PREVIEW: Men's Basketball Heads To Northwood & Lake Superior State

PREVIEW: Men's Basketball Heads To Northwood & Lake Superior State

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* The Week Ahead:
The Ferris State men's basketball team hits the road for a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) games this week.  FSU visits Northwood on Thursday, Jan. 17, for a 6 p.m. (ET) league encounter at the Bennett Sports Center in Midland.  Then, on Saturday, Jan. 19, the Bulldogs travel to face Lake Superior State inside Bud Cooper Gym starting at 1 p.m. (ET) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

* Home Ticket Info: Ferris State home basketball tickets can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit for more information.  They can also be bought online via Adult general admission tickets are $7 or the cost is $5 for FSU faculty/staff, seniors ages 65 and up or students age 3 thru 12th grade.  FSU students are admitted free with a valid student ID card.

* Media Coverage: Both games will be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame Show a half-hour prior to tipoff.  Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action. A live audio broadcast will be accessible online in addition to live internet statistics and a live pay-per-view video webcast.  For a full listing of links, please visit

* Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow all games this season  via Twitter and Facebook with updates. Please visit or to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

* Last Week: The Bulldogs moved their winning streak to four-straight games as FSU completed a four-game homestand with back-to-back league wins over preseason divisional favorite Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.  FSU topped MTU 74-66 on Thursday (Jan. 10) night before rallying for a 51-41 triumph over the Wildcats on Saturday (Jan. 12).  Senior guard Kenny Brown had 18 points in the win over Michigan Tech while sophomore guard Drew Lehman netted 16 points and 15 points, respectively, in the two games.  Sophomore guard Dietrich Lever totaled 15 points in Thursday's victory while senior forward Daniel Sutherlin also reached double-digits with 13 points on Saturday.

* Leading The Pack: In the two games last week, FSU's Drew Lehman averaged 15.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 58% (11-19) from the floor, 67% (2-3) from three-point range and 70% (7-10) at the free throw line. Lehman had 16 rebounds, four assists and three rebounds in the win over Michigan Tech.

* The Records: Ferris State (8-6, 7-3 GLIAC) posted a 16-11 overall mark a season ago while claiming a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division Championship.  FSU won 16 of its final 24 outings of the campaign.  The Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship with a 16-3 record and recorded a 24-8 overall mark two years ago while reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen in 2010-11.
Northwood (5-9, 4-6 GLIAC) shared the GLIAC North crown with the Bulldogs and Michigan Tech a year ago.  The Timberwolves have won three of their last four games to date and are coming off a 64-55 league home win over Lake Superior State last Saturday (Jan. 12).
Lake Superior State (8-5, 6-4 GLIAC) had won six consecutive games prior to last Saturday's road setback at Northwood.  They will host Grand Valley State on Thursday prior to meeting the Bulldogs.

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 11th season, 170-146 (.538) - (14-7 vs. NU, 13-7 vs. LSSU).  Sall was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Calvin College from 1985-90 and previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02).  He served as FSU's interim coach for a brief portion of the 1995-96 season.
Northwood – Jeff Rekeweg, 3rd season at NU, 17th season overall.  The 2010 NAIA National Coach of the Year and former player at Nebraska, Rekeweg guided St. Francis (Ind.) to the school's first National Championship in 2009-10 prior to taking over at NU. During his time at USF, the team posted seven 20-win seasons, won at least 14 games in 12 of his 14 seasons and reached the NAIA Tournament three times.
Lake Superior State – Steve Hettinga, 6th season at LSSU. He guided the Lakers to an NCAA Division II Tournament appearance and divisional crown in 2008-09. Previously, he served as a head coach at Olivet and MacMurray (Ill.) along with coaching the Grand Rapids Flight
in the International Basketball League (IBL).

* Nearing Century Mark: Ferris State senior guard Kenny Brown has scored 964 career points to date and is only 36 away from becoming the 26th player in school history to notch 1,000 career points.  Brown is eighth in the GLIAC in scoring to date at 16.5 points per game.

* Big Games Against NU: FSU's Kenny Brown had two of his best games of the season against Northwood a year ago.  He tallied 29 points as FSU rallied from a halftime deficit to stun NU in Midland by a 69-64 count (12/10/11) and then totaled 25 points as the Bulldogs won a thriller over the Timberwolves by a 74-69 score in Big Rapids (1/14/12).

* Coming Up Next: Ferris State is back at home for an important GLIAC North Division battle against Wayne State on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 6 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.  FSU then heads to Saginaw Valley State for a league game on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 5 p.m. (ET).

* National Stat Leaders: Senior guard Kenny Brown currently ranks second in the nation in free throw percentage at 96.5% this season.  He's 55-of-57 on the year.  FSU also ranks fifth nationally as a team in fewest turnovers with only 10.9 miscues per game.

* Notes From Last Week: Ferris State improved to 20-3 all-time against Northern Michigan under head coach Bill Sall with Saturday's triumph over the Wildcats ..... Saturday's victory was Ferris State's 10th-straight against NMU ...... FSU had only seven turnovers in the win over Michigan Tech.

* Key Bulldog Notes: The Bulldog men's basketball team welcomes back eight letterwinners from last year's squad that won a share of a second consecutive GLIAC North Division Championship. FSU ended the 2011-12 men's hoops campaign with a 16-11 overall record. The Bulldogs also made their 13th all-time GLIAC Tournament berth last year, including the program's fourth-straight conference tournament appearance. Overall, Ferris State has won four league titles and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament in head coach Bill Sall's tenure. The Bulldogs were chosen third in this season's GLIAC North Preseason Poll.

* Looking At The Opposition: Northwood heads into Thursday's tilt with a 5-9 overall mark and a 4-6 league record under third-year head coach Jeff Rekeweg, but has won three of its last four games overall.  The Timberwolves shared the divisional crown with FSU and MTU a year ago and are paced in scoring by sophomore center Will Bowles (13.2 ppg.).  They are 4-2 at home, but have yet to win a road game (0-7) ...... Lake Superior State is 8-5 overall and 6-4 in the GLIAC following last Saturday's 64-55 loss at Northwood. Sixth-year head coach Steve Hettinga's team had won six-straight games prior to the setback and will host Grand Valley State on Thursday.  They are paced by junior guard Derek Billing (16.1 ppg.).

* All-GLIAC Honors Last Year: FSU's Kenny Brown scored in double-digits in 22 of 26 games a year ago en route to claiming All-GLIAC First Team accolades. FSU forward Daniel Sutherlin was chosen as an All-GLIAC Second Team pick for the first time in his career while guard Dontae Molden wrapped up his standout career by being named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team for the second consecutive campaign.  Sutherlin was also among the 10 named to the All-Defensive Team in addition to earning second-team accolades.

* GLIAC Preseason Poll: Ferris State was picked to finish third in the 2012-13 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the league office.  Michigan Tech claimed top honors in the North Division with Wayne State listed second. Findlay was tabbed as the South Division favorite.

* Preseason All-GLIAC: Ferris State senior guard Kenny Brown was tabbed as a preseason All-GLIAC First Team honoree as announced by the league office while senior forward Daniel Sutherlin claimed preseson second team accolades for the Bulldogs.

* First Official Games:  The Bulldogs had five players make their first official collegiate debuts in regular-season play in the season opener against Lewis (Nov. 15).  The figure included a pair of redshirt freshmen players in center Jared Stolicker (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg) along with guard Milton Cribbs (Detroit/Inkster).

* The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2012-13 roster includes two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. Seven of the 14 players are primarily guards while the remaining seven are frontcourt players. Ten of the 14 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan with three from Illinois and one from Ohio.

* Bulldog Notes: Ferris State has posted 40 winning campaigns and 46 non-losing seasons in its more than 80 seasons of competition.

* Successful Season: Last year's divisional title was FSU's fourth under head coach Bill Sall and second in a row. FSU also won back-to-back GLIAC North crowns in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  The Bulldogs' 24 victories in 2010-11 were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league regular-season wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

* FSU History: Ferris State's impressive basketball tradition includes 13 GLIAC titles, nine NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and a berth in the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris, which last won the GLIAC Tournament championship during the 1997-98 campaign, captured a then league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90.

* Last Year's Matchups: Ferris State swept both Northwood and Lake Superior State a year ago.  The Bulldogs rallied from a 21-point second half deficit to stun Northwood 69-64 in the first meeting in Midland (12/10/11) behind 29 points from Kenny Brown.  FSU then topped the Timberwolves 74-69 in an overtime thriller in Big Rapids (1/14/12) ..... FSU beat Lake Superior State 64-58 in Sault Ste. Marie (1/5/12) before pulling out a 73-64 home win in Big Rapids (2/2/12).

* NU Series History: Ferris holds a 54-24 advantage entering Thursday's 77yh meeting with Northwood. The Bulldogs have claimed 12 of the last 16 matchups to date, including two wins in each of the last two campaigns. FSU head coach Bill Sall currently owns a 14-7 mark to date versus NU.

* LSSU Series History: Ferris holds a 77-48 lead heading into Saturday's 126th meeting versus LSSU. The Bulldogs beat the Lakers twice in each of the last two seasons. Ferris head coach Bill Sall owns a current 13-7 career coaching mark against Lake Superior State. The Bulldogs have won 13 of the last 20 series' matchups overall.

* Youth Served: The Bulldogs have nine freshmen or sophomores on the roster this season.  Ferris State had one of the nation's youngest teams and largest rookie classes in 2007-08 with nine freshmen.  Four of those freshmen became four-year letterwinners and led FSU to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2010-11 with Justin Keenan, Darien Gay, Matt DeHart and Lou Williams.

* Season Of Firsts: The FSU men's basketball team was one of three Bulldog teams to win a league championship last winter along with the women's hoops team that won the GLIAC North Championship and the Bulldog Hockey team, which claimed the CCHA Regular-Season crown and reached the national championship game at the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four.

* Home Court Edge: Ferris State owned a 14-2 mark at home in 2010-11 and has won 32 of its last 40 games at Wink Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign.

* Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, 11th-year FSU head coach Bill Sall previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02) prior to being named Ferris State's 11th head coach.  Before joining the coaching ranks, Sall was a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90. He twice (1989-90) received second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-America honors and led Calvin to three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) championships, four NCAA-III Tournament bids and the 1990 NCAA-III Final Four.

* Two Years Ago: Ferris State concluded the 2010-11 season two years ago by reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also won  the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals/Finals in 2010-11 while finishing with a 24-8 overall record.  FSU had to replace four key starters last campaign from a team that fell to eventual D2 national champion Bellarmine in the regional finals, but still managed to win a share of a second-straight league crown in 2011-12.

* Pertinent Fact: The Bulldogs' 24 victories in 2010-11 were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

* Outstanding Success: Ferris' 24 victories in 2010-11 tied for the program's most in the last 23 seasons along with 2004-05 when the Bulldogs reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen and recorded a 24-7 mark.  Overall, the 24 wins tied for the program's third-most in more than 80 seasons of basketball action dating back to the 1920's.

* Going Back In Time: The 2010-11 campaign marked the first time the Bulldogs had reached the NCAA-II Tournament, made the GLIAC Tournament Championship Game and achieved 20 wins or more all in the same season since the 1997-98 campaign.

* Back To The Dance: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall was an assistant coach under former head coach Edgar Wilson when the Bulldogs won the GLIAC Tournament for the only time in school history to reach the NCAA-II Tourney in 1997-98.  Therefore, he's been involved in the last four of FSU's nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

* A Great Run: Ferris won back-to-back GLIAC North Division crowns under Bill Sall in 2003-04 and 2004-05 while also reaching the NCAA-II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06.  FSU also previously advanced to the NCAA-II "Sweet Sixteen" during the 2004-05 season, which was Sall's third season at the helm.  Last year's GLIAC title was the fourth under his direction.

* Tremendous Turnaround: The Bulldogs had posted only a 21-82 (.204) mark in the four seasons prior to head coach Bill Sall's arrival, but have since went 164-138 (.543) and claimed four divisional titles while making three NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his 10 seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* All-Tourney Team: Senior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) came alive for the Bulldogs as a sophomore in the 2010-11 NCAA Tournament run and was recognized as an All-Tournament Team selection after helping the Bulldogs to the regional title game.  Brown came off the bench to average a team second-best 19.3 points per game in three NCAA contests, including a game-high 27 points in a regional-opening win over Wayne State and 22 versus Drury (Mo.) in the semifinals.

* Key Returnee: Senior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) has been a valuable contributor over each of his three seasons for the Bulldogs.  The 6-5 Sutherlin, a three-year letterwinner, has played in 95 games and made 50 starts in his FSU career.  He's currently 13 rebounds shy of notching his 500th career board heading into Thursday's game against Northwood.

* Great Campaign: FSU's 24-8 overall men's hoops mark in 2010-11 was the program's best since posting a 24-7 record and also reaching the regional final in 2004-05.  Overall, the 24 wins recorded by the Bulldogs was tied for the third-highest total in school history and FSU's 16 league regular-season victories was best in the conference and tied for the most GLIAC wins in Bulldog annals.

* GLIAC Award Winner: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall earned the GLIAC's Coach of the Year honor after directing the Bulldogs to their first GLIAC North Division Championship in six years with a 16-3 league regular season mark in 2010-11.  FSU's 24 wins overall were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark under Sall's leadership in 2004-05.  The 11th-year head coach has guided Ferris State to seven GLIAC Tournament berths in the last eight years and FSU cracked the national rankings for the first time in more than four years two seasons ago.  Additionally, Sall's 2010-11 squad earned the league's top overall seed and the right to host the GLIAC Semifinals/Finals for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

* Change Of Fortune: Ferris suffered five-straight losing seasons from 1998-99 to 2002-03, but has since captured four GLIAC North Division titles, made eight GLIAC Tournament appearances, advanced to three NCAA-II Tournaments and claimed two conference tournament runner-up finishes over the last 10 seasons.

* Assistant Coach: The Bulldogs welcome back third-year full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, who had served as a volunteer assistant for three years before replacing longtime assistant coach Cory Anderson prior to the 2010-11 campaign. Bronkema was a collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. As a player, he served as team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels.

* The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, Bill Sall also has three familiar faces serving as assistants in Bill Killian, Ed Douma and Jim Lake. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program throughout Sall's tenure and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Lake returned to the Bulldog staff last eason after coaching AAU basketball for the Grand Rapids Storm and serving as a prep head coach at Chippewa Hills High School.  He was also part of the Bulldog staff during FSU's back-to-back GLIAC title run in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  

* Veteran Experience: Longtime college basketball coach Ed Douma joined the Bulldog staff for the 2009-10 season and embarks on his fourth season with the Bulldogs this year. Douma most recently served as head coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale until 2007. His experience includes 33 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, including at his alma mater, Calvin College (NCAA-III), where he guided the Knights to the NCAA-III National Championship in 1991-92. He has also served as head coach at Alma College (NCAA-III), fellow GLIAC member Lake Superior State (NAIA), Kent State (NCAA-I) and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (NCAA-III). Douma owned a career mark of 561-295 and also won two MHSAA Class C State Championships at Shelby High School. FSU head caoch Bill Sall played for Douma at Calvin and also served as one of his assistant coaches at both Calvin and Hillsdale.

* Sixteen Wins: FSU's 16 victories last year represented the sixth time in head coach Bill Sall's 10 years the Bulldogs had won at least 14 games in a campaign. It also marked the 10th consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under Sall.  Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had won 10 games or more only twice in the seven previous seasons.

* Former Standout: Ferris State entered last season having to replace four key players from its 2010-11 Sweet Sixteen squad, including the 2010-11 Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in Justin Keenan.  He wrapped up his career as the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader was a two-time GLIAC Player of the Year Award honoree along with twice earning All-America accolades.  Currently, he's midst his second season of professional basketball in Uruguay this campaign.

* Interesting Note: Last year represented the 10th consecutive year the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under head coach Bill Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.