Strong Finish Leads Bulldogs To Fifth-Straight Win To Set Up First-Place Showdown

Strong Finish Leads Bulldogs To Fifth-Straight Win To Set Up First-Place Showdown

Hillsdale, Mich. - A strong finish led the nationally-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad to its fifth-straight victory as the Bulldogs pulled out a 79-69 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road win on Thursday (Jan. 28) night at Hillsdale.

The Bulldogs improved to 16-3 overall this season by outscoring 18-8 over the final five minutes. The win was FSU's fifth in a row in league play, including the third consecutive on the road.

With the win, FSU also remained only a game-behind GLIAC North Division leader Saginaw Valley State, setting up a big contest on Saturday (Jan. 30) when FSU hosts the Cardinals at Jim Wink Arena starting at 3 p.m. (ET).

Ferris State led 36-35 after a back-and-forth first half of play. The host Chargers came back to take a seven-point lead with 11:35 remaining before the Bulldogs fought back and tied the game up heading into the final five minutes.

In the final five minutes of the game, junior guard Quentin Ruff hit a pair of three-pointers and senior forward Josh Fleming scored twice. Senior forward James Chappell added a bucket and two free throws before sophomore guard Drew Cushingberry sealed the triumph with two made tries at the charity stripe late in the contest.

Ruff paced the Bulldogs with a team-high 18 points in 28 minutes of work off the bench while Chappell added 17 points on six-of-10 shooting from the floor and a five-of-five performance at the free throw stripe. FSU senior center Jared Stolicker chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds with Fleming adding 11 points in the win.

Ferris State shot 54% overall from the floor and went five-of-18 (27.8%) from downtown along with 10-of-12 (83%) at the free throw line. The Bulldogs also had only 11 turnovers and outrebounded Hillsdale by a 35-31 count.

Defensively, FSU limited the Chargers to only 37.9% shooting and Hilldale went seven-of-26 (26.9%) from three-point range along with 18-of-20 (90%) at the line.

Talented Hillsdale senior forward Kyle Cooper worked for his game-high 32 points on 10-of-18 shooting. Senior guard Zach Miller added 11 points, but those were the only two HC players to reach double-digits in the setback.

FSU outscored the Chargers 50-28 in the paint and 9-0 on the break while also receiving 26 points off the bench to only three for Hillsdale. The Chargers did manage a 20-12 edge in points off turnovers despite turning it over 13 times on the night.

Overall, the Bulldogs also netted 17 assists with four from Fleming along with three apiece by Cushingberry, Ruff and sophomore guard Noah King. FSU totaled five blocked shots and five steals in the win as the Bulldogs moved to 10-3 in the GLIAC.

Hillsdale fell to 11-6 overall and 7-6 in the league with the setback in the first of two matchups between the squads this season. The win was FSU's first on the road against the Chargers since 2009. HC had won 10 of the previous 12 games between the two squads prior to the setback. In addition, the loss was the Chargers' first at home in eight tries at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena this campaign.

Saturday's showdown against Saginaw Valley State will be the first of a #BeatTheValleys homestand for the Bulldogs as FSU then hosts archrival Grand Valley State on Monday (Feb. 1) night starting at 8 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.