FSU Suffers Hard-Fought Road Loss In Opener

FSU's Darien Gay tries to score late in the first half of the Bulldogs' season opener (Photo by Rob Bentley)
FSU's Darien Gay tries to score late in the first half of the Bulldogs' season opener (Photo by Rob Bentley)

Romeoville, Ill. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team suffered a hard-fought 65-60 setback to the Lewis Flyers on Sunday (Nov. 15) evening in its official season opener at LU's Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill.

The Flyers grabbed a narrow 32-30 edge in a back and forth first half of action despite 15 points in the opening frame from Bulldog senior guard Austin Randel.  FSU battled back to take a three-point lead with 5:42 left in the game, but the Flyers responded with a run to regain the lead 55-50 at the 3:34 mark of the final period.

Ferris fought back and took a two-point lead with two minutes to play on two consecutive baskets by senior guard Jon Yeazel.  However, the Flyers tied it up on a pair of free throws by Dennis Thomas with 1:42 to go. 

FSU had the ball with the score tied and a minute left in the contest, but the Flyers took the lead on a transition basket by Thomas after a missed Bulldog shot.  Following the LU basket, the Bulldogs drove the length of the floor before Yeazel missed a shot and junior forward Justin Keenan was whistled for an intentional foul with 15 seconds left on the rebound attempt.  Lewis then converted five free throws in the final 25 seconds to notch the victory.

Neither team shot particularly well for the night as the Flyers finished at 38.3% from the floor and the Bulldogs were at only 34.4% shooting.  Lewis was 14-of-19 (73.7%) at the free throw stripe and FSU hit 12-of-15 (80%) free throws. 

FSU turned the ball over 11 times and the Flyers had 10 miscues for the game.  The Bulldogs owned a 42-38 rebounding edge as Yeazel pulled down nine boards and Keenan had eight.  Ferris finished with 19 offensive rebounds in the outing.

Randel paced the Bulldogs with 19 points and Keenan chipped in 15 as two Bulldog players reached double-figure scoring.  Yeazel narrowly missed reaching double-digits with nine points.

Tony Peter led the Flyers with 17 points while Marty Strus added 15 points.  The trio of Chris McClellan, Matt Toth and Thomas added 11 points each in the regional battle.

FSU's Keenan notched his 1,000th career point in Sunday's contest and also grabbed his 400th career rebound for the Bulldogs.

The turnaround time will be quick for the Bulldogs as they continue a three-game season opening non-league road set by visiting NCAA Division I Central Michigan on Monday (Nov.  16) evening to complete a back-to-back night swing with tipoff set for 7 p.m.  (ET) at CMU's Rose Arena in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

Monday's contest can be heard live locally on WBRN (1460 AM & 107.7 FM) in Big Rapids with Rob Bentley calling the play-by-play action.  A live pay-per-view video webcast and live internet statistics will also be offered at www.cmuchippewas.com.

Bulldog Bites:  The Bulldogs fell to 8-3 in the all-time series' against the Flyers with the loss ....... The season opener was FSU's 82nd one and Ferris is now 40-42 all-time on opening day ........ Neither team held more than a six-point lead in the outing ...... FSU's Randel played only nine points in second half after totaling 15 points in the first frame due to injury ...... The Bulldogs hit six three-pointers with Randel sinking five and Lewis finished with five ...... Yeazel added five assists, two blocks and two steals to go with his nine points and nine rebounds in 29 minutes ...... Keenan is the 26th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points.