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FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team returns home for a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contests on back-to-back days this weekend. FSU hosts Hillsdale Saturday (Dec. 13) at 3 p.m. (EST) and will then take on nationally number one-ranked Findlay on Sunday (Dec. 14) at 4 p.m. (EST) inside Wink Arena. Both games are the second contest 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 Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties. A live audio/video pay-per-view webcast will also be offered by B2 Networks. 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: 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.
Special Promotions: Free admission will be offered to Saturday's games against Hillsdale for anyone who holds a ticket to that evening's non-league hockey game against Alabama-Huntsville. On Sunday, the Bulldogs will hold a "Lions Special" for those who are tired of watching the NFL's Detroit Lions play this year and would rather watch basketball action versus Findlay. All fans wearing a Detroit Lions hat or t-shirt will be given free admission to the league doubleheader.
Cash Offering: Ferris State students will have an opportunity to win cash at each Bulldog basketball doubleheader the rest of the season. The FSU Athletics Department will give away a $100 certificate at each of the Bulldogs’ 11 GLIAC doubleheaders this campaign, beginning with this Saturday’s league twin bill versus Hillsdale. In order to win the prize on a given day, students must be in attendance prior to halftime of the women’s basketball contest. A raffle drawing will be held to determine the winner in the second half of the men’s game.
League Road Sweep: Ferris completed a league road sweep with a 74-48 victory over the Tiffin Dragons in GLIAC play last Saturday (Dec. 6) afternoon. The contest was the first-ever GLIAC matchup as the Dragons officially became the conference's newest member this year. The Bulldogs closed the first half and opened the second half by holding Tiffin scoreless for nearly 10 minutes. FSU's lead increased from seven points to 19 points in the final four minutes of the opening half as sophomore guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Pershing) hit four consecutive three-pointers. FSU sophomore center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) led the way for FSU with a game-high 24 points. Gay added 12 points for the Bulldogs in the league road win while junior guard Austin Randel (Lake City/McBain) chipped in 10 points. Ferris opened the two-game trip to Ohio by beating Ashland 96-91 on Thursday (Dec. 4) evening. FSU battled back from a 22-7 deficit to start the game and led the entire second half. Junior guard Josh Young's (Ypsilanti) career-high 30 points and 11 rebounds paced FSU. Gay chipped in with 22 points and hit five three-pointers while Keenan contributed 19 points and nine boards.
The Rankings: While the Bulldogs are not ranked in the current National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Poll, FSU did receive 18 points and was listed second among other teams receiving votes in the 2008-09 NABC preseson poll (Oct. 30). Findlay currently holds the number one ranking in the national poll for the third consecutive week this season.
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. 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 95-97 (.495) 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 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 90-89 (.503) 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 957-896 (.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: Following this week’s action, the Bulldogs will be idle on an 18-day layoff until they return to the court by hosting Grace Bible College on Saturday, Jan. 3, with the non-league tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST) inside Jim Wink Arena. The contest begins a stretch in which the Bulldogs will play seven games over a 14-day period, including five at home.
GLIAC Player of Week: FSU’s Josh Young was chosen as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week (Dec. 8) for his efforts in helping the Bulldogs win two of their initial three league contests last week. Young totaled 61 points, 21 rebounds, nine assists and five steals in the three contests. The 6-2 Young netted a team-high 22 points with seven rebounds, three steals and two assists in Ferris' narrow league-opening setback at nationally ninth-ranked archrival Grand Valley State last Monday (Dec. 1). He then scored a game-high 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds with four assists in a double-double effort at Ashland before posting nine points, three boards and three assists in Ferris' win at Tiffin. The Bulldog guard averaged 20.3 points, seven rebounds and three assists during the stretch.
Keenan Leads The Way: FSU’s Justin Keenan is currently averaging a team-high 21.0 points and 7.0 rebounds in six regular-season games this year, including a career-high 33 points versus Olivet (Nov. 25) in FSU’s most recent home game. The 6-6 Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in all six games and has totaled 20 points or more in three outings this year. He was named GLIAC North Division Player of the Week earlier this year (Nov. 25).
Bulldog Bites: Ferris head coach Bill Sall currently holds a 5-3 career heading coaching mark against Hillsdale. Sall served as a Charger assistant coach under former head coach Ed Douma from 1998-02. He helped the Chargers to a 72-41 (.637) overall record and two consecutive (2001-02) NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tourney appearances during his stint at HC ........ FSU’s league sweep last weekend in Ohio marked the first time the Bulldogs have swept a GLIAC road trip since beating both Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan in the Upper Peninsula to secure its second-straight GLIAC North Division Championship on the final weekend of the regular-season in 2004-05 (Feb. 24-26) ...... The Bulldogs’ 96 points in last week’s win at Ashland were the team’s most in a road contest since recording a 97-77 triumph at Northwood in 2005-06 (2/4/06) ...... Freshamn guard Dontae Molden averaged eight assists in FSU’s two games down in Ohio.
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.
Scouting Hillsdale: Hillsdale, which is presently 4-1 overall and 2-0 in league action, finished with a 14-14 overall mark in 2007-08 and placed tied for fourth (7-11) in the GLIAC South Division. Second-year head coach John Tharp’s squad was chosen second in the 2008-09 GLIAC South Division Preseason Media Poll. The Chargers feature the conference’s second-leading rebounder in senior forward/center Tony Gugino (9.8 rpg.). HC posted a 68-66 league win at Saginaw Valley State in their most recent action Sunday (Dec. 7). Their lone loss came 82-60 at home versus Bellarmine (Ky.) on Nov. 25.
Scouting Findlay: Nationally top-ranked Findlay, under 24th-year head coach Ron Niekamp, enters Saturday’s (Dec. 13) game at Grand Valley State with a 5-0 overall record and a 2-0 GLIAC slate. The Oilers are coming off a 73-55 league home win over Lake Superior State (Dec. 6). Senior forward Josh Bostic (18.0 ppg.), who was voted GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year, leads five Oiler players in double-figure scoring. UF tallied a 28-5 overall record along with a second-place 14-3 league slate last year. The Oilers advanced to the NCAA-II Regional Tournament Finals last year.
Series Information: Ferris holds a 60-39 all-time series’ mark going into Saturday’s 100th series’ meeting with Hillsdale, but dropped two games to the Chargers last season. FSU had won five-straight series’ meetings prior to two setback. FSU is 5-6 in the last 11 series’ encounters against the Chargers ................ Findlay is presently 12-3 all-time against the Bulldogs and beat Ferris 94-49 in last year’s contest (2/2/08) at Findlay, Ohio. The Oilers narrowly pulled out a 75-70 victory in overtime in the last meeting at Wink Arena two years ago (1/27/07). Findlay has won 11 of the last 12 series’ meetings.