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FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team returns home for two Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contests this week inside Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs will host Northern Michigan Thursday (Feb. 7) at 8 p.m. (EST). Ferris then takes on Michigan Tech Saturday (Feb. 9) with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST). 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). In addition, a live video and audio webcast will be available for both contests through B2 Networks for a $6 fee and can be found on the FSU athletics website at www.ferris.edu/sports (click on B2 Networks icon). Live internet statistics will also be available via the FSU website.
Ticket Info: Tickets for all 2007-08 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.
The Standings: The Bulldogs enter the week still in the hunt for a fifth-straight GLIAC Tournament bid. Grand Valley State leads the division (12-0) with Michigan Tech (6-6) second followed by Northwood and Northern Michigan, which are both at 5-7 overall. Lake Superior State is next with a 5-9 mark with Ferris (4-8) and Saginaw Valley State (3-9) rounding out the list. Gannon currently leads the South Division with a 11-1 conference record with Findlay in second a couple of games back at 8-3 in the GLIAC.
Home Sweet Home: The Bulldogs will play four of their final six GLIAC games inside the confines of Wink Arena starting this week. Ferris’ next home game following the NMU and MTU outings is set for Saturday, Feb. 16, when Lake Superior State visits Jim Wink Arena for a 3 p.m. (EST) GLIAC encounter. The Bulldogs also host Grand Valley State in the regular-season finale Saturday, Feb. 23, with the league home tilt starting at 7:30 p.m. (EST).
Tough Trip: The Bulldogs dropped a pair of contests in Ohio last week to conclude a four-game league road swing. FSU suffered a 93-82 setback Thursday (Jan. 31) at Ashland before being dealt a 94-49 loss versus the nation’s 11th-ranked Findlay Oilers Saturday (Feb. 2) in Findlay, Ohio. The Bulldogs were tied with Ashland at halftime, but then were outscored 51-40 in the final period. Findlay, meanwhile, jumped out in front early by scoring the first 10 points versus FSU and never looked back. Freshman guard Bryan Pasciak (Rockford) netted a personal career-high 23 points in the loss at Ashland with freshman center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) chipping in 21 points and freshman guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) adding 12 points. Freshman guard DeJuan Wright (Detroit/Henry Ford) led FSU with a game-high 15 points at Findlay and Keenan contributed 14 points.
Make A Wish: Ferris will offer fans a chance to win a special prize and raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the same time during both of this week's GLIAC basketball doubleheaders at Jim Wink Arena. Those fans in attendance at both Thursday's and Saturday's contests will be given an opportunity to attempt one shot from the free throw line for only $1 during halftime of both the men's and women's basketball outings on both days. If the shot is made, the winner will receive a special prize. All proceeds from the event will go to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The event is being sponsored by both the FSU Athletics Department and the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Tickets will be sold at a table near the entrance of the gymnasium.
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 91-89 (.506) 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 86-81 (.515) 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 953-888 (.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.
Young Team: 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 (16.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.9 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. Ferris’ freshman class has accounted for 1,248 of the squad’s 1,533 total points (82%) to date this season. Additionally, 633 of FSU’s 838 total rebounds (76%) this year have came from rookie players.
Statistics Leaders: Ferris presently leads the GLIAC in offensive rebounds (14.04 pg.) for all games played this year ...... FSU ranks third in the league in rebounding offense (36.4) and fourth in rebound margin (+4.1) ...... Justin Keenan currently is listed fifth in the GLIAC in scoring (16.7 ppg) along with sixth in rebounding (7.9 rpg). He’s second in offensive rebounds (3.96 pg.). FSU’s Lou Williams ranks fourth in blocked shots (1.50 bpg.).
Bulldog Bites: FSU’s Justin Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in 21 of 23 outings this campaign and has netted six double-double (points & rebounds) efforts. He has also scored 20 points or more seven times this season .......... Ferris is only a single win away from posting its sixth-straight season with 10 or more victories ........ FSU’s DeJuan Wright and C.J. Van Wieren combined to make 17-of-21 (.810) free throws versus MTU in the Bulldogs’ 88-83 league win two weeks ago (Jan. 26) at Houghton, Mich. Wright (11-15) entered the game as a 51% free throw shooter this year while Van Wieren (6-6) had been shooting only 39% ........... Ferris’ 57.1% shooting figure in its win at MTU was its best since shooting 58.6% in a 97-77 win at Northwood (2/4/06).
Getting To The Line: FSU’s Justin Keenan has currently attempted 47 more free throws than any other GLIAC player this campaign. Keenan, who ranks eighth in free throw percentage among the GLIAC leaders, has converted 139 of 175 (.794) attempts this year. Keenan has 59 more attempts than any player found among the top 15 league leaders in free throw percentage. He’s also made more free throws this year than any other conference player has attempted. Grand Valley State’s Callistus Eziukwu currently has the second-most attempts with 128 to date, but is only a 45% free throw shooter this campaign.
Scouting NMU: Northern Michigan holds a 6-15 overall record along with a 5-7 GLIAC mark. The Wildcats, who beat FSU 71-57 in Marquette this year (Jan. 24), 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 lost two of their last three games to date this year after Monday’s (Feb. 4) 92-49 non-league home win over Northland Baptist. NMU was 18-11 overall in 2006-07 and placed second (11-7) in the divisional standings. They are guided by 22nd-year head coach Dean Ellis.
Scouting MTU: MTU, which visits Grand Valley State Thursday (Feb. 7) prior to facing FSU, enters the week with a 11-9 record and a current 6-6 conference ledger. The Huskies were dealt an 88-83 home loss by FSU two weeks ago (Jan. 26) and have split their last four games to date this year after a 83-71 GLIAC road win at Lake Superior State last Saturday (Feb. 2). The Huskies were 13-15 overall in 2006-07 and compiled a third-place tying 8-10 GLIAC North Division record. MTU, which is led in scoring by junior guard Robby Springborn (13.5 ppg), was picked to finish second in the 2007-08 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll. Kevin Luke is in his 14th season at the Michigan Tech helm.
Series Information: Ferris holds a 45-64 all-time series’ record to date against NMU. The Bulldogs, though, have claimed 10 of the last 13 series’ contests. FSU head coach Bill Sall is presently 10-3 against Northern Michigan in his coaching career ........... Meanwhile, the Bulldogs trail MTU 50-49 all-time although FSU has won six of the last eight games heading into Saturday’s 100th series’ meeting. FSU holds a 6-5 all-time mark over MTU in the Sall era.