More Postgame Coverage Coming Soon!
Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - It wasn't pretty, but the Ferris State University men's basketball team held onto first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division standings with a hard-fought 62-59 league road win over Lake Superior State on Thursday (Feb. 3) evening in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Bulldogs trailed 50-39 in the second half before coming back to earn the victory and improve to 15-5 overall along with 11-2 in the GLIAC.
FSU fought back from its second-half deficit and took the lead on a three-pointer from senior guard/forward Matt DeHart (Greenville) with 50 seconds left in the contest. The Lakers had three chances to tie the game before Ferris sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) was finally fouled and made one of two free throws with 10 seconds to go.
LSSU had two chances to tie the game with a three-pointer in the closing seconds, but both shots came up short as the Bulldogs preserved the win.
With the win and Grand Valley State's upset loss at Saginaw Valley State on Thursday, the Bulldogs moved into sole possession of first place in the GLIAC North Division with six regular-season games remaining.
FSU shot 43.4% (23-53) from the floor versus LSSU, but was only five-of-14 (35.7%) from beyond the three-point arc and 11-of-18 (61.1%) at the free throw line. The Bulldogs were limited to only eight field goals in the opening half on 32% (8-25) shooting before making 15-of-28 (53.6%) tries over the final 20 minutes.
Four Bulldog players reached double-figure scoring in the contest with both senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) and DeHart netting a team-high 14 points apiece. Keenan added 15 rebounds in a double-double effort. He also became only the second player in FSU history to surpass the 2,000 career points mark.
FSU also received 13 points from Brown along with 11 points by senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford), who added a game-high seven assists and had two steals while playing 38 minutes.
Ferris turned the ball over 14 times compared to only 11 for LSSU, which fell to 13-7 overall and 7-6 in the GLIAC.
The Lakers were paced by Justin Williams' game-high 16 points, but he was the lone Laker player to finish in double-digits on the night. Derek Billing added nine points, six assists and three steals in the losing effort.
LSSU shot 40.4% (21-52) overall and made five-of-12 (41.7%) three-pointers in addition to 12-of-17 (70.6%) free throws. Ferris held Lake Superior State to only six field goals and a 28.6% (6-21) performance from the floor in the opening half of play.
Overall, the Bulldogs also owned a 38-33 rebounding edge and pulled down 13 offensive boards to nine for the Lakers. FSU's showing on the offensive glass led to a 10-3 edge in second chance scoring.
Ferris finished with 13 assists, four steals and a single block with the Lakers managing 16 assists, eight steals and two blocks.
The Bulldogs improved to 75-48 all-time against Lake Superior State with the win as head coach Bill Sall defeated LSSU for the 11th time in his career.
Ferris State returns home to host Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 5) in a 1 p.m. (ET) league tilt at Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.
Bulldog Bites: The win enabled FSU to complete the season sweep over LSSU as the Bulldogs also beat the Lakers 79-61 in Big Rapids (Jan. 6) ....... Keenan's 15 rebounds marked a personal career-high ...... Keenan now needs only 101 points to become the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader ....... Both teams grabbed four leads in the game and the score was tied twice ...... The Lakers outscored FSU 30-28 in the paint ........ Ferris played 10 players in the contest, but all 13 points off the bench were scored by Brown .... FSU is only a single win away from notching the 1,000th victory in program history as the Bulldogs now have 999 wins overall.