Big Rapids, Mich. – The nationally seventh-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball team earned its nation-leading 17th victory of the year with an 85-66 triumph over the Michigan Tech Huskies in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on Thursday (Jan. 11) night at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
Ferris State junior center Zach Hankins, who was honored during pregame activities for breaking the school record for most career blocked shots, picked up 14 points and five rebounds to go with a pair of blocks in leading the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs also received 13 points off the bench from junior guard DeShaun Thrower along with 12 points from junior forward Markese Mayfield. Senior forward Noah King also finished with 12 points, shooting 4-of-5 from beyond the arc for the night.
The Bulldogs sprinted out to a 17-4 lead in the early going and cruised past the Huskies with a nine-point first half margin. FSU led 36-27 at intermission before outscoring MTU 49-39 in the second half while moving to 17-1 overall and 7-1 in the GLIAC.
Ferris State force 20 MTU Turnovers and picked up 11 steals, outscoring the Huskies 26-3 in points off of turnovers. The Bulldogs also had a 26-7 edge in fast break points as they set the tempo much of the way.
Both teams were dead even off of the bench, scoring 33 bench points apiece, but FSU never trailed in the game.
The Huskies were lead by Dawson Bilski's 11 points. The Huskies outrebounded the Bulldogs 35-25 in the contest. Tommy Lucca had a game-high seven assists and A.J. Grazulis had five rebounds for Michigan Tech.
Thrower added a spark off of the Bulldog bench with 13 points, including a pair of second-half three-pointers.
Overall, both teams shot right at 50% for the game with FSU going 11-of-20 (55%) from three-point range and 10-of-13 (76.9%) at the free throw stripe. The Huskies converted seven-of-16 (43.8%) three's along with five-of-seven (71.4%) tries at the line.
Finally, FSU dished out 26 assists with six from senior guard Drew Cushingberry to go with five from Thrower. King had four steals for Ferris State on the defensive side with both Mayfield and Hankins blocking two shots each. Both also had a team-leading five rebounds in the win.
With the loss, Michigan Tech fell to 7-8 overall and 4-4 in the GLIAC. The Bulldogs limited the GLIAC's leading scorer in Michigan Tech junior forward Kyle Monroe to only seven points on three-of-nine shooting and he went scoreless in the opening half.
Ferris State remains tied for first place in the GLIAC North with Lake Superior State and will face Northern Michigan, which trails both teams by a single game, on Saturday (Jan. 13) at Wink Arena with tipoff set for 1 p.m. (ET).
FSU will honor former head coach Tom Ludwig and players from the "Ludwig era" as part of a special Bulldog reunion on Saturday in Big Rapids.