Big Rapids, Mich. - Another classic Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) men's basketball showdown went to the wire between Ferris State and Wayne State, but unfortunately the Bulldogs came out on the short end of a 56-53 road decision on Thursday (Feb. 21) night at the Matthaei Complex in Detroit.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the night before Wayne State surged in front down the stretch. FSU sophomore guard Dietrich Lever trimmed a four-point Bulldog deficit down to one with 12.5 seconds remaining to pull Ferris State within striking distance. However, after WSU sank two free throws to push the margin back to three, a final contested three-point shot from Lever came up short as time expired.
Overtime would have been only fitting again as the two teams have battled to three overtime contests in the last four meetings, including a 72-68 double-overtime win by the Bulldogs in the first matchup this season on Jan. 24 in Big Rapids.
The contest was a pivotal game in the GLIAC North Division race as Wayne State came into the night with a game and a half-lead over a trio of teams, including FSU, Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. With the setback, the Bulldogs dropped to 14-10 overall and 13-7 in the GLIAC.
Wayne State's Ian Larkin was the game's standout player as the veteran forward scored a contest-best 26 points in his final regular-season home game and pulled down seven rebounds. Mike Hollingsworth added 10 points for WSU, which went only eight players deep in the rotation.
Ferris State had three players reach double-digit scoring with senior guard Kenny Brown leading the way with 12 points. Sophomore guard Drew Lehman added 11 points while sophomore forward Trent Messer had an impressive game with 10 points and a contest-best 11 rebounds.
The Bulldogs shot 33.3% for the game and were only two-of-13 (15.4%) beyond the stripe along with nine-of-14 (64.3%) at the line.
Meanwhile, Wayne State connected on 39.6% of its field goals and finished two-of-10 (20%) from behind the arc and 12-of-22 (54.5%) at the line.
Both teams netted 41 rebounds in the game with FSU hauling in 17 offensive boards to 14 for the Warriors. The Bulldogs also forced 14 turnovers and had 12 of their own in the loss.
The two teams went into halftime tied at 31 points apiece after a back and forth opening frame, but WSU managed to outscore FSU 25-22 in the final 20 minutes to record the victory.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Bulldogs, who had won six of their last seven outings coming in on a stretch that began with the double overtime win over Wayne State at home back in January.
Ferris State will play its regular-season home finale on Saturday, Feb. 23, versus Saginaw Valley State at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. (ET). It will also serve as FSU's annual Senior Day game as the Bulldogs will honor the senior duo of Kenny Brown and Daniel Sutherlin as part of the day's activities.
Saturday's game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com starting with the Meijer Pregame Show at 12:30 p.m. (ET). A live pay-per-view video webcast and live internet statistics will also be available.