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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad kept its season alive and won its first NCAA Tournament game in six years with a hard-fought 90-88 victory over Wayne State in the Division II Midwest Regional Tournament quarterfinal contest on Saturday (March 12) afternoon at Knights Hall in Louisville, Ky.
With the win, the Bulldogs advance to Sunday's (March 13) regional semifinals against number seven seed Drury (Mo.) starting at 5 p.m. (ET). Drury upset second-seeded Southern Indiana in the second quarterfinal game.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs earned the win against their Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) counterpart in a rematch of last week's league tournament championship contest won by Wayne State 73-71 on a tip-in with one second to play.
The rematch also went to the wire as the Warriors fought back from a 10-point deficit in the closing minute and had a chance to perhaps win the game after two missed free throws with less than five seconds left. However, WSU's Ike Udanoh could not get off a potential winning shot as time expired as FSU preserved the win.
The Warriors jumped out to a seven-point advantage early before FSU came back to grab a four-point lead at the break. Wayne State surged ahead in the second half, but Ferris received a big lift off the bench from sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison), who hit four consecutive three-pointers to give the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish.
Brown finished with a season-best 27 points for FSU on nine-of-11 shooting and made five-of-six three's in the game. He was joined by senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), who tallied a contest-high 31 points and added nine rebounds.
Ferris also received 14 points and six boards by senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) to go with 11 points from senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford). Gay added nine assists for FSU in 37 minutes of play.
The Warriors on the opposite side were paced by Bryan Smothers with 25 points. Udanoh added 16 points, Mike Hollingsworth totaled 12 points and Ian Larkin chipped in 10 points for WSU.
Ferris State shot 56.4% (31-55) from the floor and made six-of-13 (46.2%) three's along with 22-of-33 (66.7%) free throws.
Meanwhile, Wayne State converted 29-of-63 (46%) field goals and was six-of-21 (28.6%) beyond the three-point arc in addition to 24-of-29 (82.8%) at the stripe.
The Warriors held a 35-32 rebounding edge and grabbed 15 offensive boards, which helped lead to a 19-16 advantage in second chance production. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over 15 times to only 12 for WSU.
With the win, Ferris State improved to 23-7 overall while third-seeded Wayne State saw its season end at 22-8 on the year.
The Bulldogs' regional win was its first NCAA Tourney victory since a semifinal win over Southern Indiana in the 2004-05 tournament at Findlay, Ohio.
Sunday's regional semifinal game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM or on the Bulldog Sports Network with pregame coverage starting at 4:30 p.m. (ET). A complete listing of all available links is offered at www.ferrisstatebulldogs.com (click on Follow NCAA Tourney banner).
Bulldog Bites: The Bulldogs dished out 14 assists to 13 for Wayne State ....... The lead changed hands five times and the score was also tied five times ...... Ferris had eight steals with Kenny Brown netting four ........ Ferris outscored WSU 38-36 in the paint and the Bulldog reserves managed 29 points compared to only 22 for the Warriors ...... The regional tournament is being hosted by top-seeded Bellarmine University ...... With the win, FSU is now the only remaining GLIAC member school in the eight-team regional tournament field.
Ferris Earns NCAA Tourney Win Over WSU
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