Ferris senior Jason Holder handles the ball in his final regular-season home game at Wink Arena (Photo/Sandy Gholston)
The Ferris State University men's basketball squad battled Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division champion Lake Superior State for much of the contest on Saturday (Feb. 21) despite missing the league's leading scorer, but came up on the short end of a 76-69 decision to Lake Superior State in its regular-season home finale at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich.
The Bulldogs trailed by 17 points late in the first half and were down by 12 at halftime. However, FSU cut the lead to a single point (62-61) with 5:02 to play before the Lakers answered with seven-straight points en route to the victory.
Ferris sophomore forward/center Justin Keenan, who's the GLIAC's leading scorer this season by averaging more than 20 points per contest, was not in uniform and did not play after sustaining an injury in the second half of Thursday's (Feb. 19) home win over Saginaw Valley State.
Without Keenan, the Bulldogs relied heavily on senior forward Jason Holder, who finished with a team-high 16 points and five rebounds in his final regular-season home contest at Wink Arena. Holder and fellow senior forward Mark Gildersleeve were honored prior to the game as part of "Senior Day" festivities at FSU.
In addition to Holder's effort, the Bulldogs also received 15 points and seven boards from junior guard Josh Young along with 14 points and seven assists by sophomore guard Darien Gay. Sophomore forward Lou Williams totaled 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots in helping fill Keenan's void.
Ferris freshman guard Dontae Molden added seven assists as the Bulldogs came up with 18 assists on the afternoon. Additionally, FSU had only seven turnovers in the game.
The Lakers shot 41.4% (24-58) for the day and connected on 10-of-26 (38.5%) three-pointers along with an 18-of-23 (78.3%) showing at the free throw line. They also owned a 41-38 rebounding edge, but turned the ball over 10 times.
Mark Morse paced LSSU with a game-high tying 16 points while Tim VanOudheusden totaled 13 points and nine rebounds. Scott Perkins also reached double-digits with 10 points.
Defensively, the Bulldogs had seven steals and seven blocked shots in addition to a 17-11 margin in points off turnovers and a 17-11 advantage in second chance scoring. FSU also outscored the Lakers 34-22 in the paint despite Keenan's absence.
Ferris, though, shot only 39.7% (27-68) for the day and was seven-of-27 (25.9%) behind the three-point line. The Bulldogs were eight-of-nine (88.9%) in free throws.
With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 13-12 overall and 11-9 in league play. FSU dropped into fifth place in the standings. The top eight teams at the end of the year advance to the GLIAC Tournament with the top four seeds earning a quarterfinal-round home game.
LSSU improved its record to 19-6 overall and 16-4 in the GLIAC with the win.
FSU wraps up regular-season play on the road next week as the Bulldogs first visit Northwood on Thursday, Feb. 26, for an 8 p.m. (EST) league tilt in Midland, Mich. Ferris then travels to Wayne State for its last regular-season contest on Saturday, Feb. 28, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST) in Detroit, Mich.