PREVIEW: Ferris State Men's Basketball Takes On Golden Eagles Saturday

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The Game:
The final Ferris State University athletics event of the 2013 calendar year takes place this Saturday (Dec. 21) as the Bulldog men's basketball team hosts Cornerstone University in a West Michigan showdown at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff for the non-conference contest is slated for a 3 p.m. (ET) start.

Media Coverage: Saturday's game 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 and pay-per-view video webcast will also be accessible. For a full listing of links, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

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 www.facebook.com/FerrisMBasketball or www.twitter.com/FerrisMBBALL to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

Close Connection: First-year Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema will square off against his alma mater in the game. Bronkema was a standout player for the Golden Eagles and a two-time NAIA Honorable Mention All-America pick during his collegiate career under Cornerstone head coach Kim Elders, who's in his 21st season at the Golden Eagles' helm.

Unbeaten In GLIAC: The Bulldogs are one of two remaining Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) schools still unbeaten in conference play along with Grand Valley State and are off to their best league start since the 2005-06 season at 4-0 in the GLIAC.

New Head Coach: FSU's season opener at Lewis (Nov. 15) marked the official regular-season debut for first-year Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema, who was elevated to the position after six years as an assistant coach under former Bulldog head coach Bill Sall in July.   

Last year: Last season, with Bronkema as the Bulldogs' top assistant, Ferris State wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 14-13 overall record and the Bulldogs reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade.

The Records: Ferris State (4-3, 4-0 GLIAC) enters Saturday afternoon's tilt with a 4-3 overall record to date this season and FSU has won four-straight games under head coach Andy Bronkema's direction heading into the afternoon contest. FSU is coming off a road sweep over Ohio Dominican and Tiffin earlier this week.
   
Cornerstone (11-2, 6-1 WHAC) is also off to a great start as the Golden Eagles will enter the matchup with a 11-2 overall record. They also own a 6-1 mark in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) action. CU has won its last seven outings to date this year. The Golden Eagles recorded a 81-54 league road win at Michigan-Dearborn on Thursday (Dec. 19) night when they were led in scoring by Jake Plite with 16 points. Head Coach Kim Elders is in his 21st season at the helm.

The Head Coach: Ferris State – Andy Bronkema (Cornerstone), 1st season, 4-3 (.571) - (0-0 vs. Cornerstone).  Bronkema takes over the Bulldog program this season following six years as an assistant coach, including the last three as the program's top assistant. A collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels. He was a multi-sport prep standout at McBain (Mich.) High School.

Bronkema played under current head coach Kim Elders during his collegiate career at Cornerstone. In his four years of college hoops, Bronkema helped the Golden Eagles to two regular-season WHAC Championships, one WHAC Tournament crown and four national tournament appearances, including a NAIA Final Four showing. He concluded his collegiate career with 1,725 points, 982 rebounds, 336 assists along with 140 steals.
   
Scouting Cornerstone: Cornerstone is also off to a great start as the Golden Eagles will enter the matchup with a 11-2 overall record. They also own a 6-1 mark in Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) action. CU has won its last seven outings to date this year. Cornerstone finished 21-11 overall a season ago and have averaged 27 victories, appeared in three NAIA Final Fours, gone to three Elite Eights and had one Sweet Sixteen appearance over the past 14 seasons under Elders' direction. The Golden Eagles also captured NAIA national titles in 1999 and 2011.

Series History: Ferris State and Cornerstone last met in an exhibition contest to start the 2008-09 campaign at FSU's Jim Wink Arena with the Bulldogs pulling out a 74-73 win (10/30/08). Overall, the Bulldogs hold a 3-1 all-time series' lead in regular-season action against Cornerstone. The two teams last squared off in regular-season play to open the 2004-05 campaign when Ferris State recorded a narrow 99-97 home triumph (11/16/04), which kicked off the Bulldogs' run to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05.

Final Non-League Outing: Saturday's game represents the Bulldogs' final non-conference game of the year. FSU is 0-3 to date in non-league action after dropping its first three games of the season against strong Division II competition on the road. The Bulldogs' remaining 18 contests this year after Saturday's tilt will all be GLIAC matchups.

Last Time Out: Ferris State finished the 2013 calendar year unbeaten in GLIAC action as the Bulldogs pulled out a hard-fought 84-81 road win over the Tiffin Dragons on Tuesday (Dec. 17) night at the Gillmor Center in Tiffin, Ohio. FSU received 18 points from sophomore center Jared Stolicker, who added seven rebounds in the win. FSU also got 16 points from junior guard Drew Lehman with junior guard Matt Poches scoring 13 points and sophmore forward Josh Fleming pouring in 12 points. Ferris State owned a 43-36 rebounding advantage for the game and had 16 offensive boards to only eight for the Dragons. That helped lead to 24 second-chance points for the Bulldogs.

The Opposing Coach: Cornerstone - Kim Elders, (Grand Valley State, 1977), 21st season, 510-204. Elders notched his 500th career victory earlier this season and ranks seventh among active NAIA head coaches in wins. Since taking over the program in 1993, Elders' teams have averaged 25 victories/season.  Five of his teams have recorded 30+ victories, including his 1999 National Championship team (37-3) and his 2011 National Championship team (34-4).  Elders has also guided his teams to three Final 4's ('01, '02 & '03) and three Elite 8's ('05, '07 & '10).  His 26 national tournament victories ranks third all-time in the NAIA D2.

Coming Up Next: Ferris State will break for the Christmas holiday and the NCAA-mandated break following Saturday's action. FSU returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 2, as the Bulldogs resume GLIAC play at home against the Findlay Oilers. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids. The Bulldogs then host Hillsdale two days later on Saturday, Jan. 4, in a 3 p.m. (ET) league tilt inside Wink Arena.

Back At Home: After playing their last two contests in Ohio earlier this week, the Bulldogs return home to Wink Arena where they own a 2-0 mark to date this season. Overall, the Bulldogs will play 12 regular-season home games this season, including 11 GLIAC contests.

Click Here For Complete Game Notes (PDF)

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