Ferris State Advances To GLIAC Tournament Championship Game For Fourth-Straight Year

Noah King

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Big Rapids, Mich. - The nationally second-ranked Ferris State University men's basketball squad advanced into the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament Championship game for the fourth-straight year as the Bulldogs notched a 85-66 victory over fourth-seeded Ashland on Saturday (March 3) in the semifinals at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

With the win, the Bulldogs will square off against second-seeded Lake Superior State in the league title game on Sunday (March 4) starting at 3 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids.

Ferris State took control in the opening half and built a 40-30 lead over the Eagles in Saturday's semifinals heading into the locker room at halftime. The lead grew to as many as 19 points early in the second half before AU managed to cut the margin down to five in a couple of second half stages.

However, the Bulldogs used some timely shooting and made the most of their opportunities as they never trailed after taking the lead in the first half.

Overall, Ferris State shot 55.9% for the game on its home floor and hit nine-of-18 (50%) three's while also sinking 10-of-14 (71.4%) free throws.

Senior forward Noah King had a big day for the Bulldogs with a game-high 24 points, which included a seven-of-11 effort behind the three-point stripe. He also added five assists in the victory.

Along with King, the Bulldogs got 21 points from junior center Zach Hankins to go with 15 from senior guard Drew Cushingberry. Junior forward Markese Mayfield added seven points off the bench while adding a team-high nine rebounds and five assists.

Defensively, the Bulldogs held AU to 41.7% shooting with the Eagles going seven-of-27 (25.9%) from downtown and nine-of-10 (90%) at the line.

Ashland received 14 points from junior guard Ben Haraway along with 13 points from senior forward Marsalis Hamilton and 12 from senior standout Wendell Davis in addition to 11 off the bench from Teddy Metzen. Aaron Thompson led AU on the glass with a game-high 15 rebounds.

Ferris State owned a 35-29 rebounding edge and forced nine turnovers, which led to a 10-5 margin in points off turnovers. The Bulldogs also scored 38 points inside the paint to 28 for the Eagles in addition to coming up with eight blocked shots and four steals.

Offensively, FSU's up tempo attack generated a 17-4 advantage in fast break production and the Bulldogs shared the ball well as evidenced by their 28 assists. The Eagles finished with 15 assists and had five steals.

The win was Ferris State's school-record 19th consecutive triumph and the Bulldogs have also now won 24 consecutive games inside Jim Wink Arena dating back to last year.

Sunday's league tournament title matchup against Lake Superior State will represent the third meeting of the season between the two conference rivals with the winner receiving the GLIAC's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Both teams figure to make the national tournament regardless of the outcome.

Ferris State, which is 31-1 overall following Saturday's victory, is also the number one team in the region and could potentially host the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament March 10-13 when the official national tournament selections are announced late Sunday night at 10:30 p.m. at www.NCAA.com.

Tickets for Sunday's league tournament title game are available online at StarTickets.com or the FSU Ticket Office will open starting two hours prior to game time on Sunday with the doors to Wink Arena opening at 2 p.m. The first 100 FSU students with a valid ID will receive free admission.