldogs ..... The 41-point total in that game a year ago was the fewest points allowed by Ferris against any opponent since a 40-34 home win over Oakland in the 1989-90 season (2/15/90), nearly 20 years prior to the contest. It also marked only the fifth time since 1980 the Bulldogs had limited another team to 41 points or less. in a game.

* Key Note:  FSU's Justin Keenan has averaged 16.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game versus GVSU in seven previous career meetings.

* 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 welcomed 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.

* 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 130-117 (.526) 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: Justin Keenan ranks fourth on the FSU career rebounding chart and is six shy of tying Art Tetzlaff (1967-71) for third place honors ........ Currently, Justin Keenan has scored 28 points or more in four of his last five outings to date this year, including the last three contests in a row.  He's also notched a double-double in each of the last three games along with four of the last five, giving him a career-high nine such efforts this season and 22 in his career ...... Junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) has 296 assists to date and is four away from matching Mike Gillespie (1979-83) for seventh place.

* Bulldog Bites: Senior guard Darien Gay ranks fifth on the school's career list with 390 assists. He also ranks tied for eighth all-time with 129 steals at FSU ....... Darien Gay is currently fourth in career three-point field percentage at FSU as he's made 176 of 413 treys (.426) ..... Senior forward Lou Williams had a personal career-high six blocked shots versus Lake Superior State (Jan. 6), 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 ..... Darien Gay's 14 rebounds at Northwood (Jan. 15) marked a personal career-high .... Senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) has reached double-figure scoring in four of his last five contests to date. He ranks tied for eighth all-time with 135 career three's at FSU.

* 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.

* GLIAC Statistics: FSU's Justin Keenan leads the GLIAC in both scoring (22.6 ppg.) and rebounds (9.2 rpg.) for all games this year (as of Jan. 26) and is first in defensive boards (6.1 pg.) along with third in offensive caroms (3.2 pg.).  Meanwhile, senior forward Lou Williams is tied for first in blocked shots (2.1 pg.) and fifth in offensive rebounds (2.7 pg.).  Junior guard Dontae Molden is fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.7) and seventh in assists (3.7 apg.). Darien Gay ranks fourth in three-pointers made (2.4 pg.), fifth in assists (3.8 apg.), sixth in assist/turnover ratio (1.5) and 11th in scoring (15.1 ppg.). Matt DeHart is listed fifth in three-pointers made (2.2 pg.) ....... Justin Keenan is third overall among the league leaders in minutes played (33.0 pg.) while Darien Gay is seventh (31.7 pg.).

* 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.

* Two 1,000 Point Scorers: 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). Meanwhile, Darien Gay became the 27th player this year in a win at Northern Michigan (12/19/10).  Keenan presently owns career totals of 1,975 points along with 757 rebounds in 102 outings while Gay has 1,087 points and 390 career assists in 104 games.

* 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 79-63 (.556) 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 .426 career three-point percentage is fourth-best in school history .... Justin Keenan's 757 rebounds is now fourth-most in FSU school history.

* New GLIAC Format: The GLIAC office 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 (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 9-0 mark at home this year and has won 11 of its last 12 games at Wink Arena dating back to last year.

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