Ann Arbor, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team officially opened its 2011-12 campaign by giving the nationally-ranked Michigan Wolverines all it could handle for much of the game on Friday (Nov. 11) evening before UM eventually posted a 59-33 victory at the renovated Crisler Arena.
The contest was the season opener for both teams and the first of consecutive games against NCAA Division I competition for the Bulldogs on back-to-back nights as FSU visits Central Michigan on Saturday (Nov. 17) night for a 7 p.m. (ET) tilt in Mount Pleasant.
The game counted as an official regular-season contest for both teams with the Wolverines pulling it out late in the second half. Michigan was ranked as one of the nation's top 20 teams in most preseason polls and reached the third round of the NCAA Division I Tournament a year ago. UM was 18th in both the Associated Press and USA Today Division I Preseason Polls.
UM led only 35-30 with 11:15 remaining in the second half before going on a big run to put the game out of reach for FSU. Michigan outscored the Bulldogs 37-17 over the final 20 minutes and shot 51.9% in the second half after being held to only 27.6% shooting in the initial frame by the Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, Ferris State had trouble putting the ball in the hole as well as the Bulldogs shot only 28% for the game and had 17 turnovers to only 10 for the Wolverines.
Evan Smotrycz and Stu Douglass both had 14 points to lead Michigan while Tim Hardaway, Jr., added 12 points in the winning effort.
FSU was paced by junior forward Daniel Sutherlin's (Detroit/Renaissance) team-high 11 points, but he was the lone Bulldog player to reach double-digits. Senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) added nine points and seven rebounds in the season-opening setback.
After coming up empty the first three possessions of the game, the Wolverines finally found a rhythm when Hardaway and Douglass nailed back-to-back three-point field goals. Smotrycz followed their lead, knocking down one of his own at the 16:13 mark to start an 11-2 run for the Wolverines.
With Michigan holding a 17-8 lead, Ferris State went on a 6-0 run, before U-M responded with a bucket by Smotrycz at the 5:33 mark as the Wolverines entered the half with the 22-16 lead.
Ferris State opened up the second frame with consecutive baskets to get within one, but Hardaway and Smotrycz provided an offensive spark again, scoring back-to-back three-pointers to start a 13-2 Wolverine run. Ahead 35-23, U-M faced another surge from the Bulldogs to cut the lead to five.
However, at the 9:56 mark, the Maize and Blue took over with a 24-3 run to secure the win. Douglass and Smotrycz fueled the run with back-to-back triples.
Ferris State was only 14-of-50 from the floor and three-of-18 (16.7%) from beyond the arc as compared to Michigan's 22-of-56 overall shooting figure. The Wolverines sank nine-of-28 (32.1%) three's and hit six-of-10 (60%) free throws to only two-of-seven (28.6%) for Ferris State.
Friday's game marked the first-ever meeting between Michigan and Ferris State in the regular season.
Saturday's contest can be heard live on the Bulldog Sports Network with Rob Bentley calling the play-by-play action from Mount Pleasant at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com. It will not be available on Sunny 97.3 FM due to hockey coverage.
• Michigan shot 39 percent (22-of-56) from the field; 28 percent (8-of-29) in the first half, and 52 percent (14-of-27) in the second half. U-M shot 32 percent (9-of-28) from three-point range; 24 percent (4-of-17) in the first half and 46 percent (5-of-11) in the second half.
• Michigan and Ferris State tied with 39 rebounds each.
• The Wolverines had 12 assists and turned the ball over 10 times.
• U-M's defense forced Ferris State into 17 turnovers, leading to 13 points.
• Michigan outscored Ferris State in points in the paint (22-14), points off turnovers (13-4), second-chance points (6-2), and fast-break points (2-0).
• The game featured one tie and three lead changes. Michigan led by as many as 26 and never trailed after Stu Douglass' three-pointer made the score 6-4 with 16:58 remaining in the first half.