Buzzer-Beating Three Helps Lift Ferris State Men's Basketball To Overtime Road Victory

Buzzer-Beating Three Helps Lift Ferris State Men's Basketball To Overtime Road Victory

Romeoville, Ill. - A buzzer-beating three from guard Quentin Ruff as time expired gave the Ferris State University men's basketball team new life and enabled the Bulldogs to pull out a thrilling 83-72 overtime triumph over Lewis (Ill.) University as FSU stayed unbeaten on Wednesday (Nov. 18) night at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill.

Ruff's three-pointer on the final possession of regulation came several steps beyond the three-point stripe and found the bottom of the net at the buzzer, sending the game to overtime. From there, the Bulldogs outscored the Flyers 18-7 in the extra five minutes to notch the road triumph.

With the win, Ferris State improved to 3-0 overall this year in regular-season action and all three victories have come against Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) opponents from the Midwest Region.

Ruff wasn't the only Illinois native who had a big night in his return to the Chicago area as senior forward Josh Fleming scored a game-high 23 points with 13 rebounds in the victory. He hit 10-of-12 free throws and also finished with six steals, two assists and a blocked shot in the win.

Meanwhile, Ruff tallied 14 points on four-of-10 shooting from downtown while FSU also received 14 points from senior center Jared Stolicker, who hit all six of his field goal attempts in the game. Stolicker added six rebounds and three blocked shots.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a seven-point lead in the first half before the Flyers rallied and the two teams eventually headed to the locker room tied at 33 at halftime. In the second half, FSU took advantage and eventually extended its lead to as many as 10 points with under seven minutes to play.

However, the Flyers rallied again behind the play of Frank Vukaj, who netted 16 points off the bench. LU took the lead late and held a three-point edge before Ruff's last-second heroics sent the game to overtime.

While Vukaj came alive down the stretch before fouling out, FSU did a much better job on Lewis standout Max Strus in the second half. The sophomore wing man hit his season average with 20 points in the first half, but Ferris State limited him to two points the rest of the way as he finished with 22 points and nine rebounds in 43 minutes. Finally, Kyle Nelson chipped in 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Flyers, who fell to 2-1 with their first loss of the year.

Both teams shot near 40% for the game and FSU finished seven-of-29 (24.1%) behind the three-point stripe as the Flyers played a zone against the Bulldogs the entire night. FSU made only three-of-17 (17.6%) tries in the second half, but along with Ruff's three at the horn FSU also received a big trey from Fleming in overtime.

Lewis also struggled beyond the arc as the Flyers went four-of-14 (28.6%) from downtown. They made 16-of-20 (80%) free throws with FSU sinking 22-of-32 (68.8%) tries from the charity stripe.

The Flyers managed to outrebound FSU 43-41 for the game, but FSU forced 20 turnovers and outscored Lewis 18-15 in points off miscues. The Bulldogs also came up with 12 steals and had nine blocked shots in the game compared to nine steals and three blocks for the hosts.

Finally, Ferris State also distributed the ball better with 19 assists compared to eight for LU. Sophomore guard Drew Cushingberry tallied a game-high six assists for the Bulldogs while senior forward James Chappell added five.

The game featured 12 lead changes and the score was tied 11 times as the Bulldogs beat the Flyers in close fashion for the second-straight year. It also marked perhaps one of the first Bulldog victories ever at Neil Carey Arena.

Ferris State will return home to host St. Joseph's (Ind.) in the Bulldogs' home opener on Saturday, Nov. 21, at FSU's Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff has been moved up to 5 p.m. (ET).