FSU Comes Up Short Against Ranked D1 Flyers

FSU's Justin Keenan tries to score in Tuesday's exhibition (Photo by Erik Schelkun of Elsestar Images)
FSU's Justin Keenan tries to score in Tuesday's exhibition (Photo by Erik Schelkun of Elsestar Images)

Dayton, Ohio - The Ferris State men's basketball team battled the preseason nationally-ranked Dayton Flyers tough for most of the night, but came out on the short end of a 88-73 exhibition decision on Tuesday  (Nov. 3) evening at the historic University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio.

An announced crowd of 11,169 fans watched the Flyers take a 48-35 halftime edge.  The Bulldogs whittled the lead down to 10 points with 4:38 to play, but could get no closer.

"Overall, I thought we played well," said FSU head coach Bill Sall.  "In terms of athleticism and work ethic, we were right there with them the whole night.  Their size was tough for us to match up with.

"Our kids battled though, which was nice to see and something we can build on," he added.

The Flyers took their biggest lead of the night at 18 points only two minutes into the second half, but FSU trimmed the deficit to 10 points with 12 minutes to play in the game.  It was an 11-point Dayton advantage with 7:47 remaining and the Bulldogs trimmed the lead down to 10 points once again before the Flyers sealed the win.

The Bulldogs had three players reach double-figure scoring.  Junior forward/center Justin Keenan, a preseason NCAA Division II All-American, paced Ferris with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds.  Senior guard Austin Randel added 22 points and junior guard Darien Gay chipped in with 10 points for FSU.

Ferris played 10 players in the contest, but starting junior forward Lou Williams was limited to only four minutes due to foul trouble and sophomore guard Dontae Molden played only five minutes before being injured early in the first half.

The Flyers had five players reach double-digits.  Mickey Perry led the way with 16 points while Kurt Huelsman totaled 15 points.

"You have to give a lot of credit out there to Ferris State," Perry said.  "They made some plays out there and adjusted to what we were doing out there. They were jumping into the passing lanes and making some deflections out there. They did a good job of that, but I was glad we stayed focused and pulled it out at the end."

Dayton shot 57.6% from the floor compared to FSU's 49.1% effort.  The Flyers also owned a 38-23 rebounding edge and were seven-of-17 (41.2%) behind the three-point line.  Fourteen of the Flyers' rebounds came on the offensive glass.

FSU finished 16-of-26 (.615) from the free throw stripe with the Flyers making 13-of-23 (.565) attempts at the charity line.  Both teams finished with 23 turnovers.  The Bulldogs netted 11 steals.

The NCAA Division I Flyers posted a 27-8 overall record en route to a national tournament appearance in 2008-09.  Four starters and 10 of the squad's top 11 players are back from a team that reached the second round of the big dance.  Dayton is currently ranked 21st in the Associated Press preseason poll along with 22nd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

Dayton jumped out to a 48-35 halftime lead as the Flyers shot 56% from the floor in the first half and forced 11 Bulldog turnovers.

The Flyers found themselves down 9-6 early on in the first half, but a London Warren layup sparked a 14-0 run. The scoring spurt was highlighted by senior Perry's seven points which included a three. Perry ended the half with nine points.

That run would be all the space UD needed as Ferris State never got closer than eight points the remainder of the night.

"It was good to go out there and compete against a different team," said Warren.  "We still have a lot to work on and compete against a different team. We came out with a lot of energy and give Ferris State credit. They played us tough and they are a good team."

Tuesday's exhibition gave the Bulldogs an opportunity to play in historic Dayton Arena, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season.  The facility will have hosted more NCAA Tournament contests than any other venue in the nation upon conclusion of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

The Bulldogs will square off against the Calvin Knights in their final exhibition game on Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Calvin's new Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich.  Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET) as FSU head coach Bill Sall faces his alma mater.

Bulldog Bites: The paid attendance of 11,169 fans was one of the largest to ever watch the Bulldogs play ....... Austin Randel hit two three-pointers in the first two minutes of the game to give FSU an early 6-2 lead.  His 22 points were the most he's scored in a Bulldog uniform ....... Former Hillsdale College head coach Ed Douma, who coached Sall during his playing career at Calvin, joined the FSU staff on the trip and on the bench for the game.  Sall formerly spent time as Douma's assistant at Hillsdale prior to taking over the Bulldog program ........ The Flyers are guided by seventh-year head coach Brian Gregory, who was an associate head coach at Michigan State and played college basketball in the GLIAC at previous league member Oakland ........ Dayton has won 20-straight regular-season home contests and was 18-0 at UD Arena last campaign ...... Freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin scored seven points for FSU in the game.