Postgame Press Conference
(Coach Bill Sall, Kenny Brown, Daniel Sutherlin)
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad erupted in the second half to post a decisive 82-57 win over visiting Lake Erie on Thursday (Feb. 9) evening at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs led by only two points, 34-32, at halftime, but outscored the Storm 48-25 over the final 20 minutes to build a two-game lead atop the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division standings.
With the win, FSU improved to 14-7 overall and 11-3 in league play with five games left in the regular season for the defending GLIAC North Division Champions. Both Michigan Tech and Northwood are 9-5 in conference play and trail FSU in the division.
Thursday's win was the fifth-straight victory for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State handed Lake Erie a loss in its first-ever visit to Wink Arena as the Bulldogs shot a blistering 56% (28-50) from the floor, including a 65.4% (17-26) showing over the final 20 minutes.
The Bulldogs received a game-high 29 points from junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison), who hit 10-of-14 shots from the floor and was five-of-eight beyond the three-point arc.
Additionally, freshman guard Dietrich Lever (Detroit/Canton) added a career-high 19 points while making six-of-eight shots from the field and two-of-three long range tries.
Bulldog junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) also had a strong game as he registered a double-double showing with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to go with four steals. Meanwhile, senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) added both seven points and seven boards.
FSU also received a solid contribution from freshman forward Trent Messer (Richland/Gull Lake), who netted five points, three boards, two steals and two blocked shots in 14 minutes of action. Senior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) dished out a team-high seven assists with freshman guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) contributing five points and four rebounds.
Lake Erie jumped out to a seven-point lead only four minutes into the contest, which featured nine lead changes on the night. FSU battled back and took a two-point lead at the break on a three-pointer from Sutherlin in the closing seconds of the first period.
The second half was a completely different story as FSU increased its advantage to 11 points only six minutes into the stanza by opening the period on a 15-4 run. The lead grew to as many as 29 points with 3:54 remaining as FSU closed the door on the Storm.
Lake Erie was led by Rich Austin with 17 points and eight rebounds, but he was the lone Storm player to reach double-figure scoring.
FSU owned a 36-27 rebounding advantage versus Lake Erie despite giving up nine offensive caroms, which helped lead to LEC's 8-3 advantage in second chance production. FSU also turned the ball over 12 times to only 11 for the Storm as Lake Erie held a 12-8 margin in points off turnovers.
Defensively, Ferris State limited Lake Erie to only 39% (23-59) shooting for the game and allowed LEC to convert only 30% (9-30) of its field goal tries in the second half. The Storm also struggled behind the three-point line where they were only three-of-17 (17.6%) for the game. They made eight-of-14 (57.1%) free throws.
On the opposite side, the Bulldogs shot 50% (9-18) from beyond the three-point arc and sank 17-of-24 (70.8%) free thorws in notching the win.
FSU also held a 15-11 edge in assists and totaled nine steals with two blocked shots compared to Lake Erie's six steals and a single block.
While Lake Erie outscored FSU 32-26 in the paint, the Bulldogs did receive 29 points off their bench to only 23 for the Storm.
Lake Erie, which is in its second season as a GLIAC member, dropped to 8-13 overall and 3-11 in league play this campaign.
The Bulldogs celebrated "Pink Wave Night" as part of Thursday's activities to help support cancer research. The teams wore navy blue and pink shooting shirts while players had pink attire. Many fans in attendance also displayed pink colors as FSU teamed up with Colleges vs. Cancer for the third year in a row.
The Bulldogs wrap up their five-game homestand with a key league tilt on Saturday (Feb. 11) versus Ashland at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) and it will be "Kidz Day" sponsored by Jet's Pizza as all youth in grades K-12 will receive free admission with a paid adult.