Contribution By Cody Carlson
Big Rapids, Mich.- The nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad kept its win-streak alive and stayed red hot with an impressive 84-78 victory over the Northwood Timberwolves on Thursday (Jan. 22) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs remained unbeaten in the GLIAC and stayed undefeated at home with the win before a crowd of 1,150 fans in Big Rapids.
Ferris State registered its 15th-straight victory in the regular-season behind a monster game from senior guard Drew Lehman, who finished with a game-high 28 points for the Bulldogs.
"We got a great lift off our bench tonight and our guys performed well and played with energy," said FSU head coach Andy Bronkema. "We had a great crowd and it they did a great job of supporting our team and we fed off them."
After trailing by six points midway thru the opening stanza, Ferris State grabbed a 39-34 advantage heading into the locker room at halftime on a last-second first half three from Lehman, who netted 14 points in the first frame.
Lehman then gave FSU yet another lift with two early treys to start the second half to push the Bulldogs' lead to double-digits. From there, Ferris State didn't look back as the Bulldogs stretched the lead to 18 points with 7:11 to play before holding off a late Northwood comeback try down the stretch.
With the win, the18th-ranked Bulldogs improved to 15-2 overall and 11-0 in the GLIAC. FSU remains tied atop the conference standings with Saginaw Valley State following Thursday's action.
Lehman's game-high 28 points for FSU came on 10-of-17 shooting and he knocked down five three's in the game while adding six assists and two steals. Junior center Jared Stolicker had another solid game as well, netting 13 points and bringing down eight boards. Finally, senior guard Dietrich Lever rounded out the Bulldogs in double-digits by scoring 10 points in the victory.
Ferris State received balance throughout the lineup as all 10 players who saw action scored in the contest. Freshman guard Noah King came off the bench to score eight points while junior forwards Josh Fleming and James Chappell both tallied seven points each in the victory.
Northwood dropped to 11-6 overall and 6-5 in the GLIAC with the road setback. The Timberwolves were paced by Will Bowles with 22 points and three others joined him in double figures. Dylan Langkabel started quickly and posted a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards. Meanwhile, standout guard Maurice Jones added 16 points, all of which came in the second half, and freshman Nick Spitzley finished with 12 points.
The Bulldogs shot 53.4% on the night, including a 57.1% figure over the final 20 minutes of action. FSU went nine-of-21 (33.3%) from the three-point line and 13-of-21(61.9%) from the free throw stripe.
Meanwhile, the Timberwolves finished shooting 46.9% on the night and were seven-of-21 (33.3%) from downtown. They ended the game hitting 11-of-14 (78.6%) free throws.
Northwood did own a slight edge on the boards by a 34-33 count and grabbed 14 offensive boards to 10 for the Bulldogs. They outscored FSU 14-8 in second chance production for the game. Fleming paced FSU on the boards with nine for the night.
However, the Bulldogs gained 16 points off of 14 Northwood turnovers. FSU also had five blocked shots on the defensive end with Stolicker recording three of them. Overall, a total of 12 steals were also recorded by the Bulldogs in the win with four players totaling two each.
Ferris State finished with 23 assists as Fleming and Lehman both led the squad with six apiece. The Timberwolves had 18 team dimes with Jones dishing out eight to go with 16 points and seven rebounds.
Overall, the game featured two lead changes and the contest was tied five times.
The victory was FSU's first over Northwood in two seasons as the Timberwolves swept the Bulldogs a year ago with victories both at Wink Arena and in Midland. The two teams will face each other again this year on Feb. 12 when FSU pays a return visit.
Presently, the Bulldogs' current 15-game win streak is the school's longest since a record-setting 18-game win streak back in 1988-89 when FSU finished a perfect 16-0 in the GLIAC. This year's 11-game conference-opening victory stretch is the Bulldogs' best league start since that memorable campaign.
Ferris State, which is now a perfect 8-0 at home this season, will continue its three-game homestand by hosting Lake Superior State in another big GLIAC North Division matchup on Saturday (Jan. 24) afternoon. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) between the Bulldogs and Lakers, who have only two losses in the GLIAC to date and sit right behind FSU and SVSU in the divisional standings.
Saturday will also be Special Olympics Day with local Special Olympians recognized at halftime of the afternoon doubleheader.