Strong Second-Half Fuels FSU Past Calvin

FSU's Darien Gay handles the ball against Calvin (Photo by Sandy Gholston)
FSU's Darien Gay handles the ball against Calvin (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

Grand Rapids, Mich. – The Ferris State University men’s basketball team limited longtime West Michigan rival Calvin to only 29.7% shooting en route to a 88-68 exhibition triumph over the Knights on Tuesday (Nov. 10) evening inside the new Van Noord Arena in Grand Rapids.

Ferris held Calvin to only 19 total field goals and forced 14 turnovers for the night while also shooting 50% (37-74) from the field in its final exhibition contest.

The Bulldogs scored the final four points of the opening frame to take a narrow 40-36 halftime advantage and proceeded to outscore Calvin 48-32 the rest of the way to grab the win and finish exhibition play with a 2-1 mark.

FSU held only a one-point lead (52-51) with 13:09 to play in the contest, but closed the game on a 36-17 run despite playing a large portion of the second frame without preseason All-America forward/center Justin Keenan, who was injured and did not return.

The Bulldogs had five players reach double-figure scoring in the contest with senior guard Josh Young pacing FSU with a game-high tying 19 points. Keenan chipped in 18 points in only 19 minutes of action while senior guard Jon Yeazel added 14 points, including 12 in the second half. Senior guard Austin Randel scored 13 points and freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin also reached double-digits with 11 points in the outing.

Three Calvin players also scored in double-figures. Mattt Veltema tallied 19 points, Danny Rodts scored 13 points and John Mantel netted 10 points.

The Bulldogs shot 57.1% in the second half and held a 48-42 rebounding edge for the game, which included 22 offensive boards. Sutherlin grabbed seven rebounds with Yeazel, Keenan, Young and junior forward Lou Williams all pulling down six caroms.

Ferris came up with seven steals, blocked seven shots and dished out 14 assists, which helped offset a three-of-14 (21.4%) effort beyond the three-point arc and an 11-of-20 (55%) showing at the free throw line.

The Knights sank seven-of-22 (31.8%) three-pointers for the game and connected on 23-of-33 (69.7%) free throws.

Despite Keenan’s absence for most of the second half, the Bulldogs maintained an impressive 46-12 edge in points scored inside the paint. The game featured 11 lead changes and the score was tied six times, but Ferris never trailed in the final 20 minutes.

Ferris State will officially open the 2009-10 season by visiting Lewis (Ill.) for a non-conference contest this Sunday (Nov. 15) at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill. The start time for the game has been changed to 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET).

FSU will then visit NCAA Division I Central Michigan on Monday, Nov. 16, for a 7 p.m. (ET) non-conference regular-season encounter at Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Bulldog Bites:
The exhibition victory was Ferris’ fourth preseason win in its last five exhibition games going back to last season …… FSU head coach Bill Sall continued his success in the Calvin-Ferris series. He has been on the winning side 10 times in 13 regular-season encounters and in exhibition tilts each of the last two years. Sall formerly played collegiate basketball and served as an assistant coach at Calvin and was also involved in the series’ as a Bulldog assistant coach in the mid-1990’s before returning to take over the FSU program ……. Tuesday’s exhibition represented the Bulldogs’ first appearance in the new 5,000-seat Van Noord Arena, which opened in January of 2009 as part of the $50 million dollar Spoelhof Athletic Complex …. Calvin was chosen as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) co-favorite after claiming the league crown a year ago and is ranked 18th in the Division III News Preseason Top 25 Poll.