Allendale, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad claimed a share of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Championship with an exciting 63-56 win over rival Grand Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 25) night in the regular-season finale at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.
With the win, the Bulldogs finished tied atop the GLIAC North with both Michigan Tech and Northwood as all three teams finished with 13-6 league records. The title is the second-straight for the Bulldogs, who won the GLIAC North outright a year ago en route to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen.
In the league's tiebreaker formula, Michigan Tech will earn the fourth seed for next week's GLIAC Tournament and host the fifth-seeded Bulldogs on Wednesday (Feb. 29) night in quarterfinal-round play at Houghton.
Senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) ed the Bulldogs with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the game while junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) chipped in with 13 points. Both players had big nights inside against a bigger Laker lineup.
FSU improved to 16-10 overall with the triumph while GVSU dropped to 14-12 on the year. The win was also the Bulldogs' second-straight this season over the Lakers in the West Michigan rivalry matchup.
The Lakers were led by Nick Waddell with 16 points. Tyrone Lee added 15 points while James Thomas chipped in with 12 points.
Ferris State shot 42.6% from the floor en route to the victory and limited GVSU to only 38.5% shooting at the other end. The Bulldogs hit four-of-22 (18.2%) three's and made 13-of-22 (59.1%) free throws as compared to GVSU's one-of-14 (7.1%) showing from beyond the arc and 15-of-17 (88.2%) effort at the free throw stripe.
FSU held a 38-30 rebounding margin for the game and came up with 16 offensive boards, including several big ones in the closing minutes of the game. The showing allowed FSU to outscore the Lakers 12-9 in second chance production.
Both teams totaled only nine turnovers in the game and FSU finished with 12 assists, five steals and three blocked shots in comparison to GVSU's eight assists, six steals and two blocks. Sutherlin had four of FSU's five steals in the game.
The Bulldogs also received nine points from junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) in addition to eight points, six rebounds and three assists by senior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing). Freshman guard Dietrich Lever (Detroit/Canton) added seven points and a game-high seven assists in the win.
FSU played only seven players in the game, but all seven played at least 15 minutes and scored at least five points. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Bulldogs, who had dropped all three by less than five points with two going to overtime prior to Saturday's win.
An announced crowd of 2,606 fans were on hand for the rivalry game. Despite the setback, GVSU will be the number seven seed for the conference tournament and travel to Findlay on Wednesday night to face the Oilers in the opening round.
Tipoff for Wednesday's Bulldog game against Michigan Tech in the GLIAC Quarterfinals at MTU's Student Development Complex Gymansium in Houghton is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (ET). More information on the game will be coming soon.