FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team opens the home portion of its 2008-09 schedule by hosting Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) member St. Joseph’s (Ind.) Thursday, Nov. 20, inside FSU’s Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (EST).
Media Coverage: Listen to the game live locally on WBRN (1460 AM or 107.7 FM). FSU will provide a live audio/video pay-per-view webcast via B2 Networks along with live internet statistics for the game. Visit the FSU Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports and click on internet event schedule for a complete list of all available links.
Ticket Info: Tickets for all 2008-09 Ferris home basketball games are available at the door starting one hour prior to tipoff. All single-game general admission ticket prices are $7. FSU students are admitted free with ID. Call (231) 591-2860 for more info on home ticket sales.
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.
Last Time Out: Ferris gave preseason nationally fourth-ranked Northern Kentucky all it could handle for much of the game before the Norse eventually pulled out a 72-57 triumph over the Bulldogs in the season opener last Saturday (Nov. 15) afternoon in Highland Heights, Ky. The Bulldogs trailed 38-27 at halftime despite shooting only 34% from the floor in the opening stanza and cut a 13-point deficit down to only four points with 8:45 to go in the game, but NKU was able to go on a 15-2 run to put the game away in the first-ever regular season contest played inside NKU's new state of the art Bank of Kentucky Center. A crowd of 2,477 was on hand. Junior guard Josh Young (Ypsilanti) paced the Bulldogs with 18 points, sophomore center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) netted 16 points and sophomore guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) tallied 11 points for FSU.
Exhibition Results: Ferris won both of its exhibition games this year inside Jim Wink Arena. FSU used a double-double effort from Justin Keenan and a key defensive stop on the final possession of the game to post a 74-73 victory over West Michigan opponent Cornerstone in its first exhibition game two weeks ago (Oct. 30). Keenan tallied a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds while adding four steals and two blocked shots to spark the Bulldog victory. Josh Young added 13 points in the Bulldog win. In the second exhibition game, three players reached double-figures as Ferris State rolled to a 80-66 win over longtime rival Calvin (Nov. 11). The Bulldogs jumped out to a 48-31 halftime lead and never trailed in the final 30 minutes of the game while leading by as many as 25 points with 17 minutes to go in posting the convincing win. Ten of the 12 FSU players who played in the outing scored as the Bulldogs displayed an improved performance at both ends of the floor. Justin Keenan led the way with game-highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Josh Young chipped in 13 points and junior forward Verdell Billingsley (Cleveland, Ohio/Lakewood) added 10 points for the Bulldogs.
The Rankings: The Bulldogs received 18 points and were listed second among other teams receiving votes in the 2008-09 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Preseason National Poll (Oct. 30). Northern Kentucky was listed sixth in the NABC poll along with being the nation’s preseson number four team in the Division II Bulletin Rankings entering last Saturday’s initial game.
Last Season: Ferris posted a 10-19 overall record and was 5-13 in GLIAC play with nine freshmen in the program during the 2007-08 season. FSU previously advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06 after claiming back-to-back league titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05. The Bulldogs also reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05.
Welcome Back: The Bulldogs welcome back eight letterwinners and four starters from last season’s squad. FSU has two seniors who will play this year in forwards Mark Gildersleeve (Byron Center) and Jason Holder (Saginaw/Arthur Hill). Justin Keenan was the squad’s leading scorer (16.9 ppg.) and rebounder (6.9 rpg.) last season.
New To Campus: The Bulldogs have seven newcomers on this season’s roster, including five transfers and two freshmen. Three of the transfer players are from the junior college ranks. The two exceptions are Central Michigan senior transfer Jon Yeazel (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg) and junior guard/forward Austin Randel (Lake City/McBain). Yeazel will redshirt this season. Randel averaged a team-high 20.7 points while starting all 27 contests at NCAA-II North Greenville (S.C.) last campaign.
Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, seventh-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 92-95 (.492) career mark.
Worth Noting: Ferris State notched its sixth-straight 10-plus win campaign in 2007-08. Prior to the current stretch under seventh-year head coach Bill Sall, the Bulldogs had not won more than eight games in the previous four seasons.
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 2008-09 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 22 of FSU’s 2008-09 league games are tentatively slated to be carried live by local radio station WBRN (News Talk 1460 AM or 107.7 FM). 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.
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 87-87 (.500) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his six previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.
The Bulldog Tradition: The 2008-09 campaign marks the 81st 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 954-894 (.516) 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.
The Bulldog Roster: Ferris’ current 2008-09 roster includes three seniors, four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. Eight of the 15 players are guards while the remaining seven are frontcourt players. Fourteen of the 15 players on the Bulldogs’ 2008-09 roster hail from Michigan with one from Ohio.
Next Up At Home: The Bulldogs will be back at home next Tuesday (Nov. 25) as they host Olivet College for a 7:30 p.m. (EST) non-league game inside Wink Arena. Tickets will be sold at the door.
Great Future: Nine freshmen played for FSU last year as the roster featured only three uppperclassmen and one senior. Ferris’ freshman class accounted for 1,567 of the squad’s 1,936 total points (81%) last season. Additionally, 779 of FSU’s 1,037 total rebounds (75%) last year came from rookie players.
FSU Picked Fifth: Ferris State was picked to finish fifth in the 2008-09 GLIAC Men's Basketball North Division Preseason Poll, which was announced during the league's second annual media day teleconference (Oct. 30) held this season. The poll was chosen 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 69 points in the balloting while finishing fifth in the North Division.
Preseason All-GLIAC: FSU’s Justin Keenan, who averaged 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest in his initial collegiate season a year ago, was one of five players named to the Preseason All-GLIAC North Division squad in voting by the league’s member head coaches. Five players were also named to the South Division team with Findlay’s Josh Bostic earning GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year laurels.
Statistics Leaders: Ferris led the GLIAC in offensive rebounds (13.24 pg.) for all games last year ...... FSU ranked fourth in rebound margin (+3.0) ...... Justin Keenan was listed ninth in the GLIAC in scoring (16.9 ppg) along with 10th in rebounding (6.9 rpg) in 2007-08. He was also listed second in offensive rebounds (3.45 pg.). FSU sophomore forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) ranked fifth in blocked shots (1.46 bpg.) ...... Keenan had the second-highest scoring and rebounding averages of any GLIAC freshmen last campaign.
Bulldog Bites: FSU’s Justin Keenan reached double-figure scoring in 26 of 29 outings last campaign and netted six double-double (points & rebounds) efforts. He also scored 20 points or more eight times .......... Ferris State’s 2008-09 GLIAC opener is set for Monday, Dec. 1, when the Bulldogs visit archrival Grand Valley State for a 6 p.m. (EST) outing inside GVSU’s Fieldhouse Arena at Allendale, Mich.
To The Stripe: FSU’s Justin Keenan attempted 24 more free throws than any other GLIAC player last campaign. Keenan, who ranked ninth in free throw percentage among the GLIAC leaders, converted 167 of 212 (.788) attempts last year. Keenan had 52 more attempts than any player found among the top 15 league leaders in free throw percentage. Until the final week of the season, Keenan had made more free throws than any other conference player had attempted.
Odds & Ends: Ferris State has posted 38 winning campaigns and 43 non-losing seasons in its previous 80 seasons ........ FSU will play 15 regular-season home games this campaign inside Jim Wink Arena ....... The Bulldogs own a current 57-52 (.523) overall record in Jim Wink Arena, which opened in the 1999-00 season. This year marks the team’s 10th season in the 2,400-seat facility.
Coaching Staff: FSU head coach Bill Sall returns his coaching staff intact from a year ago, including top assistant coach Cory Anderson. Anderson, who played for Ferris from 1996-98, is in his 10th season as a full-time assistant. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Killian also returns for his seventh season on Sall’s staff. Longtime West Michigan high school coach Dave Schlump, who formerly coached at Cedar Springs (Mich.), will be in his fifth campaign as a volunteer assistant for the Bulldogs while former Cornerstone University standout Andy Bronkema, who teaches at Big Rapids’ Crossroads Charter Academy, is in his second season as a volunteer assistant at FSU.
Scouting The Pumas: The Pumas are presently 2-0 overall following a pair of victories in capturing the Lake Erie (Ohio) Tip-Off Tournament last weekend. Besides the win over Alderson-Broaddus, St. Joseph’s also recorded a 84-67 season-opening win versus Point Park (Pa.) on Saturday (Nov. 15). Saint Joseph’s, which is guided by third-year head coach Richard Davis, is a Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) member and was picked to finish fifth in the league’s East Division Preseason Coaches Poll. Junior guard Austin Peebles is the team’s leading scorer (14.0 ppg.) to date this season. SJC posted a 18-12 overall record last year along with a third-place finish (13-6) in the division.
Series Information: The Pumas own a 9-2 series’ edge over FSU entering Thursday’s game and beat the Bulldogs 90-74 last season (12/17/07) at Rensselaer, Ind. FSU’s Bill Sall is 1-5 versus SJC to date in his head coaching career. In the most recent meeting at Jim Wink Arena, St. Joseph’s earned a 86-69 triumph over FSU in the 2006-07 campaign (1/3/07). The Bulldogs also lost a 74-69 decision to Saint Joseph’s in the 2005-06 NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament Quarterfinals (3/11/06) hosted by the Pumas in Rensselaer.