Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team sent its lone senior off in style and closed the 2013-14 campaign with a victory as FSU topped Saginaw Valley State by a 78-66 count on Saturday (March 1) in the season finale at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs, who ended the year by winning three of their final four games, bounced back from a one-point overtime setback to rival Grand Valley State on Thursday by beating the Cardinals for the second time in a week. FSU also reached the double-digit win total for the year by claiming its 10th victory this season.
FSU honored its only senior in forward Raymoan McAfee prior to his final contest and he responded by helping the Bulldogs jump out to a 39-29 halftime lead. Ferris State then outscored the Cardinals 39-37 in the second half but led by as many as 21 points in the game with 7:27 to play before cruising down the strech.
Five Bulldogs reached double-figure scoring in the final outing of the year with sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson scoring a team-high 18 points with six rebounds and three assists. He was joined in double-digits by sophomore center Jared Stolicker, who established FSU's interior game with 15 points and seven rebounds in only 18 minutes of action.
Along with Jackson and Stolicker, Ferris State received 14 points from junior guard Dietrich Lever and he added eight assists and six steals in 36 minutes of time. Sophomore forward Josh Fleming posted 10 points and had three blocked shots while junior guard Drew Lehman finished with 10 points, six assists and three boards.
In his final game, McAfee narrowly missed joining those five in double-figures as he netted nine points, six rebounds, two blocks and a steal.
Ferris State shot 50.8% from the floor in the contest and connected on four-of-17 (23.5%) three's along with 14-of-22 (63.6%) free throws. FSU also limited the Cardinals to 42.1% shooting and only a one-of-14 (7.1%) showing beyond the three-point arc. SVSU hit 17-of-26 (65.4%) free throws.
The Cardinals, who started three freshmen in the game, were paced by C.J. Turnage and Damon Bozeman with a game-high 20 points each. Bozeman did most of his damage at the free throw stripe where he sank 10-of-11 tries. Both individuals were also productive on the glass as Turnage recorded a double-double with 11 rebounds and Bozeman added eight overall.
Ferris State held a significant edge in points off turnovers as FSU forced 17 miscues and owned a 16-8 margin in points off turnovers. The Bulldogs had 14 turnovers in the game and recorded 12 steals behind Lever's impressive performance of six. SVSU netted only a single steal.
While the Bulldogs did hold the advantage in the turnover category, SVSU posted a 39-33 rebounding edge and grabbed 11 offensive boards to seven for FSU. That helped the Cardinals post a slim 12-10 advantage in second chance production.
Overall, the game featured three lead changes and was tied seven times, but FSU never trailed in the second half of action. FSU outscored SVSU 44-42 in the paint and received 15 points off its bench to 14 for the Cardinals' reserves. Freshman Garrett Hall joined Turnage and Bozeman in double-figures with 10 points for Saginaw Valley State, which had dropped a decisive 90-68 decision to the Bulldogs at home last Saturday (Feb. 22) in University Center.
Ferris State, under first-year head coach Andy Bronkema, won four of its final seven outings this season and dropped two others in the final stretch by three points or less. This season marked the 12th consecutive year in which FSU has finished with at least 10 victories overall.
With the exception of McAfee, who was honored along with the lone senior on the women's basketball team in two-time All-America guard Sarah DeShone, the remainder of the Bulldogs' squad is eligible to return next season, including the other eight of the nine FSU players who saw action in the season finale.