Postgame Press Conference
(Head Coach Bill Sall)
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad provided the fans with plenty of excitement in the Bulldogs' regular-season home finale on Wednesday (Feb. 22) night, but unfortunately the Bulldogs came out on the short end of a thrilling 84-83 overtime decision in an instant classic against Hillsdale at Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs fought back from a 17-point first half deficit and erased a five-point Charger lead in the final 10 seconds of the contest to nearly win the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) game and force the extra session.
After Hillsdale took a four-point lead with 23 seconds left in regulation on a pair of made free throws, FSU junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) cut the margin to a single point on a three-point basket with eight seconds to play. The Bulldogs fouled and Hillsdale's Brad Guinane converted the first free throw to push the advantage back to two points.
However, Guinane missed the second free throw and Brown connected on a long jumper near the three-point arc in the corner as time expired. The Bulldog fans stored the floor believing Brown had hit a three-pointer to win the game, but after a discussion the officials ruled the basket a two-point shot and the teams headed to overtime.
In the extra session, the Bulldogs grabbed a five-point lead at 83-78 with just under three minutes left. Guinane hit a free throw to trim the margin to four points with 2:39 remaining and after a defensive stop, Hillsdale's Brent Eaton pulled the Chargers within one on a three-pointer with 1:12 to go.
Brown missed a shot in the final minute and the Chargers scored on a layup by Guinane to take a one-point advantage after an offensive board with just under eight seconds remaining. The Bulldogs were able to get the ball inside to junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) in the closing seconds, but his shot in the paint misfired and no foul was called as the horn sounded to give Hillsdale the road triumph.
Overall, the game featured 10 lead changes and was tied eight times despite the fact the Bulldogs didn't take their first lead until only 8:30 was left in regulation.
Hillsdale, which claimed this year's GLIAC South Division Championship, closed out the regular-season with a 22-4 overall record and a 16-3 conference slate. FSU fell to 15-10 overall and 12-6 in the GLIAC with the loss.
The Bulldogs entered the contest tied with Northwood atop the GLIAC North Division standings and close out the regular-season on the road at Grand Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 25) evening. Meanwhile, Northwood must play two road contests this week at Northern Michigan and Michigan Tech, which also entered the week within a game of FSU and NU in the division.
Brown paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 29 points on 11-of-27 shooting and made six three's in the contest while playing 41 minutes. He was joined in double-figures by Sutherlin with 16 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double effort.
FSU also received 13 points and a contest-best 14 rebounds from senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) in another double-double showing while senior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) added 11 points for Ferris State.
The Bulldogs shot 41.2% from the floor, but were only two-of-seven (28.6%) in the overtime session. FSU made nine-of-30 (30%) three's and hit 18-of-27 (66.7%) free throws.
On the opposite side, Hillsdale was led by both Guinane and senior guard Tyler Gerber, who each had 20 points. Eaton added 14 points and Brandon Pritzi chipped in with 10 points in the victory.
Hillsdale shot 50% from the floor in the first and finished with a 48.1% clip, which including making three-of-seven (42.9%) buckets in OT. The Chargers were seven-of-24 (29.2%) beyond the arc and 25-of-32 (78.1%) at the stripe.
The Chargers owned a slim 39-38 rebounding edge and outscored FSU 13-9 in second chance production despite the fact the Bulldogs totaled 13 offensive boards to only seven for the visitors. FSU also forced 14 Charger turnovers while having only 11 of its own as FSU managed to own a 16-15 margin in points off miscues.
Ferris State finished with nine assists as Sanders had five and Molden three for the Bulldogs. FSU also had 10 steals with three each coming from both Molden and Sanders. Meanwhile, Hillsdale compiled nine assists, nine steals and also had four blocked shots.
The contest marked the final regular-season home game for the Bulldogs and FSU honored four seniors prior to the game as part of "Senior Night" activities, including Molden, Sanders, senior center Jim Boylan (Grayling) and senior forward Spencer Sellner (Lowell).
Ferris State will visit Grand Valley State on Saturday for its last GLIAC regular-season matchup this campaign. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET) inside the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena and the contest will be carried live online only by the Bulldog Sports Network at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com
Game Notes: Ferris dropped to 61-44 all-time versus the Chargers .... Hillsdale has now won seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams .... Former Bulldog standout Justin Keenan, who was the 2010-11 Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year and is currently playing overseas, was on hand for the game ..... The Bulldogs received a significant crowd boost as the entire FSU football team was in attendance and stood cheering throughout the game .... The loss was the third consecutive setback for the Bulldogs with all three decisions coming by five points or less against the top three teams record-wise in the conference, including two losses in overtime ..... FSU has clinched a GLIAC Tournament berth and could still potentially host a quarterfinal-round matchup on Feb. 29 pending the conclusion of league regular-season play this week.