Men's Basketball Battles Lewis To End In Regional Showdown In Season Opener
Romeoville, Ill. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team battled hard to the wire, but came out on the short end of a 78-72 decision to Lewis University (Ill.) on the road at Neil Carey Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 20) night in Romeoville, Ill.
The contest marked the official regular-season debut for first-year Bulldog head coach Andy Bronkema.
Ferris State led by three late in the contest before the Flyers nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 70 points apiece and eventually took the lead for good. LU went on a 11-2 spurt over the final 1:57 to post the come-from-behind regional victory over the Bulldogs.
Lewis improved to 2-0 on the year as the Bulldogs dropped their first game in 2013-14 in the heated road battle. It marked the fifth consecutive year in which the two teams have squared off early in the year in non-league action.
Ryan Jackson paced four Lewis players in double-figures with a game-high 22 points and hit five three-pointers in the victory. FSU finished only three-of-14 (21.4%) from three-point range.
The Flyers also received 11 points each from Julian Lewis and Jeff Jarosz while David Niggins added 10 off the bench and connected on a pair of three-point baskets.
Four Bulldog players also reached double-digits with Dietrich Lever leading the way with 14 points. Drew Lehman added 13 points, Matt Poches totaled 12 points and Jared Stolicker had 10 points along with a team-high tying seven rebounds.
Ferris State finished shooting 46% from the floor compared to Lewis' 43.5% showing. However, FSU also had 11 turnovers to only seven for the Flyers.
In a game that featured 11 ties and seven lead changes, the Bulldogs held a 70-67 advantage over the Flyers with 2:24 remaining in the contest following a Stolicker lay-up.
Lewis' Jackson answered on the Flyers' ensuing possession with a trifecta - his fifth and final one of the evening - from the corner to even the score up at 70.
Ferris State was unable to answer Jackson's trey, and Lewis forward Nick Valla put the Flyers ahead for good at 72-70 with a lay-up with 1:02 left in the game. Valla - who also went 4-for-4 from the free throw line in the final 37 seconds - finished with eight points and a game-high five assists.
In the final 3:10 of the game, Lewis held FSU to 16.7% (1-for-6) shooting and forced a turnover.
With the victory, Lewis improved to 11-4 all-time versus the Bulldogs and has now won three consecutive series' matchups. The Flyers return 11 letterwinners this season from a team that won 19 games a year ago and narrowly missed reaching the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs will travel to Minnesota this weekend (Nov. 23-24) for two games against highly-regarded Winona State (Minn.) and Concordia-St. Paul. FSU will face the host Warriors for the second consecutive season in the opening day of action on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. (ET).