Ferris State Takes Final Four Contender Michigan State To The Wire In Close Setback

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East Lansing, Mich. - Ferris State University gave one of the top teams in college basketball all it could handle for nearly 40 minutes on Thursday (Oct. 26) night as FSU battled national title contender Michigan State tooth and nail in a 80-72 exhibition setback inside the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

The Bulldogs, who are the preseason #9 team in the nation in the Street & Smith's Division II poll, took the preseason #2 team in the USA Today Division I Coaches Poll to the wire before the Spartans used a late run to pull out the win.

Ferris State led by 10 points only four minutes into the game and held a 38-35 halftime lead before being outscored by MSU 45-34 in the second half.

Overall, the game featured 10 lead changes and the score was tied five times in the first matchup between the two in-state opponents since 2015.

Michigan State scored the opening basket of the game before FSU reeled off 12 straight points in the opening four minutes of action to grab the early lead. Overall, the Bulldogs shot 37.1% from the floor in the first half and hit five three's en route to the three-point cushion at the break.

After holding the Spartans to only 28.9% shooting in the opening 20 minutes of action, though, Michigan State connected on 14-of-34 shots (41.2%) in the second half while coming back to grab the lead.

The game was still tied with seven minutes to go before the Spartans surged ahead and held off FSU down the stretch.

Sophomore guard Cassius Winston led Michigan State with a game-high 26 points and he his timely shooting late keyed the Spartan victory. He went four-of-six from beyond the arc and added five assists along with two steals in the win.

In addition to Winston, the Spartans got 19 points from standout Miles Bridges along with 14 points, eight rebounds and eight blocked shots from freshman newcomer Jaren Jackson, Jr.

The Bulldogs stayed close thanks to a deep and balanced lineup that kept the Spartans off balance much of the night. Sophomore guard D'angelo Hughes notched a team-high 14 points on five-of-seven shooting while both senior forward Noah King and senior guard Drew Cushingberry tallied 13 points apiece.

FSU also got 12 points, a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks from All-America center Zach Hankins.

Overall, the Bulldogs finished shooting 37.3% for the game and hit seven-of-24 (29.2%) three's to go with 15-of-21 (71.4%) free throws. The Spartans finished shooting 34.7% for the night and made seven-of-27 (25.9%) long range tries in addition to 23-of-27 (85.2%) tries at the stripe.

Michigan State had a big second half on the glass as the Spartans finished with a 51-43 rebounding edge and pulled down 19 offensive boards, which led to a 29-10 margin in second chance production that helped spell the difference in the game.

Ferris State managed to outscore MSU 34-32 in the paint and 22-12 on the break while forcing the tempo. FSU had 11 turnovers compared to MSU's eight overall.

Defensively, the Spartans blocked 13 shots and came up with three steals while FSU had five steals and two blocks.

The Bulldogs will play their final exhibition game back at home on Saturday (Oct. 28) night as FSU hosts Grand Rapids Community College starting at 6 p.m. (ET) inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.