Findlay, Ohio - For the third consecutive time, the Ferris State men's basketball squad led a talented Findlay team at halftime on the road inside a hostile environment at UF's Croy Gymnasium, but unfortunately the Bulldogs could not pick up their first-ever win over the Oilers in the building as they dropped a 62-55 quarterfinal-round decision in the 2013 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament on Wednesday (March 6) evening.
With the loss, the sixth-seeded Bulldogs saw their season come to a close with a 14-13 overall record and the game marked the official end of the careers of two Ferris State seniors in talented shooting guard Kenny Brown and forward Daniel Sutherlin, who was not able to play the final two weeks of his career due to injury. Together, the two combined to help lead FSU to a pair of GLIAC North Division championships in their careers along with a NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen appearance two years ago.
Third-seeded Findlay advanced to the conference semifinals and picked up its 20th victory of the year by rallying back from a eight-point halftime deficit and outscoring FSU 40-25 over the final 20 minutes.
Ferris State surged in front at the break with a late first-half run before the Oilers responded in the second half in front of their home fans. FSU was limited to only 30.9% shooting for the game and struggled behind the three-point stripe as they connected on only three-of-25 (12%) three's.
The Bulldogs did dominate on the glass most of the night as FSU finished with a 43-37 rebounding margin and grabbed 23 offensive boards to only 10 for the hosts. Findlay shot 44.7% for the contest and was five-of-14 (35.7%) from downtown along with 15-of-23 (65.2%) at the line.
Ferris State led 30-22 at halftime after closing the half on a 12-3 run, but Findlay started the second half quickly and grabbed a 32-30 edge only four minutes into the final period.
FSU led for the final time at 45-44 with nine minutes to go before Findlay answered with three-straight baskets to grab a six point-edge. After the Oilers took a 53-47 margin with six minutes to play, neither team was able to score for nearly three minutes until the Bulldogs trimmed it back to four. The oilers eventually made seven free throws in the final 1:14 to seal the win.
Sophomore guard Drew Lehman led the Bulldogs in a return to his home state as he tallied a game-high 15 points and added six rebounds. Brown added 14 points in his final contest while sophomore guard Dietrich Lever chipped in nine points for FSU.
The Oilers were paced by Brad Piehl with 14 points. Greg Kahlig chipped in 11 points while Jack Smith scored 11 points off the bench and Alphonso Baity contributed 10 points.
Both teams turned the ball over 14 times in the outing and both teams finished with nine steals each in the game.
Ferris State outscored the Oilers 26-20 in the paint and held a 9-7 edge in fast break scoring along with a 11-10 margin in second chance production. Neither team led by more than eight points in the game.
The outing marked the third consecutive time in which the Bulldogs had a lead over the Oilers at Croy Gymnasium. FSU lost each of the last two years in regular-season action versus Findlay on the road, including a thrilling 82-81 overtime decision earlier this year.
The trip to the GLIAC Tournament was the Bulldogs' eighth in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the top stretches over the past decade of any conference team along with Findlay.
With the victory, Findlay will advance to the league tournament semifinals this Saturday (March 9) in Houghton, Mich.