FSU Awaits NCAA Bid After GLIAC Title Loss

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Post Game Press Conference:
FSU Head Coach Sall, Dehart, Gay and Keenan

WSU Head Coach Greer, Hollingsworth, and Smothers

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Big Rapids, Mich. -
Wayne State University's Mike Hollingsworth scored on a tip-in with one second left to lift the Warriors over host Ferris State by a 73-71 score in the championship game of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Men's Basketball Tournament on Sunday (March 6) afternoon at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

With the win, the Warriors earned the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament slated to be held March 12-15 at a campus site to be determined.  FSU is also expected to receive a national bid when the official announcement is made later tonight at 10 p.m. (ET) on www.ncaa.com.

Wayne State, which was seeded third overall heading into the semifinals, upset the top-seeded Bulldogs in a game that featured six lead changes and 10 ties as the Warriors notched their first conference tournament championship since 1999.  

The Warriors jumped out to an early lead and held an eight-point advantage with 4:11 to go in the first half.  FSU clawed its way back and trailed by one, 36-35, at the break.

WSU again started the second half strong and took an eight-point edge with 15:31 remaining in the contest.  However, the Bulldogs continued to chip into the lead and eventually took a one-point lead with 5:25 to go.  

Ferris was in front 66-64 with 3:03 to play, but the Warriors answered with a three-point from Hollingsworth.  He then sank two free throws with 2:14 left, giving Wayne State a 69-67 advantage.  

Bulldog sophomore guard Kenny Brown's (Farmington Hills/Harrison) jumper with 59 seconds remaining tied the game back up before WSU's Dale Brundidge scored on a layup with 26 seconds to go.  The Bulldogs were able to knot the contest at 71-71 with just under 10 seconds left on a jumper from senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills).

Wayne State pushed the ball up the floor and Hollingsworth was able to tip-in in a missed shot in the late from Brundidge for the final score.  FSU got off a long desperation three-pointer at the buzzer from Brown, but it came up empty as WSU earned the win.

Hollingsworth paced the Warriors with a team-high 22 points and a game-best 15 rebounds in the contest while being joined in double-figures by senior guard Bryan Smothers with 11 points and 10 from Jerry Oden.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, received 25 points and 12 boards from Keenan in his final contest inside Wink Arena.  Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) added 10 points with sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) chipping in 10 points as well.

Ferris State shot 44% (22-50) for the game and made four-of-14 (28.6%) three-pointers along with 23-of-32 (71.9%) free throws.  The Bulldogs also had only 10 turnovers and outscored the Warriors 20-9 in points off miscues.

Wayne State, though, converted 27-of-54 (50%) field goals and hit three-of-seven (42.9%) three's along with 16-of-20 (80%) free throws in notching the win.

While WSU held a slim 32-30 rebounding edge, the Bulldogs did come up with 13 offensive boards and outscored the Warriors 19-12 in second chance scoring.  FSU also had eight steals, including three from junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) in addition to two blocked shots.

On the opposite side, Wayne State managed only four steals and two blocks, but did dish out 16 assists to only 11 for FSU.  Smothers had nine assists for the Warriors with both Molden and Gay netting four apiece for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs dropped to 22-7 overall with the setback while WSU also improved to 22-7 on the year.  Ferris' loss was its third in as many meetings against the Warriors in GLIAC Tournament play.

Additionally, the setback was also FSU's third in four all-time GLIAC Tournament Championship games.

Both Keenan and Gay were named to the all-tournament team at the conclusion of the game along with Findlay's Nathan Hyde, Ali Haidar of Michigan Tech and WSU's Hollingsworth.  Wayne State's Smothers was also tabbed as the MVP of the GLIAC Tournament.

Stay tuned to www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com for additional information once the NCAA Division II Tournament selections are made late tonight.

Bulldog Bites: Ferris' bench outscored the WSU reserves 21-19 ..... The Warriors managed 40 points inside the paint to only 20 for the Bulldogs ...... Ferris shot just 35.7% (10-28) for the first half ..... This year marked only the second time in school history and first since 1994-95 that FSU hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals and Finals ...... The Bulldogs are currently ranked 23rd in the latest National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 Poll ...... Ferris was ranked sixth in the region with WSU eighth this past week before conference tournament play began ...... The loss was only FSU's second in 16 home games this campaign ..... Senior forward Matt DeHart (Greenville) had six points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs while Kenny Brown scored seven points ..... Justin Keenan made 13-of-17 free throws for the Bulldogs.

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