Memorable Ferris State Postseson Run Ends In NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen

Postgame Press Conference 
Season Review Video 

Somers, Wis. - A memorable postseason run came to an end for the Ferris State University men's basketball squad in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship Game on Tuesday (March 15) night as Saginaw Valley State pulled out a 63-61 victory in a tight contest played at DeSimone Gymnasium on the campus of Wisconsin-Parkside.

The fifth-seeded Cardinals beat the Bulldogs for the third time this year to end FSU's five-game postseason victory streak and advance to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in their first-ever national tournament appearance.

Ferris State, which was making its 11th all-time NCAA Tournament bid, had its memorable year come to a close with a 24-10 overall record. Along with finishing as the regional runner-up, the Bulldogs also claimed a second-straight GLIAC Tournament Championship this year and finished with its first back-to-back 20-win campaigns since the late 1980's.

The All-GLIAC regional final was a close one throughout as both teams struggled to find the bottom of the basket after posting big wins in the first two days of regional action. After an early eight-point SVSU lead in the first minutes of the contest, FSU battled back and it was tied 28-28 at halftime.

In the second half, Ferris State scored nine of the first 10 points to grab an eight-point lead with 15:32 remaining, but this time Saginaw Valley State responded. It was back and forth down the stretch until the final two minutes when SVSU scored a couple of key baskets and knocked down several free throws to hold off yet another valiant Bulldog comeback.

The Cardinals moved to 25-7 overall this year as the GLIAC's regular-season champions beat the league's postseason champions in the Bulldogs. Ferris State was competing its fifth regional final, including its third since 2005 and first since 2011.

Senior guard Damon Bozeman paced SVSU with 14 points and went eight-of-10 from the line while adding seven rebounds. Garrett Hall chipped in with 12 points for the Cardinals, who shot only 35% from the floor for the game and went two-of-13 (15.4%) from three-point range. They did manage to make 17-of-24 (70.8%) free throws.

Ferris State was led by sophomore guard Drew Cushingberry's game-high tying 14 points. Senior center Jared Stolicker added 13 points and a squad-best seven rebounds with three blocked shots. The Bulldogs also received nine points from senior forward James Chappell along with seven by senior forward Josh Fleming.

Overall, FSU shot 38% for the night and made five-of-20 (25%) three's and 10-of-15 (67%) free throws.

However, the Bulldogs were outrebounded 48-36 for the game and SVSU grabbed 17 offensive boards to eight for FSU, leading to a slim 12-10 margin in second chance scoring. The Bulldogs did force 12 Saginaw Valley State turnovers compared to only nine of their own while totaling a 13-5 advantage in points off miscues.

Finally, Ferris State finished with 12 blocked shots, 10 assists and five steals compared to SVSU's eight assists, five steals and three blocks.

The contest was tied 10 times and featured six lead changes. Both teams also were dead even in the paint with 32 points each.

The loss ended the collegiate careers of four Bulldog seniors in Stolicker, Chappell, Fleming and guard Jibreel Jackson, who helped lead FSU to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen this season.

For their efforts, both Stolicker and Cushingberry were named to the Midwest Regional All-Tournament Team.