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Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad set the tone early and rolled to its second-straight win by beating Grace Bible in decisive fashion 99-53 on Tuesday (Nov. 25) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs, who were coming off an impressive 70-67 home win over nationally 17th-ranked Lewis (Ill.) in their home opener on Saturday, wasted little time in sprinting ahead of the Tigers.
Behind heavy pressure defensively along with a balanced lineup and tremendous ball distribution, FSU was able to speed the pace up and went on a 35-18 run to end the opening half while grabbing a 43-18 lead over the Tigers.
Senior guard Drew Lehman paced the Bulldogs in the first half with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Ferris State shot 51.5% as a team in the opening half. The Tigers finished the first half shooting only 31.8% from the field.
The Bulldogs didn't look back in the second half as several electrifying plays highlighted the final 20 minutes in the homecourt win. FSU finished with seven dunks in the game to delight the home fans inside Wink Arena and led by as many as 49 points with 5:47 to play.
As a team, FSU shot 51.3% overall for the game and connected on 10-of-30 (33.3%) three's along with 11-of-13 (84.6%) free throws. Meanwhile, the Tigers shot 35.8% and hit only four-of-17 (23.5%) from downtown to go with 11-of-18 (61.1%) at the stripe.
In addition to the shooting percentages, nearly ever other statistical category also favored the Bulldogs. FSU outrebounded the Tigers 45 to 31 and tallied 18 offensive boards to 11 caroms on the offensive glass for Grace Bible, which led to a 23-13 margin in second chance scoring.
Additionally, the Bulldogs held a 50-26 edge in points scored inside the paint and forced 27 turnovers while netting a 29-10 advantage in points off turnovers. FSU had only 13 miscues of its own. The strong edge in turnovers helped FSU outscore the Tigers 18-2 in fast break production.
Ferris State had a staggering 12 players score, with three scoring in double figures on a balanced night. Lehman led the Bulldogs with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Joining Lehman in double figures were senior guard Dietrich Lever, who scored 15 points, along with junior forward James Chappell, who added 10 points. All 12 FSU players who saw action scored, which helped the Bulldogs receive 40 points off the bench to only 18 for the visitors.
Along with the balanced scoring, the Bulldogs also distributed the ball well with 30 assists in the game. Junior guard Jibreel Jackson tallied a game-high nine while junior forwards Josh Fleming and James Chappell had four each. Freshman guard Drew Cushingberry also had four helpers while Lever chipped in three.
FSU came up with 21 steals off the 27 Grace Bible turnovers to help set the defensive tone. Lever recorded five thefts with Jackson and Cushingberry adding four each. Freshman guard Noah King also had three steals.
On the boards, Cushingberry paced FSU with seven rebounds and FSU also received six from Chappell. All 12 players who saw action also had at least two rebounds each for Ferris State in the victory.
Finally, junior center Jared Stolicker notched three blocked shots as FSU totaled eight in the game.
Grace Bible finished with 12 assists, six steals and a single block.
Leading the way for Grace Bible was freshman center Bernard Smith, who notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards. Five other players each had six for GBC, which dropped to 5-5 overall this season with the setback.
Ferrris State never trailed in the contest and the score was never tied as the Bulldogs scored the first six points in the game and never looked back.
Overall, FSU's 30 total assists in the game were only eight away from the school record of 38 set against Hillsdale back in 1988. The 21 steals were also second only to the school mark of 23 recorded versus Kuyer in 2009 and the eight total blocks were only three away from the school-record 11 notched versus rival Grand Valley State back in 2001.
Over the years, Grace Bible has been one of the nation's best squads at the NCCAA level of competition. They own seven national championships in the past two decades.
Ferris State and GBC squared off for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign when FSU posted a hard-fought 76-73 win at Wink Arena (11/20/12). The Bulldogs improved to 4-1 all-time versus Grace Bible College in regular-season play.
The Bulldogs will wrap up their three-game homestand on Saturday (Nov. 29) as they host Albion in non-league play at 7 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.
Saturday's game will be carried live by the Bulldog Sports Network and Sunny 97.3 FM starting with the Meijer Pregame Show at 6:30 p.m. (ET). Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action courtside at Wink Arena with the broadcast also available online along with a pay-per-view video webcast and live internet statistics at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
The game against Albion was rescheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) due to Ferris State's NCAA football playoff game on campus the same afternoon.
- Contributed by Cody Carlson (FerrisStateBulldogs.com)
Ferris State Nears Century Mark In High-Scoring Win Over Visiting Grace Bible
|Grace Christian (5-4, 1-0 NCCAA)||18||35||53|
|Ferris State (1-2, 0-0 GLIAC)||43||56||99|