Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally 10th-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad battled back from a double-digit deficit for the second consecutive contest to pull out a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory as FSU moved back into a first-place tie in the league with an 89-75 triumph over the Davenport Panthers on Saturday (Jan. 6) in Grand Rapids.
The Bulldogs trailed by nine points at halftime and were down as many as 11 points in the game before mounting another furious comeback. FSU outscored the Panthers 53-30 over the final 20 minutes of the game in the first-ever league meeting between the two West Michigan schools.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 16-1 overall and 6-1 in the league. The Bulldogs moved back into a first-place tie with Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, which both lost on Saturday, atop the GLIAC North Division.
The Bulldogs got a big performance off the bench from redshirt freshman wing Jaylin McFadden, who tallied 13 points in 15 minutes of work. Senior guard Drew Cushingberry paced FSU with a game-high 17 points and knocked down 10-of-12 free throws, including several big ones in the closing minutes.
FSU also got 10 points each from junior forward Markese Mayfield, senior guard Peter Firlik, junior center Zach Hankins and sophomore guard Greg Williams in the balanced effort. Mayfield and Hankins both notched double-doubles with 13 and 10 boards, respectively.
Ferris State shot 53% in the second half and made 16-of-22 free throws over the final 20 minuts of play en route to the win. Overall, FSU shot 46% from the floor and went six-of-26 (23.1%) from long range and 25-of-32 (78.1%) at the line.
Davenport utilized a half-court zone while grabbing a late double-digit first half advantage against FSU. The Panthers also connected on six three's in the first half and shot 44% in the opening stanza before the Bulldogs limited DU to only 32% shooting in the final half. Davenport finished at 38.7% shooting and made 10-of-24 (41.7%) three's along with 17-of-23 (73.9%) at the line.
The Panthers were led by John McCloud, Jr., who finished with a team-high 15 points. Robbie Bramhill hit four-of-six three's and totaled 14 points with Delano Smith adding 10 points in the setback as DU fell to 9-6 overall and 3-4 in GLIAC action.
On the glass, FSU owned a sizable 45-33 edge with Ferris State totaling 16 offensive boards and a 19-12 advantage in second chance scoring. Both Mayfield and Hankins had three offensive caroms each.
FSU also forced 14 turnovers on the defensive end and came up with 12 blocked shots for the second consecutive game. Hankins led the way with six blocks while Cushingberry had three and Mayfield notched two. In addition, FSU finished with five steals compared to DU's six steals and two blocks.
Overall, the game featured four lead changes and the score was tied five times on the day. The victory was Ferris State's fourth-straight overall this season.
Ferris State returns home to host Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 11) at 5:30 p.m. (ET) before wrapping up the two-game homestand against Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 13) beginning at 1 p.m. (ET) inside Jim Wink Arena. FSU will honor former head coach Tom Ludwig and players from the "Ludwig era" as part of a special Bulldog reunion on Saturday in Big Rapids.