Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad suffered its first loss of the 2017-18 campaign on Saturday (Dec. 16) as the fifth-ranked Bulldogs fell to 18th-ranked Lake Superior State 79-74 in a tightly-contested Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) battle at Bud Cooper Gymnasium in Sault Ste. Marie.
The Lakers opened up a double-digit second half lead thanks to some timely three-point shooting and then held off FSU down the stretch in a game billed by at least one source as the D2 National Game of the Week.
Ferris State cut the margin back to a single possession at 77-74 with one minute to go, but the Lakers held off the Bulldogs down the stretch to move to 10-1 on the year and 5-0 in the GLIAC.
With the loss, the Bulldogs now own a 12-1 mark and are 4-1 in conference action. The 12-0 start by FSU this campaign was the school's best opening figure in more than 90 seasons of Bulldog Basketball.
Standout senior guard Akaemji Williams paced LSSU with a game-high 26 points. Meanwhile, forward Blake Marquardt added 15 points and went five-of-seven from three-point range in the win. They Lakers also got 11 points from freshman Rog Stein.
Ferris State was paced by senior guard Drew Cushingberry, who finished with 11 points before fouling out late. Redshirt freshman Jaylin McFadden provided a spark off the bench and added 10 points as did senior guard Peter Firlik for FSU.
The Bulldogs shot 52.5% from the floor with Lake Superior State only slightly better at 54.7% overall. However, LSSU went 12-of-21 (57.1%) from three-point range compared to seven-of-21 (33.3%) for FSU and also finished nine-of-13 (69.2%) at the free throw stripe in comparison to FSU's five-of-nine (55.6%) showing.
FSU outrebounded LSSU 26-24 for the game and had all six of the game's second chance points on six offensive caroms. But, FSU also finished with 12 turnovers to only nine for the Lakers.
Counting the second half of last season, the Bulldogs have now dropped only three games in the entire 2017 calendar year with two losses coming to Lake Superior State along with a setback in last year's NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinals to Findlay. FSU and LSSU will meet again on Jan. 27 in Big Rapids.
Prior to the holiday break, the Bulldogs will face Lewis (Ill.) in a non-conference regional tilt on Monday (Dec. 18) night at Godwin Heights High School in Wyoming, Mich. The game is set for a 7 p.m. (ET) tip and will feature two former Godwin Heights standouts in FSU's Markese Mayfield and Lewis' Delaney Blaylock.