FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team embarks on a four-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road swing by heading to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this week. The Bulldogs will face Northern Michigan Thursday (Jan. 24) at 7:30 p.m. (EST) in Marquette, Mich. Ferris then takes on Michigan Tech Saturday (Jan. 26) with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST) at Houghton, Mich. Both games will be the second contest of a women’s and men’s doubleheader.
Media Coverage: Both games can be heard live locally on News Talk 1460 AM (WBRN) with Rob Bentley providing the play-by-play action. In addition, an audio-only webcast is slated to be available via the official FSU athletics website at www.ferris.edu/sports. A live video and audio webcast will be available for Thursday’s game at NMU through B2 Networks for a $6 fee while both live statistics and a live pay-per-view video webcast will be available for the Michigan Tech game Saturday. Visit the FSU athletics website and click on internet event schedule for respective game links.
Ticket Info: Ticket information along with travel directions for this week’s games can be obtained by directly contacting the MTU and NMU Athletics Departments, respectively. Michigan Tech’s main office number is (906) 487-3070 while NMU can be reached by dialing (906) 227-2105.
About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 12,578. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich.
The Standings: The Bulldogs enter a key week as they are only a half-game behind both Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan in the GLIAC North Division standings entering this week’s action. Grand Valley State leads the division (8-0) with Northwood (5-4) second followed by MTU and NMU, which are both at 4-5 overall. Ferris is next with a 3-5 mark with Lake Superior State (3-7) and Saginaw Valley State (2-6) rounding out the list. Gannon currently leads the South Division with a 7-1 conference record.
Hit The Road: After this week’s trip to the Upper Peninsula, FSU will make a trek to Ohio next week for contests at Ashland (Jan. 31) along with Findlay (Feb. 2) as the Bulldogs make their two longest GLIAC road trips of the year in back-to-back weeks. After the two trips, the Bulldogs will play four of their final six GLIAC games inside the confines of Wink Arena.
Back On Track: A big run to start the second half sparked Ferris to a 63-58 league win over Mercyhurst this past Saturday (Jan. 19) afternoon inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs, who broke a three-game losing streak with the triumph, fell behind 31-19 at halftime to the visiting Lakers. However, Ferris responded by opening the second period on a 16-0 run to take a 35-31 lead. FSU began the second stanza by scoring 22 of the initial 26 points and never trailed the rest of the way. Freshman center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) led the way for Ferris with a game-high tying 20 points and a contest-best 14 rebounds. Redshirt freshman forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) chipped in 13 points and freshman guard DeJuan Wright (Detroit/Henry Ford) netted nine points for FSU.
FSU Falls To Gannon: Ferris battled the nation's 13th-ranked team for much of the game, but suffered a 75-61 league loss to GLIAC South Division leader Gannon last Thursday (Jan. 17) evening at Jim Wink Arena. The Knights sprinted out to a 16-point lead only nine minutes into the game, but FSU came back to pull within three (39-36) at halftime. GU shot 46% (13-28) from the floor in the final half to earn the win. Justin Keenan led Ferris with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds and freshman guard Bryan Pasciak (Rockford) added 12 points.
Next Home Game: Ferris’ next home game won’t be until Thursday, Feb. 7, when Northern Michigan visits Jim Wink Arena for an 8 p.m. (EST) GLIAC encounter.
Last Campaign: Ferris wrapped up its 2006-07 men's basketball season with an 10-18 overall record and made its fourth consecutive GLIAC Tournament appearance last campaign. The Bulldogs placed tied for third in the GLIAC North Division regular-season standings with a 8-10 league slate this campaign after advancing to the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional Tournament the previous two seasons. FSU captured back-to-back GLIAC North Division titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05 along with advancing to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05.
The Bulldog Roster: Ferris’ current 2007-08 roster includes one senior, two juniors and nine freshmen. Seven of the 12 players are guards while the remaining five are frontcourt players. All 12 players on the Bulldogs’ 2007-08 roster hail from Michigan.
Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, sixth-year FSU head coach Bill Sall previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02) prior to being named Ferris State’s 11th head coach. The Zeeland, Mich., native served as Ferris’ interim head coach for a portion of the 1995-96 campaign and led the Bulldogs to a 5-8 mark. Before joining the coaching ranks, Sall was a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90. He twice (1989-90) received second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-America honors and led Calvin to three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) championships, four NCAA-III Tournament bids and the 1990 NCAA-III Final Four. Sall has a current 90-86 (.511) career mark.
B2 Broadband Webcasts: A live broadband video and audio webcast will be available via B2 Networks for all of FSU’s home games and selected road contests this season. The cost is $6 per game and includes live video along with a radio audio feed. To access the service or obtain more info, please visit the FSU Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports.
Live Internet Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2007-08 Ferris State home games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at www.ferris.edu/sports and click the “Live Stats” icon to access.
GLIAC Games On The Air: All eighteen of FSU’s 2007-08 league games are tentatively slated to be carried live by local radio station WBRN (News Talk 1460 AM). FSU Assistant Athletics Communications Director Rob Bentley will once again call the play-by-play action on the road while Jason DaDay will be the on-air talent for home games. The audio from road contests can also be accessed live via the internet by clicking on the Bulldog Athletics Webcasts icon at www.ferris.edu/sports.
On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics’ official web site can be found at www.ferris.edu/sports. The site features information on all FSU varsity programs including rosters, stats, yearbooks and more.
Bulldog History: Ferris State’s impressive basketball tradition includes 11 GLIAC titles, eight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and a berth in the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris, which last won the GLIAC Tournament championship during the 1997-98 campaign, captured a league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90. FSU has won more GLIAC Championships (11) than any other league member.
What A Change: The Bulldogs had posted only a 21-82 (.204) mark in the four seasons prior to head coach Bill Sall's arrival, but have since went 85-78 (.521) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his five previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02. Additionally, Ferris notched its fifth-straight 10-plus win campaign in 2006-07. Prior to the current stretch under Sall, the Bulldogs had not won more than eight games in the previous four seasons.
Ferris Picked Fourth: Ferris State was picked to finish fourth in the 2007-08 GLIAC Men's Basketball North Division Preseason Poll, which was announced during the league's media day teleconference (Oct. 24) held this season. The poll was chosen for the first time in league history by selected members of the media and the GLIAC's Sports Information Directors. The 30-member group tabbed Grand Valley State and Findlay to win the conference's North and South Division titles, respectively. The Bulldogs totaled 114 points in the balloting.
The Bulldog Tradition: The 2007-08 campaign marks the 80th season of Bulldog men’s basketball. The program began in 1925 although Ferris did not field a team from 1942-45 due to World War II. FSU has compiled a 952-885 (.518) all-time mark. The Bulldogs have won 11 GLIAC titles, made eight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and reached the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris captured a league-record four consecutive GLIAC titles from 1986-90.
All-Tourney Team: Ferris’ Justin Keenan was named to the all-tourney team as the Bulldogs split two games at the 16th annual AT&T Alascom Jamboree (Dec. 28-29) hosted by the University of Alaska-Anchorage in Anchorage, Alaska. He was also chosen as the event’s Player of the Game as the Bulldogs snapped a six-game losing skid with a win over Alaska-Fairbanks in the final day of action.
Not Too Old: FSU’s current roster this season includes nine freshmen, eight of whom are new to the program as true freshmen. The Bulldogs also have one redshirt freshman in Lou Williams. Ferris’ top six scoring leaders this campaign are all in their freshman seasons with forward/center Justin Keenan leading the team in both scoring (16.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg) to date. Nine freshmen have played for FSU this year as the current roster features only three uppperclassmen and one senior in forward C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa).
Rookie Effort: Ferris’ freshman class has accounted for 1,027 of the squad’s 1,257 total points (82%) to date this season. Additionally, 538 of FSU’s 717 total rebounds (75%) this year have came from rookie players.
Bulldog Bites: Ferris presently leads the GLIAC in offensive rebounds (14.95 pg.) for all games played this year ...... FSU ranks second in the league in rebounding offense (37.7) and rebound margin (+6.3) ...... Justin Keenan currently is listed fourth in the GLIAC in rebounding (8.3 rpg) along with sixth in scoring (16.6 ppg). He’s second in offensive rebounds (4.32 pg.) .............. Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in 17 of 19 outings this campaign and has netted six double-double (points & rebounds) efforts. He has also scored 20 points or more six times this season.
See You At The Stripe: FSU’s Justin Keenan has currently attempted 31 more free throws than any other GLIAC player this campaign. Keenan, who ranks 10th in free throw percentage among the GLIAC leaders, has converted 108 of 140 (.771) attempts this year. Grand Valley State’s Callistus Eziukwu has the second-most attempts in the conference, but has made only 46 of his 109 (42%) attempts. Keenan has 54 more attempts than any player found among the top 15 league leaders in free throw percentage.
Scouting Northern Michigan: Northern Michigan holds a 4-13 overall record along with a 4-5 GLIAC mark entering Thursday’s contest. The Wildcats, who are guided by 22nd-year head coach Dean Ellis, were picked to finish third in the 2007-08 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll. They are led in scoring by senior guard Jake Suardini (15.9 ppg). The Wildcats have won three of their last four games to date this year after Sunday’s (Jan. 20) 67-66 league home win over Hillsdale. NMU was 18-11 overall in 2006-07 and placed second (11-7) in the divisional standings.
Scouting Michigan Tech: MTU, which hosts Ashland Thursday (Jan. 24) prior to facing FSU, enters the week with a 9-8 record and a current 4-5 conference ledger. The Huskies, under 14th-year head coach Kevin Luke, have won three of their last four games, but dropped a 83-77 conference home decision to Hillsdale Saturday (Feb. 19). The Huskies were 13-15 overall during the 2006-07 campaign and compiled a third-place tying 8-10 GLIAC North Division record. MTU, which is led in scoring by senior forward Tim Strom (14.3 ppg), was picked to finish second in the 2007-08 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll.
Series Information: NMU is presently 63-45 all-time against the Bulldogs. However, Ferris has captured 10 of the last 12 meetings, including a 89-81triumph in the most recent matchup (2/10/07) at Big Rapids, Mich. FSU’s Bill Sall is 10-2 in his head coaching career against the Wildcats ......... Michigan Tech maintains a 50-48 all-time series’ edge over Ferris although the Bulldogs won the most recent meeting earlier this year (2/8/07) by a score of 61-59 at Big Rapids, Mich. Sall has a current 5-5 mark versus the Huskies and has directed FSU to wins in five of the last seven games.