October 30, 2011

FSU Battles Michigan State In Exhibition Contest

 Bill Sall Postgame Press Conference
 MSU vs. FSU Video Highlights
 Tom Izzo Postgame Press Audio
 Postgame Quotes

East Lansing, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad battled perennial NCAA Division I power Michigan State for much of the way in Sunday's (Oct. 30) exhibition contest before the Spartans pulled out an 85-58 victory at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

The Bulldogs grabbed a five-point lead only 1:32 into the contest and were down only nine with 15:13 left in the contest before the Spartans went on a 16-5 run to push the lead to 20 points with 7:57 to go and closed the door on FSU.

Ferris State played five freshmen in the contest, who all saw their first collegiate action before an announced crowd of 14,797 fans, which is believed to be one of the largest the Bulldogs have ever played in front of in school history.

FSU started hot early as senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) tallied 10 points in the opening half.  He finished with a team-high tying 14 points in the game and had a squad-best six rebounds and three steals in his return to the court after missing most of last year due to injury.

"You know, I think Jerrell has a lot of skill and some size and athleticism," FSU head coach Bill Sall said.  "Last year, we played Indiana and he had a very good game as well, so he is one of those small college players that has really refined his game since he was in high school and has really become a great player."

Junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) added 14 points for the Bulldogs as well and the duo was joined in double-digits by senior point guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) with 10 points. He added six assists and a pair of steals against the Spartans.

"To tell you the truth, at the beginning of the game our guys didn't have that deer in the headlights look," said Sall.  "They came out and competed really well and I was really happy with that."

On the opposite side, Michigan State had four players reach double-figure scoring as both Branden Dawson and Derrick Nix finished with 15 points, Keith Appling chipped in 12 points and Draymond Green totaled 11 points.  Green dished out eight assists and grabbed six boards in a solid all-around effort.

Ferris State shot 41.1% (23-56) from the floor and hit six-of-22 (27.3%) three-points while limiting MSU to a three-of-18 (16.7%) effort beyond the arc.  The Spartans made 46.3% (31-67) of their field goal tries and had a decisive advantage at the free throw stripe where they were 20-of-27 (74.1%) as compared to FSU's six-of-11 (54.5%) figure.

MSU outrebounded Ferris State by a 45-29 count and had 21 offensive boards to only 12 for the Bulldogs, which helped the Spartans post a decisive 22-9 edge in second chance scoring for the contest.  

The Bulldogs recorded 14 assists, seven steals and had two blocked shots with MSU finishing with 13 assists, six thefts and four blocks on the day.  Ferris was limited to only 39.3% shooting in the second half by the taller, bigger and longer Spartan lineup.

"I think Ferris ran some nice stuff and was a very well-coached team," said Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo. "They played a little zone, a little man-to-man, they pressured a little bit, so that's going to help us. I think they're going to be okay as the year goes on."

The Spartans went deeper down their bench late in the contest, but five key players saw 20 minutes of action or more, including Green, who played a team-high 28 minutes.  Sutherlin led the Bulldogs with 36 minutes of action.

In addition to being the first exhibition contest of the season for the Bulldogs, it also marked the first time on the floor without four key starters who graduated after guiding FSU to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship in 2011-12, including last year's NCAA Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in Justin Keenan.

Ferris State will return home to host Grace Bible College in exhibition play on Wednesday, Nov. 2, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.

The contest against the Spartans represented the first of three games against NCAA Division I competition for the Bulldogs as FSU's first two regular-season contests will be at Michigan and Central Michigan on Nov. 11 and 12, respectively.

"I would just like to thank the Michigan State family and coach Izzo for allowing us to come down here," said Sall. "I think it was a thrill of a lifetime for the players to actually have a chance to play on Breslin's court, as well as the head coaches. We certainly enjoyed our time here today."

Bulldog Bites: True freshman Drew Lehman (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) received a starting nod for the Bulldogs in the contest ..... FSU played without junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison), who was an NCAA Division II All-Tournament Team selection last year ........ Senior center Jim Boylan (Grayling) received his first start as a Bulldog and pulled down five rebounds with three points in 15 minutes of action despite being hampered with foul trouble ...... Nine of the 10 Bulldog players who saw action scored in the contest.

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