Ferris State's Justin Keenan goes up for a shot in Thursday's home game versus St. Joseph's (Photo by Zeke Jennings/Big Rapids Pioneer)
The home court was not kind Thursday (Nov. 20) night for the Ferris State University men's basketball team as the Bulldogs dropped a 78-63 decision to St. Joseph's (Ind.) in their 2008-09 home opener at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The visiting Pumas, who are a regional foe from the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC), bolted out to a 46-33 halftime edge by shooting 46% (17-37) in the opening frame and limiting the homestanding Bulldogs to only a 30.6% (11-36) effort in the initial half.
Ferris managed to trim a 15-point St. Joseph's lead down to as little as seven points with 9:39 to go in the game, but the Pumas answered with a 8-0 run to put the game out of reach in the final six minutes.
The Bulldogs converted only three-of-20 (15.0%) attempts from three-point range in the game as they struggled to find an outside threat to go along with sophomore center Justin Keenan, who finished with a contest-high 24 points. Keenan totaled 15 points in the opening frame.
FSU finished the game shooting 31.8% (21-66) from the floor and was 18-of-24 (75.0%) at the charity stripe. The Bulldogs also turned the ball over 18 times.
Meanwhile, St. Joseph's shot 45.3% (29-64) for the contest, including a 17-of-20 (85.0%) effort at the line. The Pumas had 17 turnovers and were three-of-11 (27.3%) behind the three-point arc.
In addition to Keenan's 24 points, the Bulldogs also received 11 points from junior guard Josh Young and 10 by sophomore guard Darien Gay. Gay added a team-high three assists and three steals for the Bulldogs while Young led Ferris on the boards with nine rebounds and Keenan had eight for the game.
Four SJC players reached double-digits with Brandon Mayse netting a team-high 16 points and eight caroms. Andrew Helmer contributed 14 points, Austin Peebles tallied 11 points and Michael Horton chipped in with 10 points in the winning cause.
The Pumas compiled 14 assists, 11 steals and three blocked shots compared to FSU's 10 assists, 11 thefts and seven blocks in the game. While second chance and fast break points were virtually even, the Pumas benefited from a 42-26 edge in points scored inside the paint along with a 23-12 advantage in points off the bench.
Ferris' only lead of the game occurred in the first two minutes on a single Keenan free throw.
The Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 overall while St. Joseph's remained unbeaten with a 3-0 record to date.
FSU will try to get back on track as the Bulldogs host Olivet in a non-league game Tuesday, Nov. 25, at Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (EST) and tickets will be sold at the door starting one hour prior to the contest.