Big Rapids, Mich. - Visiting Hillsdale College raced out to an early-advantage and held on to hand the Ferris State University men's basketball squad its first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) setback of the season in a 72-59 decision on Saturday (Jan. 4) afternoon inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Chargers scored the first 11 games of the day and outscored the Bulldogs by seven points in the second half en route to snapping FSU's six-game winning streak. Ferris State fell to 6-4 overall and 5-1 in league play while HC improved to 7-3 overall and evened its conference mark at 3-3 on the season.
Following the Chargers' early lead, the Bulldogs battled back and cut the margin down to only two points with 4:53 remaining in the half on a pair of free throws from junior guard Dietrich Lever. However, the Chargers answered with a 7-0 run to push the margin back to nine points before Ferris State eventually pulled to within 35-29 at the break.
Hillsdale maintained the advantage the entire second half as FSU could get no closer than four points early in the frame. The Bulldogs trimmed a double-digit Charger lead back to five with three minutes to play, but the Chargers nailed 10 free throws in the final 2:29 of play to account for the final margin as FSU was forced to foul.
The Bulldogs had trouble containing Hillsdale standout Tim Dezelski most of the day as he netted a game-high 29 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort. He made 12-of-20 shots from the floor and hit five free throws in addition to coming up with four steals and posting four assists in 37 minutes of action.
Additionally, Tony Nelson added 14 points and eight boards for the visitors, who shot 40.4% from the floor to offset a four-of-21 (19%) figure from three-point range. Hillsdale also owned a significant edge at the free throw line where they converted 26-of-30 (86.7%) tries to FSU's 15-of-21 (71.4%) figure.
While Dezelski produced offensively for the Chargers, they also limited FSU's offensive production as the Bulldogs finished with only 59 points after scoring 73 points or more in each of their last six contests, including 80 plus points in the last five games.
A pair of sophomores, Jibreel Jackson and Milton Cribbs, led the way for Ferris State with 12 points each off the bench. Sophomore forward Josh Fleming added nine points while junior forward Matt Stoll provided a spark off the bench with seven points and seven rebounds to go with a blocked shot and a steal in 12 minutes of play.
Besides Fleming's nine points, though, the rest of the Bulldog starting lineup was held to only 13 total points as the Chargers kept junior guard Matt Poches out of the scoring column and limited junior guard Drew Lehman to only a single point on the day. Lehman did match Stoll's seven rebounds for team-high honors and also dished out a team-best four assists in the loss.
Ferris State managed only a 30.2% shooting figure at home, which included only a 10-of-36 (27.8%) showing in the second half of play. The Bulldogs were six-of-23 (26.1%) from beyond the arc.
Despite not being able to find the basket at opportune times, the Bulldogs did take care of the ball for the most part with only nine turnovers in the contest compared to Hillsdale's 11 miscues. That helped lead to a 16-12 Bulldog edge in points off miscues and Ferris State also received 37 points from its reserves compared to only 10 for the Chargers.
Hillsdale outrebounded Ferris State 43-36 for the contest, but FSU finished with 14 offensive boards to 10 for the Chargers and held a 10-8 margin in second chance production.
The Chargers finished with 17 assists to 11 for FSU as Brandont Pritzl dished out a game-high six assists in addition to Dezelski's four and three by Kyle Cooper on the Hillsdale side.
Besdies Lehman, both Lever and Poches had two helpers each for the Bulldogs in a game that the Chargers led throughout from start to finish.
The victory was the Chargers' ninth in the last 10 series' matchups between the two teams.
Ferris State's 5-0 GLIAC start under first-year head coach Andy Bronkema prior to the setback was its best since the 2005-06 campaign in which the Bulldogs eventually reached the NCAA Tournament.
With the loss, the Bulldogs are now midst a three-way tie for first place in the GLIAC North Division standings with a 5-1 conference record and joined by rival Grand Valley State along with Lake Superior State.
Ferris State will return to action next week on the road as the Bulldogs open up a four-game conference road stretch against Malone on Thursday, Jan. 9, in Canton, Ohio. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (ET) and the broadcast can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
FSU will remain in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 11, to face Walsh in a game slated for a 3 p.m. (ET) start.