Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad picked up its first victory of the 2012-13 campaign on Tuesday (Nov. 20) night as the Bulldogs held on for a 76-73 win over Grace Bible at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
FSU topped the four-time defending National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Champions behind a game-high 26 points from sophomore guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Catholic Central) along with a 16-of-22 (72.7%) performance from the free throw stripe.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 1-1 overall this season while the Tigers fell to 3-6 on the year. The contest was Grace Bible's fourth outing in the last five days.
The Bulldogs started quickly and held a seven-point lead only two minutes into the contest, but the Tigers battled back to grab a two-point lead midway thru the opening half. FSU surged ahead again by 10 points with 3:56 remaining in the period before Grace Bible cut the margin to two points at the break.
The game went back and forth throughout the second half as the game featured 16 lead changes along with the score tied 12 times. Ferris State took a 60-52 lead with 7:01 to play and appeared to have the game in hand, but a quick Tiger rally gave Grace Bible the advantage with five minutes left.
Grace took its final lead by a single point with 2:38 remaining befroe the Bulldogs answered with a three-pointer from sophmore guard Dietrich Lever (Detroit/Canton). After the Tigers tied it back up on a layup from Zach Shutte, FSU responded with a layup in the paint from redshirt freshman center Jared Stolicker (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg).
However, the Tigers again tied the game with 49 seconds left as Nick Mascorro scored. A foul sent FSU senior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) to the free throw line and he knocked down both shots to push the Bulldogs ahead 72-70. A missed three-point from Mascorro at the other end led to a foul and Lehman converted four free throws in the final 22 seconds to seal the win.
Lehman's 26 points on nine-of-14 shooting included a four-of-eight effort from the three-point stripe and his total represented a personal career-high. Brown added 11 points in his first regular-season game of the year while Lever had 10 points, all in the second half.
Ferris State shot 51.7% in the final half to finish at 42.6% (26-61) shooting for the game in comparison to Grace Bible's 45.9% (28-61) clip. FSU made eight-of-22 (36.4%) three's with the Tigers hitting nine-of-22 (40.9%) beyond the arc in addition to making all eight of their free throw attempts.
The Bulldogs owned a 38-31 rebounding margin and grabbed 15 offensive boards to only seven for the guests, which gave FSU a slim 12-10 advantage in second chance scoring. Both teams finished with 12 turnovers although FSU turned Grace Bible's miscues into a 16-10 edge in points off turnovers.
Lever had six of FSU's 15 assists in the contest while Brown had three. The Bulldogs also had eight steals and blocked six shots, with three coming from Stolicker and two by senior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance). He added eight points and six boards with Stolicker contributing seven points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The Tigers were paced by Schutte's 17-point effort. Greg Salmon added 11 points for GBC, which netted 11 assists, six steals and three blocks on the night.
The win was the Bulldogs' third all-time regular-season triumph over the Tigers, who recorded their lone win over the Bulldogs back in the 2008-09 campaign.
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Sunday, Nov. 25, as FSU hosts nationally seventh-ranked Winona State (Minn.) in a 3 p.m. (ET) non-league matchup at Wink Arena. Tickets for Sunday's contest can be purchased in advance via StarTickets.com or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more information.