Ferris Men's Hoops Falls Short At CMU

FSU senior guard Jon Yeazel pressures the ball versus CMU (Photo by Sandy Gholston)
FSU senior guard Jon Yeazel pressures the ball versus CMU (Photo by Sandy Gholston)

Mount Pleasant, Mich. – The Ferris State University men’s basketball team battled NCAA Division I Central Michigan for most of the night, but in the end the Chippewas registered an 82-69 triumph over the Bulldogs in regular-season action Monday (Nov. 16) evening inside the Rose Center at Mount Pleasant, Mich.

The Bulldogs built a nine-point lead only 5:40 into the game before the Chippewas responded with a 10-0 run to grab the lead. FSU retook the lead with 6:14 to go in the first half, but another 8-0 run by CMU helped the host school take a 36-29 halftime edge.

In the second half, the Chippewas jumped the lead up to 12 points at the 18:37 mark. FSU trimmed the lead down to five points three times over a three-minute span, but could get no closer the rest of the way.

Junior guard Darien Gay kept the Bulldogs in the contest for much of the night as he tallied a game-high 26 points and hit eight-of-nine three-point tries in the outing. The Bulldogs also received 15 points from junior forward/center Justin Keenan, who was doubled and tripled most of the game by the bigger Chippewa lineup.

Ferris senior guard Jon Yeazel, who spent two seasons with the Chippewas before transferring to FSU last year, had a double-double effort against his former team with 13 points and a game-best 15 rebounds, including 12 defensive boards.

“Overall, I thought we came out and competed," said FSU head coach Bill Sall. “It was one of those situations where we were fired up to play a bigger school and it may have taken them a little while to get going.”

Ferris was hampered by 23 turnovers in the game, which helped Central Michigan come up with 15 steals. Senior guard Robbie Harman netted seven thefts of his own for CMU and scored a team-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor. He also dished out five assists in 35 minutes of action.

Besides Harman, the Chippewas received 13 points from Marko Spica. Finis Craddock, Jordan Bitzer and Chris Kellermann all tallied 11 points and Jalin Thomas finished with 10 points and 12 boards in a double-double showing of his own for CMU.

The shooting percentages for the night were nearly even overall as FSU shot 47.7% (21-44) and CMU at 47.5% (29-61). The Bulldogs had the hotter hand beyond the arc on the heels’ of Gay’s shooting touch as Ferris sank 10-of-19 (52.6%) treys while the Chippewas made only six-of-19 (31.6%) attempts. Central Michigan converted 18-of-28 (64.3%) free throws compared to Ferris’ 17-of-25 (68.0%) performance at the charity stripe.

Central Michigan also finished the contest with a 37-30 rebounding margin as the Chippewas' size advantage helped them finish with 15 offensive boards compared to only six for FSU.

Monday’s meeting represented the first regular-season matchup between the two teams since Dec. 3, 1990. It was also only the third official contest between the two schools since 1976.

FSU played the game without the services of senior guard Austin Randel, who was injured in Sunday’s (Nov. 15) non-league season opening setback at Lewis (Ill.) after finishing with a game-high 19 points. However, the Bulldogs did regain the services of sophomore guard Dontae Molden, who played 11 minutes in his first action of the regular-season.

With the loss, FSU drops to 0-2 overall after two hard-fought road losses on back-to-back nights. CMU, which was chosen as the Mid-American Conference (MAC) West Division favorite this campaign, improved to 1-1 overall.

Ferris State concludes its season-opening non-conference road swing by traveling to St. Joseph’s (Ind.) on Saturday, Nov. 21, for a 3 p.m. (CT) contest in Rensselaer, Ind.

Bulldog Bites: FSU’s Jon Yeazel spent the 2005-06 and 2007-08 seasons with the Chippewas before redshirting at Ferris last season. He previously appeared in all 28 games and made two starts for Central Michigan as a freshman in ’05-06 ……… The Chippewas improved to 65-21 all-time versus FSU by beating the Bulldogs for the fifth time in the last 11 meetings ………. Bulldog junior guard Matt DeHart came off the bench to score six points and grab six rebounds in 19 minutes of action while helping fill Austin Randel’s void ………. FSU utilized nine different players in the contest ……….. The announced attendance was 1,705 with a good contingent of Bulldog fans on hand at the Rose Center ………. The lead changed hands seven times in the game …… Darien Gay hit four three-pointers in each half for Ferris and was nine-of-11 overall from the floor.