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FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team opens Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action by hosting Saginaw Valley State Thursday, Nov. 29, with tipoff set for 8 p.m. (EST) inside FSU’s Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich. The Bulldogs then take on Northwood Saturday, Dec. 1, in a 8 p.m. (EST) league tilt at Midland, Mich.
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 games through B2 Networks for a $6 fee. The webcast can be acccessed via the FSU Athletics Website at www.ferris.edu/sports (Click on B2 Networks icon). “Live Stats” will also be available on the FSU website at www.ferris.edu/sports (Click on Live Stats icon) for Thursday’s game. Northwood will provide “live stats” via the interent on Saturday (www.northwood.edu/mi/athletics).
Ticket Info: Tickets for all 2007-08 Bulldog basketball home games will be available at the door one hour prior to tipoff. Single-game general admission ticket prices are $7 while FSU students are admitted free with ID. Call (231) 591-2860 for more information. To obtain ticket information for Saturday’s game at Northwood, please call the NU Athletics Office at (989) 837-4381.
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.
Ferris Falls To NKU: A tremendous shooting performance lifted visiting Northern Kentucky past Ferris State as the Norse captured a 67-45 non-league triumph over the Bulldogs last Saturday (Nov. 24) afternoon at FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids, Mich. The Norse shot 55.6% (25-45) from the floor and hit 12 three-point baskets in the Great Lakes Regional contest. NKU shot a blistering 65.2% (15-23) in the opening half as they built a 40-24 edge at intermission. Dennis Gagai keyed the NKU victory as he compiled a game-high 25 points and was six-of-eight behind the three-point stripe. Scott Bibbins joined him in double-figure scoring with 11 points as did Vincent Humphrey, who also scored 11 points. The Bulldogs were led by freshman forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills), who tallied 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss. Freshman guard Darryl Nobles (Van Buren Township/Detroit Country Day) chipped in 10 points for FSU, which finished 20-of-49 (40.8%) from the floor and only three-of-10 (30.0%) behind the three-point line.
Narrow Win At Alma: Ferris hit the road for the first time in regular-season action this season and escaped with a 47-43 non-league win over Alma College last Wednesday (Nov. 21) evening at Cappaert Gymnasium in Alma, Mich. The Scots limited FSU to a 27.6% (8-29) shooting performance in the first half and took a 28-16 edge at intermission. The Bulldogs rallied in the second half, however, to outscore Alma 31-15 en route to the win. Ferris finally took the lead for good with 3:55 left to go. The Bulldogs then made seven free throws in the final two minutes to notch the win. Freshman guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) spearheaded the Bulldogs' comeback with a game-high 12 points, all of which came in the final half. He also had a game-best four assists and came away with a contest-high three steals. Justin Keenan added 11 points and seven rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Exhibition Recap: Ferris squared off against the Michigan Wolverines in a historic first-ever meeting between the two teams in exhibition play on Nov. 1, but dropped a 78-40 decision at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Wolverines jumped out to a 37-18 halftime advantage en route to the win. UM limited FSU to a 26.3% shooting effort from the floor and converted 10-of-28 (35.7%) three-point tries in the season-opening triumph. A crowd of 7,489 watch the first-ever matchup between the two schools in FSU's 80-year history of men's basketball. The contest also marked the debut for first-year Michigan head coach John Beilein, who previously led West Virginia to four consecutive postseason berths.
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’ 2007-08 roster includes one senior, four juniors and 10 freshmen. Eight of the 15 players are guards while the remaining seven are frontcourt players. All 15 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 84-77 (.522) 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 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.
Turning It Around: 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 79-69 (.534) 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 Coaching Staff: FSU head coach Bill Sall returns his coaching staff intact from a year ago, including top assistant coach Cory Anderson. Anderson, who played for Ferris from 1996-98, is in his ninth season as a full-time assistant coach. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Killian also returns for his sixth season on Sall’s staff. Longtime West Michigan high school coach Dave Schlump, who formerly coached at Cedar Springs (Mich.), will be in his fourth campaign as a volunteer assistant for the Bulldogs. The newcomer to the staff is former Cornerstone University standout Andy Bronkema, who teaches at Big Rapids’ Crossroads Charter Academy.
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 946-876 (.519) 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.
Welcome Back: The Bulldogs welcomed back only two starters and four letterwinners from last season's squad. The returnees this season include senior guard/forward C.J. Van Wieren (Holland/West Ottawa), junior guard Jessie York (Muskegon Heights), junior forward Mark Gildersleeve (Byron Center) and junior forward Jason Holder (Saginaw/Arthur Hill). Van Wieren made 14 starts last campaign while York was in the lineup for 20 games. Holder made one start.
New To Campus: FSU’s roster this season includes 10 freshmen, nine of whom are new to the program as true freshmen. The Bulldogs also have one redshirt freshman in guard/forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights). In all, 10 players are new to the team this year as the Bulldogs also inked Alpena Community College forward/center Aaron Hincka (Posen) in the offseason.
Bulldog Bites: Ferris State has posted 38 winning campaigns and 43 non-losing seasons in its previous 79 seasons .......... Ferris’ 47 points versus Alma were the fewest points scored in a Bulldog victory during head coach Bill Sall’s six seasons at the helm .......... Ferris is only four wins away from notching the program’s 950th all-time victory .......... The Bulldogs will be on the road the entire month of December as the schedule features no home games in the month.
A Good Week: FSU’s Justin Keenan tallied 39 points, 26 rebounds and three steals in three outings last week. The 6-6 Keenan opened the week by posting his first career double-double effort with 15 points and 12 rebounds in FSU’s 101-63 home win over Grace Bible (Nov. 19). Keenan averaged 13 points and 8.7 rebounds a game during the three-game stretch while shooting 57.7% (15-26) from the floor.
Scouting SVSU: The Cardinals are off to a 3-1 start this year under first-year head coach Frankie Smith. All four SVSU games, however, have been at home. Saginaw Valley State posted an 11-14 overall mark in 2006-07 and finished tied for third place (8-10) in the GLIAC North Division standings along with Ferris and Michigan Tech. Senior guard Mario Mackey, a NCAA Division I transfer from Idaho, is currently averaging a squad-best 18.5 points per contest. SVSU’s lone loss came to Indianapolis 68-65 in overtime at home in its most recent action last Wednesday (Nov. 21). Smith is in his first season at the SVSU helm after serving as a NCAA Division I assistant coach at Miami (Ohio) since 1999.
Scouting NU: NU’s currently 2-1 overall and 1-0 in GLIAC play this season following Wednesday’s (Nov. 28)?72-64 conference-opening home decision versus Lake Superior State. NU, which was picked to finish seventh in the 2007-087 GLIAC North Division Preseason Media Poll, is led in scoring by junior guard Antonio Harrison (19.3 ppg) to date. The Timberwolves are guided by 11th-year head coach Bob Taylor. Northwood was 9-18 overall during the 2006-07 campaign and placed seventh in the GLIAC North Division with a 4-14 mark. All three of NU’s games to date this season have been at home.
Series Information: Ferris maintains a 44-29 lead heading into Wednesday’s 74th series meeting with Saginaw Valley State and posted an 84-73 road win in the last game (1/31/07) at University Center, Mich. Ferris head coach Bill Sall owns a current 7-3 career coaching mark against SVSU. The Bulldogs have won eight of the last 12 series’ encounters ................. Ferris holds a 46-21 advantage entering Saturday’s 67th meeting with Northwood. The Bulldogs have claimed five of the last six matchups to date, but suffered a 79-71 home setback in the most recent game (2/3/07) at Big Rapids. Sall owns a 7-4 mark to date in his head coaching career versus Northwood.