Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad notched its 10th victory of the season and completed a weekend Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) home sweep with a 71-68 victory over Wayne State in a league battle on Sunday (Jan. 3) afternoon at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
In what was yet another tight battle in a longstanding conference series between the Bulldogs and the Warriors, Ferris State ultimately came out on top in a game that featured 53 fouls and 56 free throws as the two squads fought tooth and nail to the end.
"It wasn't a pretty game to watch, but again our kids found a way to get it done," said FSU head coach Andy Bronkema. "Both teams competed hard and it was tough to get into a flow. We made enough plays down the stretch to pull it out."
Early on, it looked like the Bulldogs might pull away as FSU built a 12-point lead with 7:22 to play in the opening half. However, Wayne State used a big run late in the half to knot the game up at 27-27 at the break.
In the second half, both teams had trouble getting into a rhythm as the fouls mounted. Overall, Wayne State was whistled for 27 infractions and FSU totaled 25 with three players fouling out of the game and a total of seven netting four fouls or more.
The game featured only two lead changes and was tied five times, but it remained close down the stretch. WSU had a late opportunity to knot the game up, but missed a three-pointer late as FSU held on for the win. The Bulldogs led for more than 35 minutes on the afternoon.
Senior center Jared Stolicker fueled the Bulldogs as he finished with a game-high 22 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a double-double showing. He also converted 12-of-15 free throws while adding three blocked shots, two assists and a steal.
Along with Stolicker, sophomore guard Drew Cushingberry scored 13 points with senior forward Josh Fleming coming on late to finish with 11 points, including a key three-pointer down the stretch. He also had five assists, four rebounds and three blocks.
In addition to the three players in double-digits, the Bulldogs received seven points and six boards from senior forward James Chappell to go with six points by sophomore guard Peter Firlik. Redshirt freshman center Zach Hankins added five points and five boards while spelling Stolicker for 11 minutes.
Ferris State finished shooting only 38.6% from the floor, but the Bulldogs sank 23-of-32 (71.9%) free throws. FSU also hit four-of-18 (22.2%) three's and turned the ball over only nine times on the afternoon.
The numbers on the Wayne State side were similar as the Warriors were held to 37.1% shooting and made five-of-14 (35.7%) three's along with 17-of-24 (70.8%) tries from the charity stripe. WSU netted 12 turnovers.
Wayne State was paced by big man Joel Ndondo, who totaled 14 points and 10 boards in a double-double showing before fouling out of the game after only 17 minutes of work. Ronald Booth added 13 points, Clark Bishop scored 11 points and Marcus Moore contributed 10 points in the Wayne State backcourt.
While Ferris State outscored WSU 32-28 in the paint, the Warriors did benefit from a 43-41 rebounding edge. They also grabbed 14 offensive boards to 12 for FSU, leading to a 16-9 advantage in second chance scoring.
However, the Bulldogs blocked 13 shots on the defensive side as Stolicker, Fleming and Chappell all had three each. Cushingberry added two swats while sophomore guard Noah King and Hanks each had one. WSU had only three blocks and two steals with FSU coming up with four thefts.
The Bulldogs also outscored Wayne State 10-0 on the break for the game.
With the win, Ferris State moved to 10-2 on the year and 4-2 in the GLIAC. Wayne State fell to 2-7 overall and 2-4 in league play. This year marks only the seventh time in more than 80 seasons of Bulldog Basketball in which FSU has won 10 of its first 12 games, but it is also the second-straight season as Ferris State opened with an identical 10-2 mark a year ago en route to an NCAA Tournament berth.
Ferris State will hit the road for two games in Ohio this coming week. FSU visits Malone on Thursday (Jan. 7) for a 8 p.m. (ET) league encounter in Canton and then takes on Walsh on Saturday (Jan. 9) afternoon at 3 p.m. (ET). Both games can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
After the trip to Ohio, FSU returns home to host Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan on Jan. 14 and Jan. 16, respectively, at Wink Arena.
Ferris State Men's Basketball Notches 10th Win Of Year By Completing Weekend Home Sweep
|Wayne State (2-7, 2-4 GLIAC)||27||41||68|
|Ferris State (10-2,4-2 GLIAC)||27||44||71|