FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team continues its Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road swing with two games in Ohio this week. FSU visits Ashland Thursday (Dec. 4) for a 7:30 p.m. (EST) game inside AU’s Kates Gymnasium before taking on Tiffin Saturday (Dec. 6) afternoon at 3 p.m. (EST) in TU’s Gillmor Center. Both games are the second contests of a men’s and women’s league doubleheader.
Media Coverage: Both games can be heard live locally on WBRN (1460 AM or 107.7 FM) with Rob Bentley handling the play-by-play duties. A live audio/video pay-per-view webcast will also be offered by B2 Networks. Live audio and live internet statistics will also be available. 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: For ticket information, please contact the Ashland or Tiffin Athletics Offices, respectively. The AU Athletics Office can be reached at (419) 289-5441 and Tiffin’s number is (419) 448-3334.
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 Last Time Out: Ferris State gave nationally ninth-ranked archrival Grand Valley State all it could handle in the GLIAC opener for both teams Monday (Dec. 1) evening inside GVSU's Fieldhouse Arena, but a strong second half keyed the Lakers' 72-62 triumph at Allendale, Mich. FSU led for much of the first half and trailed by only a single point, 33-32, at halftime before the Lakers outscored Ferris 39-30 in the final 20 minutes. GVSU increased its lead to as many as 13 points with 6:38 left in the game. However, Ferris pulled within six points with 2:55 remaining, but the Lakers finished the contest by scoring six of the final eight points to notch the win. Senior Pete Trammell paced GVSU with a game-high 28 points while Toreau Brown added 11 points and K'Len Morris contributed 10 points. Ferris junior guard Josh Young (Ypsilanti) tallied a season-high 22 points for the Bulldogs with sophomore guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) totaling 12 points and sophomore center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) pouring in 10 points.
A Look At The Bulldogs: The Bulldogs opened the year with a 72-57 road decision to preseason nationally fourth-ranked Northern Kentucky (Nov. 15) in the season opener and then also suffered a 78-63 home setback to St. Joseph’s (Ind.) prior to a 87-76 home victory over Olivet (Nov. 25). Ferris won both of its exhibition games this season with two home wins over Cornerstone (Oct. 30) and Calvin (Nov. 11) by scores of 74-73 and 80-66, respectively.
The Rankings: The Bulldogs were not ranked in the initial (Nov. 25) National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Poll but did receive 18 points and were listed second among other teams receiving votes in the 2008-09 NABC preseson poll (Oct. 30). GVSU is currently ranked ninth nationally in the NABC rankings after being chosen 11th overall in the preseason poll. Another GLIAC school, Findlay, currently holds the nation’s number one overall ranking.
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 93-97 (.489) 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 88-89 (.497) 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 955-896 (.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.
Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs return home for two games next week. FSU hosts Hillsdale Saturday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. (EST) inside Jim Wink Arena before squaring off against number one ranked Findlay in a special Sunday (Dec. 14) afternoon game beginning at 4 p.m. (EST) in Big Rapids. Both contests are GLIAC games.
GLIAC Player of Week: Prior to last Tuesday’s home win over Olivet, FSU’s Justin Keenan was chosen as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week (Nov. 25) for his efforts in scoring a game-high 24 points with eight rebounds and two steals in the Bulldogs' 78-63 non-league home setback to regional foe and then unbeaten St. Joseph's (Ind.) on Nov. 20 at Wink Arena in Big Rapids. Keenan sank eight-of-14 (.571) field goal attempts and connected on eight-of-12 (.667) free throws in the loss to earn the league’s weekly award honor.
Good Start For Keenan: FSU’s Justin Keenan had been averaging 24 points and 8.0 rebounds in his two exhibition games and three regular-season outings this year prior to Monday’s loss at GVSU when he totaled 10 points. Keenan is currently averaging a team-high 20.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in four regular-season games this year, including a career-high 33 points versus Olivet.
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.
Bulldog Bites: 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.) ...... Keenan had the second-highest scoring and rebounding averages of any GLIAC freshmen last campaign. He reached double-figure scoring in 26 of 29 outings last campaign and netted six double-double (points & rebounds) efforts. Keenan also scored 20 points or more eight times ...... Ferris’ 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.
Scouting The Eagles: Ashland currently owns a 2-1 overall mark heading into its first league game against the Bulldogs on Thursday night. The Eagles suffered a 101-94 road setback at Slippery Rock (Pa.) in their most recent game (Nov. 25). AU, which is guided by 16th-year head coach Roger Lyons, opened the year with back-to-back home wins over Ohio Dominican and Mount Vernon Nazarene. Senior guard Bret Wackerly leads four Eagle playes in double-figure scoring at 23.3 points per game to date. AU posted a 13-15 overall record in 2007-08 and was fourth in the GLIAC South Division with a 7-10 league slate. The Eagles were picked to finish third in this year’s GLIAC Preseason South Division Media Poll.
Scouting The Dragons: Tiffin, which joined the GLIAC this year, currently holds a 1-3 overall record after a 74-71 double-overtime setback at Ohio Valley on Monday (Dec. 1) evening. The Dragons open league play by hosting Grand Valley State on Thursday (Dec. 4) before facing FSU. Their lone win came at home over Urbana (Ohio) by a 85-76 count last Wednesday (Nov. 26). Rafael Cuellar leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg.) to date for third-year head coach Rodney Martin’s squad. Tiffin finished the 2007-08 season with a 3-24 overall record.
Series Information: Ferris holds a 9-6 series’ edge over Ashland, but dropped a 93-82 road decision to the Eagles last season (1/31/08) at Ashland, Ohio. The Bulldogs had won four-straight meetings versus AU prior to the loss. FSU head coach Bill Sall owns a current 5-2 career coaching mark against Ashland ........... Ferris and Tiffin are tied 1-1 overall with both meetings coming last season in non-league play. FSU suffered a 72-62 road setback in the initial game (12/8/07) before rebounding to post an identical 72-62 win in the second meeting (1/4/08) at Big Rapids.