Ferris Runs Past SVSU In GLIAC Quarterfinals

FSU's Dontae Molden looks to score against SVSU (Photo by Ed Hyde, FSU Photo Services)
FSU's Dontae Molden looks to score against SVSU (Photo by Ed Hyde, FSU Photo Services)

Post Game Press Conference

Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball team proved worthy of its number one overall seed as the Bulldogs ran past Saginaw Valley State by an 80-61 count in the quarterfinal round of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament on Wednesday (March 2) evening at Jim Wink Arena.

With the win, the Bulldogs will now host the GLIAC Semifinals and Finals this Saturday and Sunday, March 5-6, at Wink Arena. The teams were reseeded following Wednesday's quarterfinal action and FSU will next host fourth-seeded Michigan Tech on Saturday at 1 p.m. (ET).  The second game will feature number two seed Findlay against third-seeded Wayne State at 3 p.m. (ET) with the winners set to square off in Sunday's championship game at 2 p.m. (ET).

Advance tickets for Saturday's semifinals will be on sale at the FSU Athletics Ticket Office located inside the Ewigleben Sports Complex on Thursday and Friday beginning at 9 a.m. (ET) with expanded hours to 7 p.m. (ET). 

Ticket prices for each session are $8 for adults or $2 for all students older than age five, including college students with identification. All seats are general admission and no regular-season passes of any type such as FSU Rebounders Club or all-sports passes will be accepted per league tournament regulations.

The box office will open two hours prior to game time on Saturday at 11 a.m. (ET) with the doors to Wink Arena opening at noon.  The ticket office will also open two hours early prior to Sunday's championship game at 12 p.m. (ET) with Wink Arena's doors opening at 1 p.m. (ET) before the title contest.

For additional information, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888.

This year will mark only the second time in school history the Bulldogs have hosted the league's final four tournament teams and it will be the first time since the 1994-95 campaign.

On Wednesday night, the Bulldogs overcame a slow start to defeat Saginaw Valley State for the third time this season and it marked the second-straight year FSU has defeated SVSU in the league tournament quarterfinals. Unlike the previous two meetings this season that were determined by a combined total of 10 points, however, FSU seized control and rolled to a convincing win.

Ferris State trailed by as many as five points only five minutes into the game before outscoring SVSU 19-7 over the final seven minutes of the first half to take a 43-32 edge at the break.  The Bulldogs came out of the games quickly in the second period and jumped the lead to 19 points with 16:19 to go and never trailed by fewer than 16 points the rest of the way.

The lead grew to as many as 30 points with 5:12 to play when the Bulldogs put most of their starting lineup to the bench for good.

Senior forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) sparked the Bulldogs in the first half as he had 22 points at intermission.  He finished with a game-high 28 points on 12-of-17 shooting and added 10 rebounds in a double-double effort.  Keenan was joined in double-digits by senior guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) with 13 points and seven assists.

While those were the only two Bulldog players to reach double-figure scoring, a number of other FSU players also contributed to the win.  Sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) had a career-high 10 rebounds to go with five points, senior guard Matt DeHart (Greenville) nailed three three-pointers for nine points and senior forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) tallied eight rebounds in addition to five points.

The Bulldogs also received eight points, five rebounds and five assists from sophomore guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) with junior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) netting five points, five assists and two steals.

Overall, Ferris State shot 46.3% (31-67) from the floor, including a 53.1% (17-32) figure in the first half of action.  FSU also connected on seven-of-21 (33.3%) three-pointers and made 11-of-17 (64.7%) free throws.

The Bulldogs posted a decisive 45-33 rebounding advantage and grabbed 13 offensive boards compared to only eight for the visitors.  Ferris State also limited its turnovers to only seven for the night and outscored SVSU 30-20 inside the paint.

The Cardinals were paced by Dan Genther's 14 points off the bench while Keithan Jackson scored 13 points and had 10 rebounds as Saginaw Valley State concluded its season with a 13-14 overall record.

Ferris State limited SVSU to only 36.2% (21-58) shooting although the Cardinals were 10-of-28 (35.7%) from beyond the arc and hit several treys early to stay in the game.  Saginaw Valley State made only nine-of-16 (56.3%) free throws.

Ferris finished with 20 assists as three players had five or more in Gay, Molden and Brown.  The Bulldogs also managed four blocked shots an dfour steals compared to SVSU's 13 assists, three blocks and one steal.

The Bulldogs improved to 21-6 overall this campaign with the win and the victory was FSU's 13th in the last 14 contests. Wednesday's victory was also an important regional one for FSU as the Bulldogs had dropped from third to sixth in the NCAA-II Midwest Regional Rankings announced late Wednesday afternoon following a 82-80 overtime home setback to archrival Grand Valley State this past Saturday (Feb. 26).  The top eight regional teams will receive NCAA-II Tournament bids when the official pairings are announced late this Sunday (March 6) evening at 10 p.m. (ET) on www.ncaa.com.

The quarterfinal contest represented the Bulldogs' first postseason home game in five years dating back to a 73-68 win over Northern Michigan in the GLIAC Tournament Quarterfinals during the 2005-06 season (2/28/06).

Bulldog Bites: Ferris State is making its 12th GLIAC Tournament appearance ..... This year marks the second-straight year the Bulldogs have reached the league tournament semifinals ..... Ferris State was listed 23rd in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 National Poll ....... Ferris is making its sixth appearance in the league tournament in the last seven years, including a third-straight berth ....... The Bulldogs improved to 5-2 all-time in GLIAC Tournament quarterfinal-round action ...... The victory was FSU's 14th in the last 21 series' matchups against the Cardinals ...... Justin Keenan's double-double effort was his 14th of the season ...... Ferris State's 21 wins are its most since posting a 24-7 mark and reaching the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05 ...... The Bulldogs played all 11 available players in the contest and nine of them scored ...... The game featured four lead changes and the score was tied twice .... FSU improved to 13-1 overall this season inside Wink Arena with the triumph.