Pivotal Plays Down The Stretch Lift Ferris State To Rivalry Win Over GVSU

Pivotal Plays Down The Stretch Lift Ferris State To Rivalry Win Over GVSU

Big Rapids, Mich. - Pivotal plays down the stretch lifted the Ferris State University men's basketball squad to a hard-fought 74-71 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) rivalry win over Grand Valley State in a Big Monday matchup at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

A crowd of nearly 1,500 fans watched the Bulldogs fight back from a four-point deficit with slightly more than four minutes to play to notch the victory in the 105th all-time series' matchup between the two West Michigan rivals.

FSU still trailed by three with 2:24 to go when sophomore guard Drew Cushingberry scored to pull FSU back within one. After a GVSU free throw, fellow sophomore Noah King converted on an offensive putback to tie the game up with 1:11 to play.

In the final minute, Cushingberry came up with a blocked shot and senior center Jared Stolicker grabbed the rebound on the defensive end before the Lakers fouled Cushingberry. He hit one of two free throws to push FSU in front.

The Lakers had a chance to take the lead with 37 seconds to go, but Chaz Rollins could not finish near the basket and Stolicker grabbed another big rebound on a loose ball. The Bulldogs threw the ball up the floor trying to run time out, but GVSU fouled near midcourt. 

Cushingberry then came up with two more big free throws with 4.5 seconds remaining and a last-second try from GVSU's Aaron Hayes bounced away as time expired, allowing FSU to preserve the win.

Stolicker led FSU with 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to go with three blocked shots as FSU improved to 17-4 overall and 11-4 in the GLIAC. Junior guard Quentin Ruff also reached double-digits as he came off the bench to score 11 points on three-of-four shooting from three-point range along with a pair of free throws. Ruff hit two three's in the opening half as FSU fought back from an early eight-point Laker advantage to grab a 40-34 halftime lead.

Along with Stolicker and Ruff, the Bulldogs received nine points from Cushingberry, who also had eight assists while helping facilitate the offense. Both senior forward James Chappell and King added eight points each in the win as did senior guard Jibreel Jackson.

Ferris State shot 49% for the night in the first of two matchups against the Lakers this campaign. FSU also hit nine-of-24 (37.5%) from three-point range, but went 15-of-29 (51.7%) overall at the line.

Meanwhile, the Lakers converted at a 42.4% clip for the evening. However, GVSU made only three-of-16 (18.8%) three's and was 12-of-19 (63.2%) at the charity stripe.

Rollins tallied a game-high 22 points for Grand Valley State and pulled down 11 boards in a double-double showing. He had a big second half as did forward Ricardo Carbajal, who finished with 13 points and 11 boards in a double-double of his own. The Lakers also got 13 points from point guard Aaron Hayes and 10 by Luke Ryskamp in falling to 14-7 overall and 8-7 in the GLIAC.

GVSU owned a 42-37 rebounding edge and pulled down 15 offensive boards to nine for the Bulldogs, leading to a 12-5 margin in second chance production. The Lakers also forced 12 FSU turnovers and outscored the Bulldogs 14-12 in points off turnovers with only 10 of their own.

The Bulldogs, though, battled to the end in bouncing back from a two-point home setback to division leader Saginaw Valley State on Saturday in a home showdown. FSU produced another strong showing with 11 blcoked shots, including three each from Fleming, Stolicker and redshirt freshman Zach Hankins. The Bulldogs also had seven steals.

Behind Cushingberry's eight assists, FSU finished the game with 20 helpers overall as Fleming added four and Jackson distributed three assists. The pace worked in Ferris State's favor as the Bulldogs outscored GVSU 15-6 on the break despite being outscored 42-30 inside.

The Lakers totaled 16 assists and seven steals overall.

The game featured a total of 12 lead changes in the back-and-forth matchup and was tied nine times in what was the third game in a five-day stretch for both squads.

As part of the contest, the Bulldogs also honored their 2015 GLIAC Championship football and volleyball teams at halftime. Both squads claimed their second consecutive conference crowns in the fall as a large crowd was on hand to recognize the two teams.

Ferris State hits the road as FSU travels to Michigan's Upper Peninsula this weekend. The Bulldogs will face Michigan Tech on Thursday (Feb. 4) in Houghton starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET). FSU then heads to Marquette to face Northern Michigan this Saturday (Feb. 6) in a 1 p.m. (ET) league game.