#22 Ferris State All Alone In First Place In GLIAC After Big Road Win In GLIAC Showdown

#22 Ferris State All Alone In First Place In GLIAC After Big Road Win In GLIAC Showdown

University Center, Mich. - The nationally 22nd-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad took over sole possession of first place in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) standings as the Bulldogs rallied for a 62-57 victory on the road in a showdown against the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals on Saturday (Jan. 31) afternoon at O'Neill Arena.

The host Cardinals scored the first eight points of the contest and jumped out to an 11-point first half lead before FSU trimmed the margin back to two points at 34-32 at halftime.

In the second half, SVSU pushed its lead back to nine points at one stage and led 54-49 with 5:34 to play. However, the Bulldogs went to a zone set defensively and it helped FSU go on a 8-0 run to take a 57-54 advantage with 1:41 remaining.

A three-point shot from Saginaw Valley State's Garrett Hall with 1:24 left tied the game back up, but FSU answered with a basket from junior forward Josh Fleming. A missed free throw at the front end of a one-and-one situation by SVSU's Kellen Smith gave the ball back to the Bulldogs and FSU senior guard Drew Lehman eventually hit a pair of free throws with 19 seconds to go to give the Bulldogs a four-point lead.

Saginaw Valley State was not able to convert at the offensive end as Hall missed a three-pointer and Lehman dove to the floor for a critical defensive rebound before sending the outlet pass to junior guard Jibreel Jackson. He was fouled intentionally with 2.6 seconds to go by Smith and knocked down a free throw to account for the final margin.

Lehman paced the Bulldogs with a game-high 20 points in the contest and hit all six of his free throws while adding five rebounds and two steals. Meanwhile, both Fleming and Jackson added 13 points each while junior forward James Chappell scored eight points.

Ferris State also received a game-high and career-best 17 rebounds from junior center Jared Stolicker.

The Cardinals were led by talented forward C.J. Turnage, who had 16 points. Caleb Davis added 12 points in the setback for SVSU, which fell to 16-4 overall and 12-2 in league play.

Ferris State, which improved to 17-3 overall and 13-1 in the GLIAc, shot 41.4% from the floor, but was only three-of-12 (25%) from downtown and 11-of-19 (57.9%) at the line.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals shot 38.6% from the floor and hit five-of-16 (31.3%) three's in addition to eight-of-12 (66.7%) free throws.

Both teams finished with 38 rebounds and each scored 14 second chance points as FSU pulled down 15 offensive boards and the Cardinals netted 14 offensive caroms.

Ferris State forced 13 SVSU turnovers and came up with eight steals and three blocked shots while SVSU totaled six steals on 10 Bulldog miscues and had a single block.

Overall, the game featured three lead changes and was tied only once before FSU pulled out the win despite the fact Saginaw Valley State led for 32 minutes of the game.

The victory was Ferris State's third-straight over SVSU and it marked FSU's 17th win in its last 18 games overall this campaign.

The Bulldogs will return to the floor on Monday (Feb. 2) night as they visit West Michigan rival Grand Valley State for an 8 p.m. (ET) league tilt at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena in Allendale. The contest can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

FSU then returns home on Thursday (Feb. 5) to host Michigan Tech at FSU's Jim Wink Arena to start round two of GLIAC North Division play before entertaining former FSU head coach Bill Sall and Northern Michigan on Saturday (Feb. 7) in Big Rapids.