Bulldogs Win "131 Showdown" Instant Classic

FSU senior Lou Williams plays defense on GVSU standout Justin Ringer (Photo By Rob Benltey)
FSU senior Lou Williams plays defense on GVSU standout Justin Ringer (Photo By Rob Benltey)
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FSU broadcast call of Dontae Molden's game-tying basket in the final second of regulation - Rob Bentley (play-by-play) & Sandy Gholston (color commentary):
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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team pulled off one of its most memorable wins in recent history as the Bulldogs defeated archrival Grand Valley State in the "131 Showdown" on Saturday (Jan. 29) night at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Arena by a 79-72 score in overtime.

The Bulldogs trailed 67-65 in regulation following a GVSU three-point play with nine seconds to go. However, after a missed baseline jumper by senior standout Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), the Bulldogs had two chances on the offensive glass with the second by junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) finding the hole on a tip-in with less than a second remaining in the contest.

FSU then proceeded to score the first five points in overtime, all by senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford), and then made seven-of-12 free throws in the extra session to secure the victory before an announced crowd of 5,863 fans.

"It was a heck of a game. Both teams played incredibly hard," Ferris State head coach Bill Sall said. "We just made one more play than they did. For our seniors, it's our first win away from home against Grand Valley."

The victory was the sixth-straight for the Bulldogs and marked their eighth win in the last nine contests to date.

The Bulldogs held a narrow 28-26 edge at intermission and built the lead to as many as nine points with 17:34 to play.  However, the Lakers responded and eventually took a five-point lead with 8:51 remaining.

Ferris State pulled within one point on a free throw from Keenan with 1:47 to go in regulation and then grabbed a one-point advantage on another Keenan free throw with 26 seconds left in the the second half.  However, GVSU's Nick Carreri answered with an old-fashioned three-point play to regain a two-point cushion and it setup Molden's late game heroics.

The overtime session was controlled early by the Bulldogs as Gay opened the scoring with a three-pointer followed by a short jumper after a missed Laker shot, which forced GVSU to play catch up the entire extra frame.

With the win, the Bulldogs moved into a tie for first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division standings with GVSU as both teams now hold 10-2 league marks. FSU improved to 14-5 overall while the 15th-ranked Lakers dropped to 15-4 on the year.

Keenan paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 24 points in the contest and added 12 rebounds in a double-double effort in his return to his hometown of Grand Rapids despite being limited to only six points in the first half due to foul trouble.  

He was far from the only Bulldog hero in the contest, though, as senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) provided timely clutch shooting to finish with a career-best 21 points. DeHart was six-of-12 beyond the three-point arc and also added eight rebounds and four steals in a solid all-around effort.

FSU also received 12 points from Gay while Molden finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists.  Senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) added 11 rebounds, seven points and three blocked shots while becoming the school's all-time leader in blocks by surpassing former Bulldog Adam Anderson's previous school mark of 142 career swats.

Ferris State was held to 35.8% (24-67) shooting for the game and had to overcome an eight-of-34 (23.5%) first half showing.  However, the Bulldogs nailed 11 three-pointers while shooting 35.5% (11-31) from beyond the arc along with 20-of-33 (60.6%) at the free throw stripe.

FSU also had a commanding 49-34 rebounding edge and pulled down 22 offensive boards compared to only five for the Lakers.  Thirteen of those offensive caroms came in the opening stanza.  That led to a 14-7 margin in second chance scoring for the night.  Ferris also outscored GVSU 14-5 in points off turnovers with the Bulldogs giving up possession 11 times while Grand Valley State had 13 miscues.

The Lakers were led by Justin Ringler's 20 points and eight boards before he fouled out in overtime.  James Thomas chipped in with 18 points, including a five-of-10 effort beyond the three-point arc.  Finally, Carreri also reached double-digits with 11 points.

FSU and GVSU will meet again in the regular-season finale on Saturday, Feb. 26, at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.

The Bulldogs will next hit the road and try to maintain their hold on first place in the divisional standings on Thursday, Feb. 3, when they visit Lake Superior State for a 5:30 p.m. (ET) league tilt in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Bulldog Bites:  Ferris State increased its all-time series' advantage versus GVSU to 49-46 with the win ...... The Lakers' bench outscored the Bulldog reserves by a 26-7 count for the game.  All seven FSU points off the bench came from sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) at the free throw line ...... Ferris had 12 assists, seven steals and three blocks compared to the Lakers' 11 assists, four thefts and four swats ........ The Bulldogs shot 51.9% (14-27) in the final 20 minutes of regulation ....... The Detroit Pistons' popular public address announcer "Mason" was on the mic for the "131 Showdown" ...... Ferris State University welcomed more than 700 Grand Rapids urban youth students, family and instructors to the game as part of the 9-13 Initiative ...... The score was tied 12 times and the lead changed hands 17 times in the contest ...... GVSU held a slim 24-22 edge in points scored inside the paint .... FSU is now only two wins away from notching the 1,000th victory in program history.