Ferris Runs Past Dragons For Third-Straight Win

FSU's Jon Yeazel tries to score in Saturday's game versus Tiffin (Photo courtesy of Big Rapids Pioneer)
FSU's Jon Yeazel tries to score in Saturday's game versus Tiffin (Photo courtesy of Big Rapids Pioneer)

Big Rapids, Mich. – The Ferris State men’s basketball team continued its impressive homecourt performance this campaign as the Bulldogs cruised to a decisive 82-61 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) victory over the Tiffin Dragons on Saturday (Dec. 5) afternoon inside FSU’s Jim Wink Arena.

Ferris jumped out to an early 10-point advantage only six minutes into the game and led by 21 points at halftime (49-28) in winning its third-straight league outing this week at home. The Dragons could not get closer than 18 points the rest of the way as FSU improved to 3-3 overall and remained unbeaten (3-0) in conference action.

“I’m really happy with the way we came out and played today,” said FSU head coach Bill Sall. “Our guys came out with a purpose, which was good to see.

“We played well offensively the entire game and really shared the ball,” Sall added.

The Bulldogs tallied 26 assists and shot 50.8% (31-61) from the floor for the afternoon while connecting on 11-of-24 (45.8%) three-point field goal tries. Ferris also owned a slim 34-31 rebounding edge and held a 23-11 edge in points off turnovers as the Dragons had 17 miscues in the contest.

A balanced Bulldog lineup saw five players reach double-figures with junior forward/center Justin Keenan posting a team-high 16 points to go with five rebounds and five assists. He was joined in double-digits by senior guards Josh Young and Jon Yeazel, who both scored 13 points, along with junior guard Matt DeHart (12) and senior guard Austin Randel (11).

Offensively, the Bulldogs also received a game-high eight assists and six points from junior guard Darien Gay. Freshman forward Daniel Sutherlin chipped in with eight points and eight rebounds in his second career start while sophomore guard Dontae Molden contributed with five assists and three points.

Ferris shot 52.9% (18-34) in the opening period and made nine three-pointers in the opening stanza. The Bulldogs also finished the game with 10 steals and two blocked shots to go wtih 13 turnovers.

Meanwhile, FSU limited the Dragons to 42.6% (26-61) shooting in the outing with TU making six-of-18 (33.3%) attempts from beyond the arc. The Dragons also managed to attempt only four free throws, making three, compared to FSU’s nine-of-11 (81.8%) showing at the stripe in a game that saw both teams finish with only 11 personal fouls.

Keenan Barlow led Tiffin with a game-high 20 points while DeAngelo Jordan added 11 points and Mohammed Fall tallied 10 points.

Ferris State outscored the Dragons 19-5 in fast break points and the Bulldog reserves outscored the Tiffin bench by a 28-11 count despite playing without the services of junior forward Lou Williams. Ferris’ fast break total included a pair of dunks by Sutherlin along with one from Yeazel.

“There were more good dunks in this game that were highlight-worthy than I’ve seen in a long time, including a few from them,” Sall said.

The Bulldogs will take their unbeaten league record on the road next week for a pair of conference outings. FSU visits defending NCAA Division II National Champion Findlay on Thursday, Dec. 10, for a 7:30 p.m. (EST) tilt at UF’s Croy Gymnasium in Findlay, Ohio, where the nationally ninth-ranked Oilers have won 39 consecutive games and hold a 77-game regular season homecourt winning streak. In the past seven years, the Oilers are 107-2 (.982) at home heading into Thursday’s matchup.

“Our guys realize that is an extremely tough place to play and they don’t lose at home often, so I don’t think we’ll have to motivate them much for that one,” said Sall.

Ferris then concludes the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule at Hillsdale on Saturday, Dec. 12, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST) inside HC’s Jesse Phillips Arena.

Bulldog Bites: Five Bulldog players tallied three assists or more in the game … The win was FSU’s fourth series’ triumph in five tries versus the Dragons, including the fourth in a row …… The Bulldogs have now won five of their last six home outings going back to last season …… The game featured only one lead change with the Dragons holding their only lead on a three-pointer to start the contest …… FSU players signed autographs after the game for a large contingent of kids, including several in attendance as part of the Manton Youth Basketball program …… The Bulldogs’ Rebounders Booster Club also held a postgame reception inside the facility …… Ferris’ current 3-0 league start is the program’s best since winning seven-straight to open the 2005-06 campaign en route to a NCAA Division II National Tournament appearance …… FSU won its three home contests this week against Grand Valley State, Ashland and Tiffin by an average margin of 19 points per game …… The Bulldogs’ 82 points versus the Dragons matched Thursday’s 82-point offensive output versus Ashland …Tiffin dropped to 1-4 overall and 0-2 in league play this year with the loss.