Ferris Bounces Back To Beat Northwood

FSU's Darien Gay drives against Northwood on Saturday (Photo by Scott Whitney)
FSU's Darien Gay drives against Northwood on Saturday (Photo by Scott Whitney)

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Big Rapids, Mich. - Three players reached double-figure scoring as the Ferris State University men's basketball squad defeated Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) counterpart Northwood 76-65 on Saturday (Dec. 11) afternoon at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

Senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) led the Bulldogs to their ninth win over the Timberwolves in the last 13 matchups by scoring a game-high 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting as FSU improved to 6-3 overall and 3-1 in the GLIAC this campaign.

The Bulldogs also received 19 points and 11 rebounds from senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) along with 15 points by sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) as they won for the sixth time in six home appearances at Wink Arena this season.

"It was a good bounce back game and we certainly played well in stretches," said FSU head coach Bill Sall.  "I thought it was good to see us take over the game and overall we're moving in the right direction."

Ferris broke up a close game in the first half by going on a 13-2 run to take a 14-point advantage with only 3:10 to play in the opening stanza.  FSU led at the break 38-27 and still held a 13-point edge with 14 minutes to play in the contest.

The Timberwolves battled back and pulled within four points at 50-46 with 9:17 remaining.  However, the Bulldogs quickly increased the margin back to 11 by scoring seven-straight points on a layup by Gay followed by a three-pointer from Brown and a basket by senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights), which gave FSU a 57-46 advantage with 7:48 left.  FSU never trailed by less than nine points the rest of the way.

Ferris shot 46.2% (30-65) from the floor on the day and made six-of-13 (46.2%) three-pointers to go with a 10-of-19 (52.6%) showing at the charity stripe.

Defensively, the Bulldogs also limited the Timberwolves to only 39.4% (26-66) shooting with NU making six-of-21 (28.6%) long range tries and seven-of-nine (77.8%) free throws.

"The defensive side was certainly an emphasis for us because that is where we really struggled at Hillsdale on Tuesday," Sall said.  "You have to take care of business at home in this league and so far we've done that this year."

Ferris recorded a 46-36 edge on the glass behind the play of Keenan and Williams, who combined for 19 rebounds, including nine offensive boards.  As a team, the Bulldogs totaled 20 offensive rebounds and outscored NU in the paint 32-30 for the day.

Northwood turned the ball over only nine times while forcing 12 Bulldog miscues.  Both teams netted 14 points off turnovers and 19 second chance points as the Bulldogs had a season-low one steal in the contest compared to three for the Timberwolves.

NU had three players reach double-digits as Bobby Lewis scored a team-best 15 points, Cameron Joyce chipped in with 14 points and Darvin Ham netted 10 points off the bench.

Besides the three Bulldog players in double-figures, FSU also received nine points and eight rebounds from Williams, who had six offensive boards of his own.  Sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) contributed eight points in the winning effort.  Both recorded a pair of blocked shots apiece as FSU totaled five team blocks and the Timberwolves finishing with four overall.

Keenan, Gay and Brown also led the Bulldogs with three assists each as part of FSU's 14-assist effort.  The Timberwolves recorded 17 assists, including four apiece from Joyce and Andrew VanDierenDonck.  He also had a team-high nine rebounds for the visitors.

The Timberwolves dropped to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in the league this campaign under first-year head coach Jeff Rekeweg.

Ferris State returns to action by venturing to Michigan's Upper Peninsula next weekend for a pair of league games on back-to-back days at Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan.  FSU first visits MTU on Saturday, Dec. 18, for a league tilt in Houghton followed by another conference matchup at NMU on Sunday, Dec. 19, in Marquette.  Both games are slated for 1 p.m. (ET) starts.

Bulldog Bites: The win was FSU's third in its last four outings to date ...... The victory represented FSU's 50th all-time win over the Timberwolves as FSU now holds a 50-24 series' advantage ..... Ferris head coach Bill Sall recorded his 11th win over NU in 18 meetings ...... The Bulldogs played nine in the game with seven registering 21 minutes or more on the floor ...... Ferris posted a slim 10-4 edge in fast break production .... The Bulldogs never trailed in the game after scoring the first four points.