Contributor - Cody Carlson
Big Rapids, Mich.- The streak continues for the nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball team as the Bulldogs won their 12th game in a row to remain unbeaten in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play with a 77-62 triumph over Walsh on Saturday (Jan. 10) at Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs received several impressive individual performances and put in a solid showing on both ends of the floor in moving to 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the GLIAC. FSU remains in first place in the conference standings.
The victory stretched FSU's streak to 12-straight in the regular-season, which ranks as the school's best stretch since also winning 12 in a row during the 2010-11 campaign when the Bulldogs claimed the GLIAC North Division Championship and went on to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen.
Despite a slow start from the field, the Bulldogs heated up to take a 38-30 lead into the half. FSU led by as many as 10 points late in the opening half against a Walsh unit that battled hard all afternoon.
"We're thrilled to get another win and we had some guys that played well this afternoon," said FSU head coach Andy Bronkema. "Credit Walsh as their guys came in and played hard. It was nice to complete the sweep of the South Division, but we know there are some big matchups ahead as we prepare to start North Division play."
In the second half, the Bulldogs pushed their lead to 13 points less than six minutes into the frame at 52-39, but Walsh fought back and trimmed the margin to as few as four points at 58-54 with 7:44 to go.
However, the Cavaliers wouldn't get any closer as the Bulldogs finished the game on a 19-8 run to seal the victory.
Junior center Jared Stolicker continued his sensational play as he led the Bulldogs with a game-high 21 points. He also added nine boards and tied the school record with seven blocked shots, matching record holders Dave Swilley and Adam Anderson for the school's single-game mark.
Both junior forward James Chappell and senior guard Drew Lehman joined Stolicker in double figures. Chappell finished with a double-double by totaling 18 points and 12 rebounds. Meanwhile, Lehman added 16 points on four-of-eight shooting from downtown.
FSU also received seven points and four assists off the bench from junior guard Jibreel Jackson while junior forward Josh Fleming contributed six points and four rebounds.
Ferris State finished the game shooting 51.9% from the field and went five-of-17 (29.4%) from the three-point line. The Bulldogs also were 16-of-20 (80%) from the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Walsh was limited to 31.1% shooting from the field. The Cavs, though, hit 10-of-26 (38.5%) from outside and capitalized on 14-of-18 (77.8%) shooting from the charity stripe.
Jesse Hardin led four Walsh players in double-figures with 16 points and he also brought down six rebounds. Kyle Arnold chipped in 13 points for the Cavaliers with Rian Burrell scoring 11 points and L.J. Campbell adding 10 points before fouling out down the stretch.
The Bulldogs won the rebounding battle 39-36 for the day although Walsh pulled down 15 offensive boards to nine for FSU. Despite the figure, Ferris State outscored the Cavaliers 14-13 on second chance production.
Both teams handled the ball well for the most part as FSU forced only eight turnovers in the contest to go with nine of its own. WU held a nine to six margin in points off turnovers.
Ferris State finished with 19 assists in the game, including a game-high five from freshman guard Drew Cushingberry along with four from Jackson and three by Chappell. FSU also blocked 10 shots and recorded six steals.
On the Walsh side, the Cavaliers totaled 13 assists, two steals and a single block.
WU fell to 5-7 overall and 1-7 in the GLIAC with the setback in Big Rapids.
Ferris State's current 8-0 league start is its best since going 16-0 in the GLIAC during the 1988-89 campaign.
Saturday's victory came on 1950's Alumni Reunion Day as FSU welcomed back a group of alumni who competed for the Bulldogs back prior to the Jim Wink era in the 50's.
Ferris State will take its winning streak on the road this coming week as FSU ventures to Michigan's Upper Peninsula for a pair of GLIAC North Division contests. The Bulldogs will face Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 15) at 7:30 p.m. (ET) in Houghton before meeting former FSU head coach Bill Sall and Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 17) in Marquette with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (ET).
Bulldog Bites: The win gave the Bulldogs a perfect 8-0 mark this year against the GLIAC South Division as FSU played its final inter-divisional outing of the season. The remaining 14 regular-season games are all North Division matchups … FSU is presently ranked 22nd in the Division II Media poll along with 25th this past week in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Top 25 Rankings … The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 at home this year with the victory …FSU's 10 total blocks came within a single one of tying the school's single-game team record …Ferris State outscored Walsh 40-16 in the paint and 14-0 in fast break production for the afternoon … The score was tied seven times and the game featured four lead changes, but FSU led for nearly 32 minutes … FSU's Chappell was a perfect eight-of-eight at the free throw stripe … The win was the Bulldogs' second in three all-time series' matchups versus Walsh.