Ferris State Wins Hard-Fought Battle Between Returning NCAA Tourney Squads

Ferris State Wins Hard-Fought Battle Between Returning NCAA Tourney Squads

Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad pulled out a hard-fought 82-77 victory over the Ashland Eagles in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on Saturday (Dec. 17) evening inside the Big Rapids High School gymnasium.

The Bulldogs notched their second-straight win behind a game-high 26 points from junior guard Mory Diane and two FSU forwards notched double-double efforts as Ferris State improved to 7-3 overall this season.

The game pitted two teams that both reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament a year ago and each entered the league tilt with identical records this season. For the second-straight year, the two teams squared off at BRHS due to winter graduation ceremonies at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

Ferris State shot only 34% from the floor, but turned the ball over only eight times and grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in the triumph. The Eagles fell to 6-4 overall and 2-3 in the GLIAC with the loss.

Diane connected on 10-of-16 field goals and hit a trio of three-pointers along with sinking three free throws, including two with five seconds to play to ice the win. He was joined in double-digits by sophomore center Zach Hankins and sophomore forward Markese Mayfield, who both notched double-double performances.

Hankins scored 13 points and hauled down 13 rebounds with four blocked shots while Mayfield netted 10 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for FSU. The Bulldogs also got nine points from senior guard Quentin Ruff along with eight points each from junior guards Drew Cushingberry and Peter Firlik.

The Bulldogs scored the first 10 points of the game and led 36-35 at halftime thanks to Diane's go-ahead jumper at the end of the opening frame after AU had battled back to take the lead. The two teams fought back and forth in the second half with the game tied 12 times overall and the lead changing hands four times before FSU took control late.

The Eagles were paced by Nick Bapst, who had 21 points off the bench. Torin Wetzel added 17 points and 10 rebounds while sinking five three's and Adrian Cook posted 15 points with six boards and six assists in the setback.

Ashland shot 47% from the floor and hit 11-of-23 (47.8%) three's along with 12-of-17 (70.6%) free throws. Meanwhile, FSU's 34.6% shooting figure included a 10-of-28 (35.7%) showing from downtown and the Bulldogs hit 18-of-22 (81.8%) free throws.

Overall, Ferris State outrebounded Ashland 46-41 for the day and 20-8 on the offensive glass, which led to a 17-11 Bulldog edge in second chance production. FSU also outscored the Eagles 15-13 in points off turnovers as AU finished with 17 miscues on the day.

Ferris State totaled 12 steals with six blocked shots and dished out 16 assists in comparison to Ashland's 20 assists, four steals and three blocks.

Diane had four steals for the Bulldogs while both Firlik and junior forward Noah King notched three apiece. Cushingberry, Firlik and redshirt freshman guard Greg Williams all handed out a team-high three assists each.

Ferris State will play its final game prior to the holiday break on Monday (Dec. 19) as the Bulldogs host the Tiffin Dragons in league action at FSU's Jim Wink Arena. The game gets underway at 12:30 p.m. (ET) as part of a school-day event with a large crowd of children from several area schools expected to be in attendance.