Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team battled back from a big early deficit to eventually take the lead, but could not hold on as the Bulldogs suffered a 89-81 exhibition setback at home to West Michigan counterpart Davenport on Monday (Oct. 28) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Panthers, who are the preseason favorites in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference and a returning NAIA National Tournament team, bolted out to an early 20-2 edge only five minutes into the game.
However, Ferris State continued to climb back into the game as the Bulldogs eventually cut the margin to 42-34 at the break. DU shot 53.6% in the first half and came up with eight offensive boards in the opening 20 minutes in building the halftime edge.
In the second half, the Bulldogs cut the eight-point margin down to a single point only 2:40 into the half. The Panthers increased the lead back to seven only a minute later before Ferris State finally grabbed its first lead of the game at 54-52 with 11:57 to go on a layup and free throw from sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson on an old fashioned three-point play.
The Panthers answered and regained the lead at 57-56 on a free throw from Dominez Burnett with 10 minutes remaining. He hit two more charity shots only five seconds later and Braima Hai followed with a three-pointer following a missed Bulldog try to make it a six-point game.
The lead grew back to nine points with 8:16 to play before FSU again made a run to cut the deficit to a single point at 69-68 on a Dietrich Lever layup with 5:56 left in the contest.
However, the Panthers responded with a 11-3 run to push the margin to nine points and the Bulldogs could not get within three points the rest of the way. Davenport made nine free throws in the final four minutes to seal the win.
The Panthers followed up their 53.6% shooting figure in the first half with a 56% effort over the final 20 minutes to finish at an impressive 54.7% for the game. The Bulldogs shot well in the first half at 57.1%, but cooled off to 40.5% over the final period to close at 46.6% for the night.
Davenport owned a 40-31 rebounding edge as the Panthers came away with 15 offensive caroms to 13 for FSU, which helped lead to a 13-6 edge in second chance production. DU also hit 12-of-17 three-pointers to only a seven-of-16 showing for the Bulldogs.
Both teams struggled somewhat at the free throw stripe at times as Davenport finished 19-of-31 (61.3%) for the contest and the Bulldogs converted 20-of-34 (58.8%) tries. Both teams did make 13-of-18 (72.2%) over the final 20 minutes.
Ferris State did force 18 turnovers and came up with seven steals while totaling only nine miscues of its own as FSU owned a 29-17 margin in points off turnovers. The Bulldogs also were able to transition the other way with 18 fast break points to only seven for the Panthers.
Junior guard Drew Lehman followed up his 21-point effort in last Thursday's (Oct. 24) 97-92 exhibition home win over Madonna with 20 points on six-of-nine shooting. He made three-of-five three's and connected on five-of-six free throws in the setback.
Lehman was joined in double-digits by sophomore forward Josh Fleming, who totaled 18 points, including 15 in the second half. Fleming was six-of-10 from the field and also made three-of-four treys. In addition, Lever chipped in with 11 points and dished out a game-high six assists.
Behind the trio in double-figures, the Bulldogs were aided by junior James Chappell with nine points and seven rebounds. Sophomore center Jared Stolicker added eight points and a contest-best 11 rebounds along with two blocked shots. FSu also received six points and two assists from Jackson.
On the Davenport side, Burnett had the big night with 25 points, eight rebounds and two assists in 32 minutes of action. JaVontae Ford added 17 points with Dawid Czerniawski totaling 11 points.
Overall, the lead changed hands twice and the score was tied once. Both teams also totaled 32 points scored inside the paint in the game. The fouls were nearly even at the end with DU called 25 times to 24 for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State will hold an alumni game and event on Saturday (Nov. 2) with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Wink Arena. FSU then closes out the exhibition season on the road at Calvin next Thursday (Nov. 7) with tipoff also set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) in Grand Rapids.
The Bulldogs officially open the 2013-14 campaign on the road against regional foe Lewis (Ill.) on Nov. 20 in Romeoville, Ill.