FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team will conclude an 18-day layoff by hosting Grace Bible in non-conference play on Saturday, Jan. 3, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. (EST) inside FSU’s Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs then remain at home to face Kuyper College on Monday, Jan. 5, in a 7:30 p.m. (EST) non-league outing at Wink Arena.
Media Coverage: A live audio/video pay-per-view webcast will 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.
Free Admission: Fans will be admitted free of charge for both of FSU’s remaining non-league home games this season versus Grace Bible and Kuyper at Wink Arena. The games have been designated as “Fan Appreciation” contests during the holiday season. No admission will be charged for these games although all donations of canned goods to help the needy will be accepted at the door.
Ticket Info: Tickets for all 2008-09 Ferris home basketball league doubleheaders 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.
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. 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.
Last Weekend Results: The Ferris State men’s basketball team suffered a pair of league losses with games on rare back-to-back days on Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 13-14) against GLIAC South Division leaders Findlay and Hillsdale. FSU rallied back from an 11-point deficit with 1:15 to play to tie the game, but a putback in the closing second lifted Hillsdale to a thrilling 79-77 GLIAC triumph in Saturday’s contest at Wink Arena. Ferris then suffered an 83-60 setback to the nation’s number one-ranked Findlay Oilers in Sunday’s game.
Leading The Way: Sophomore forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) averaged 18.5 points along with 6.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals in the Bulldogs’ two league games versus Hillsdale and Findlay. The 6-6 Keenan paced the Bulldogs in both outings, scoring 21 points versus Hillsdale and 16 points against Findlay. He added nine rebounds, four assists and three steals versus the Chargers before making six-of-nine (.667) shots from the floor against the Oilers. Keenan also converted seven-of-nine (.778) free throws in the two contests. He was the lone Bulldog player to reach double-figure scoring in the loss to Findlay.
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).
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 95-99 (.490) 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 90-91 (.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 957-898 (.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 contest against Grace Bible begins a stretch in which the Bulldogs will play seven games over a 14-day period, including five at home. After the two games against Grace Bible and Kuyper, FSU resumes GLIAC play by visiting Lake Superior State on Thursday, Jan. 8, for a 7:30 p.m. (EST) tilt at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
GLIAC Player of Week: FSU’s Josh Young was chosen as the GLIAC North Division Player of the Week on Dec. 8 for his efforts in helping the Bulldogs win two of their initial three league contests this year. 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 (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 20.4 points and 6.9 rebounds in eight regular-season games this year, including a career-high 33 points versus Olivet (Nov. 25). The 6-6 Keenan has reached double-figure scoring in all eight games and has totaled 20 points or more in four outings this year. He was named GLIAC North Division Player of the Week earlier this year (Nov. 25).
Bulldog Bites: FSU’s recent league sweep in Ohio (Dec. 4 & 6) marked the first time the Bulldogs had 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 this year’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 (Detroit/Pershing) tallied a season-high 12 points against Hillsdale.
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 Grace Bible: Grace Bible College is a National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Division II member. The squad still has five games remaining over the holidays prior to visiting FSU, including a road game at Cornerstone (Dec. 20), home games against both Davenport (Dec. 22) and Cornerstone (Dec. 27) along with two games in Iowa versus Nebraska Christian (Dec. 29) and William Penn (Dec. 30). Fourth-year head coach Gary Bailey’s squad enters the stretch with a 9-5 overall record and is ranked second nationally in NCCAA Division II. The Tigers have played a mix of NCAA, NAIA and NCCAA competition this year that includes a narrow 81-72 setback at NCAA Division I member The Citadel (Nov. 14). GBC, based in the Grand Rapids area, won the 2006 NCCAA-II National Championship. They are coming off a 93-51 triumph over Purdue-North Central at the Hope College Tournament (Dec. 13). Grace Bible finished 19-19 overall in 2007-08 and advanced to the NCCAA-II Elite Eight for the third-straight year.
Scouting Kuyper: Kuyper College is currently in its second year of intercollegiate athletics competition. The Grand Rapids area school is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) and competes in the Midwest Region along with the likes of Emmaus Bible College, Grace Bible College, Great Lakes Christian College, Lincoln Christian College, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Moody Bible Institute and Northland Baptist Bible College. Currently, men's and women's basketball are the only sports offered at the school. The Cougars, who are coached by first-year head coach Stan Jesky, currently own a 1-10 overall record this year, but have three games remaining before they face FSU – at Marian (Ind.), versus Spring Arbor (Dec. 17) and at Cornerstone (Jan. 3). Last year, Kuyper recorded a 17-15 overall record in its first season.
Series Information: FSU defeated Grace Bible 106-54 in the first meeting between the two teams in 1999-00 (12/18) at Jim Wink Arena before recording a 101-63 triumph last year (11/19/07) at home ...... The Bulldogs beat Kuyper in the only previous matchup last year (1/3/08) by a 88-69 count at Wink Arena.