Big Rapids, Mich. - A pair of free throws from Northwood's Wes Wilcox with 1.8 seconds left to play lifted the visiting Timberwolves past host Ferris State 66-65 in a key Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division men's basketball matchup on Thursday (Jan. 23) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs took a 65-64 lead on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson with 11 seconds to play. Northwood moved quickly up the floor and Wilcox drove the left side of the lane where he was met by the Bulldogs' Jared Stolicker. A controversial foul call sent Wilcox to the line and he knocked down both free throws with just under two seconds to play.
Ferris State had one final opportunity, but Stolicker's long inbounds pass to junior guard Drew Lehman sailed away as the Timberwolves pulled out the win.
The two free throws from Wilcox on the foul call as time was running out spoiled a hard-fought performance by the Bulldogs on their home floor at Wink Arena. FSU had played its previous four contests all on the road and owned a 4-1 mark at home heading into the tilt.
Wilcox had a big night for the Timberwolves as he finished with a game-high 30 points on seven-of-10 shooting from the floor. He also made four-of-five three's and hit all 12 of his free throw attempts in 39 minutes of action. Will Bowles joined him in double-digits for NU with 17 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double effort as the Timberwolves improved to 12-7 overall and 8-3 in conference play.
Ferris State, which fell to 6-9 overall and 5-6 in league action, also received a solid performance on the inside from the combination of Stolicker and senior forward Raymoan McAfee. Stolicker tallied 10 points to go with a game-best 13 rebounds and three blocked shots while McAfee had a team-high tying 14 points on five-of-seven shooting from the floor.
FSU also received 14 points from Lehman, who made three treys in the game as Ferris State battled back from a nine-point deficit with 13:28 to play. However, while he finished three-of-five from downtown, the Bulldogs were only five-of-20 (25%) as a team from beyond the arc. Junior guard Matt Poches chipped in 10 points for Ferris State.
Overall, the Bulldogs shot just 37.3% for the night, but did finish 16-of-21 (76.2%) at the free throw line. Ferris State owned a 10-point lead with 7:16 to go in the opening half before Northwood rallied to grab a 33-30 edge at the break.
The Timberwolves heated up in the second half as they shot 47.1% over the final 20 minutes to finish with a 41.7% shooting figure for the game. Northwood was five-of-13 (38.5%) from three-point range and 21-of-26 (80.8%) at the stripe.
Behind the play of McAfee off the bench, Ferris State's reserves outscored a shortened Northwood bench by a 23-8 count for the game. Besides Wilcox and Bowles, the Timberwolves received nine points and six rebounds from Darvin Ham, but no one else scored more than six points in the contests for the visitors.
The Bulldogs took care of the ball most of the game with only eight turnovers in the contest compared to 12 for Northwood although NU owned a slight 11-8 advantage in points off turnovers.
On the flip side of the coin though, Ferris State tallied 14 second chance points to only six for Northwood despite the fact the Timberwolves outrebounded the Bulldogs 39-33 for the night. FSU had 12 offensive boards to 10 for the Timberwolves.
FSU also came up with seven steals and had five blocked shots with Northwood netting six blocks and five steals in the outing. Jackson had a game-high three steals for FSU to go with seven points and five assists. Junior guard Dietrich Lever totaled a game-high seven assists with six points and a steal for Ferris State.
Overall, the contest featured 13 lead changes as the two teams battled back and forth and the contest was tied five times. Neither team scored a field goal in nearly the final three minutes of the game as the final nine points all came from the free throw line.
The Bulldogs had claimed 13 of the previous 18 matchups against Northwood heading into the evening, but the win was the fourth-straight overall for Northwood this season. The two teams will meet again on Feb. 13 in Midland.
Ferris State continues its GLIAC homestand by hosting divisional leader Lake Superior State on Saturday (Jan. 25) starting at 3 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.
Saturday will be Kids Day with plenty of activities for youth including face painting, sign making, halftime games and more. All kids in grades K-12 are free with a paid adult.
The contest will also be carried live by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com with Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston calling the action.