Canton, Ohio - The Ferris State University men's basketball team made its first-ever road trip to Malone University on Thursday (Jan. 9) night and led by seven points only seven minutes into the contest before the host Pioneers battled back to post a 86-75 win in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action.
Ferris State trailed by seven points at halftime inside Malone's Osborne Hall in Canton, but fought back to pull within a single point at 44-43 only six minutes into the second half. However, the Pioneers answered with a 10-2 run to grab a nine-point advantage.
The Malone lead grew to 15 points at 71-56 with 5:26 to play on some timely three-point shots before the Bulldogs battled back again. FSU cut the margin down to a two-possession game at 79-73 with 56 seconds to play and had the ball, but could get no closer as the Pioneers knocked down nine free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
The Bulldogs were hampered by free throws in the contest as Malone sank 21-of-25 (84%) tries compared to FSU's seven-of-18 (38.9%) figure. In addition, the Bulldogs turned the ball over 15 times while MU finished with only nine miscues.
With the setback, Ferris State dropped to 6-5 overall, but still remains in second place in the GLIAC North Division with a 5-2 league record. Malone improved to 6-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play while ranking second in the league's South Division.
FSU shot nearly 50% at the night on 30-of-61 (49.2%) shooting and the Bulldogs sank eight-of-20 (40%) three's along with owning a 39-34 rebounding edge.
On the opposite side, Malone hit 45.3% of its field goals and made seven-of-22 (31.8%) long range tries for the game. They also had nine steals to only three for Ferris State.
The Bulldogs were led by junior guard Drew Lehman's 16 points in the outing. He also had a game-high seven rebounds for FSU while sophomore forward Josh Fleming poured in 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Finally, junior guard Matt Poches also reached double-digits with 13 points on the night.
Meanwhile, Malone was paced by Christian Graves, who finished with a game-high 21 points and sank five-of-10 (50%) three's. Senior guard Isiah Elliott chipped in 20 points and had seven assists with five steals for the hosts.
The Pioneers also received 17 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals from Cory Veldhuizen. Daniel Wise also reached double-figure scoring with 12 points to go with six rebounds in the contest.
The Bulldogs finished the night with 17 assists and six blocked shots, including three from sophomore forward Jared Stolicker. Junior guard Dietrich Lever totaled a team-best four assists with sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson netting three assists. Stolicker added three assists to go with his three blocked shots, nine points and five boards.
Despite the fact the contest was close much of the way, the lead changed hands only one time and the game was never tied on the night.
Malone evened the all-time series at a win apiece following FSU's dominating 90-51 home win in Big Rapids a season ago.
The Bulldogs, who are midst a four-game road stretch, will wrap up this week's trip to Ohio as they face Walsh on Saturday (Jan. 11) starting at 3 p.m. (ET) in Canton. FSU then heads to Michigan's Upper Peninsula next week to face Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan on the road in league play.
All Ferris State basketball contests can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.