#19 Ferris State Pulls Off Upper Peninsula Sweep With Key Plays Down Stretch In 14th-Straight Win

#19 Ferris State Pulls Off Upper Peninsula Sweep With Key Plays Down Stretch In 14th-Straight Win

Marquette, Mich. - Key plays down the stretch helped keep the nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad unbeaten in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) as the Bulldogs won their 14th-straight game with a close 61-58 triumph over Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 17) at the Berry Events Center in Marquette.

The Bulldogs completed a two-game sweep of Upper Peninsuala foes Michigan Tech and NMU on the road with Saturday's victory, marking only the third time in the past 25 years in which FSU has accomplished the feat and first time in five seasons.

The victory over Northern Michigan came in the third matchup against former FSU head coach Bill Sall, who led Ferris State to four GLIAC North Division Championships before taking over the NMU helm last season.

The Bulldogs, under second-year head coach Andy Bronkema, remained perfect in conference play as FSU improved to 14-2 overall and 10-0 in the GLIAC.

"We didn't play our best basketball, but it is a credit to our guys who had the will to win and found a way to make big plays down the stretch to pull out the victory," he said.

Ferris State led by as many as nine points in a back-and-forth first half before taking a 34-31 lead at the break. In the second half, the lead changed hands several times as the two teams combined for 10 lead changes and the score was tied seven times in the highly-competitive divisional contest.

FSU trailed by a single point after a three-pointer from NMU's Marcus Hall with 95 seconds to play, but the 19th-ranked Bulldogs answered with a layup inside from junior forward Josh Fleming and then came up with a critical defensive stop as junior center Jared Stolicker grabbed a rebound. Soon after, junior guard Jibreel Jackson was fouled and he hit both free throws to push FSU's lead to three points.

On the game's final possession, Northern Michigan got off a pair of contested three-pointers from Hall, but both came up short as the Bulldogs held on for the win.

Fleming led FSU with a team-high 15 points and 11 rebounds in a double-double performance. Meanwhile, junior forward James Chappell added 11 points and eight boards as the pair keyed the win. The Bulldogs also received 11 points from senior guard Drew Lehman along with seven points and 11 boards from Stolicker in the triumph.

Northern Michigan, which fell to 6-10 overall and 4-6 in the GLIAC, was led by freshman Jordan Perez, who netted a game-high 21 points. Hall added 10 points, but those were the lone two NMU players to reach double-digit scoring.

The Bulldogs were held to only 35.4% shooting for the day, but came up with 22 offensive rebounds and outscored NMU 19-6 in second chance production. FSU also held a 12-2 edge in points off turnovers and turning the Wildcats over 12 times for the contest.

Northern Michigan kept the game close with a 45.8% shooting figure and the Wildcats also hit five-of-18 (27.8%) three's in addition to nine-of-13 (69.2%) free throws.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were six-of-21 (28.6%) beyond the arc and nine-of-14 (64.3%) at the line for the day. Overall, Ferris State also outrebounded the Wildcats 41-29 for the contest with NMU grabbing only eight offensive caroms.

Along with his 11 points, Lehman paced FSU with four assists while Chappell had a pair of steals and Stolicker totaled three blocked shots. FSU finished with 10 assists, five steals and five blocks to go with 10 turnovers.

The Wildcats totaled 11 assists, six steals and five blocks with all four blocks coming from freshman forward Alex Sorenson. Junior guard Terry Nash dished out a game-high seven assists and had two steals for NMU.

Ferris State also received seven points from senior guard Dietrich Lever and six points off the bench by freshman wing Noah King.

The Bulldogs' win was their 23rd in the last 27 series' encounters against Northern Michigan although 21 of the wins came under Sall's direction in the series. FSU beat the Wildcats for the second time in three matchups under Bronkema's direction.

FSU stayed in first place in the GLIAC North Division with the win as the Bulldogs entered the day tied atop the divisional standings with Saginaw Valley State, which hosts Northwood on Saturday evening.

The sweep of MTU and NMU in the Upper Peninsula was FSU's first since 2008-09. The Bulldogs also accomplished the feat in 2004-05, but had not done so since 1989 prior to the past 10 years.

The Bulldogs return home to open a three-game homestand starting next Thursday (Jan. 22) against the Northwood Timberwolves with tipoff set for 8 p.m. (ET) at Jim Wink Arena. FSU then hosts Lake Superior State on Saturday (Jan. 24) starting at 3 p.m. (ET) in conference play.