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Day 3: Ferris Men's Basketball Wraps Up Trip NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Tournament

Jared StolickerVIDEO: Watch this highlight reel from the Bulldog men's basketball team's trip to the NCAA Tournament.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – This is the final installment of our behind-the-scenes look at the Ferris State University men's basketball team's trip to the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Tournament at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky.

Day three highlights the day of the game and some of the sights and sounds experienced by everyone involved.

Check it out:

GAME DAY

9 a.m. – The Bulldogs were up early for shootaround at Knights Hall and then headed to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. 

11:45 a.m. – During the day, the guys had the choice of staying at the hotel to rest and get focused for the game or they could go watch the other earlier games. Michigan Tech lost to Indianapolis 53-74, Lewis beat Wisconsin-Parkside 62-70 and Bellarmine defeated Drury 84-60.

4 p.m. – The guys had pregame meal at the Old Spaghetti Factory

6 p.m. – Team departs for the game and arrives to a pack gym with a rowdy crowd cheering on the home team.

8:30 p.m. – Tip off – Ferris played Lake Superior State in a rematch of the league tourney title game in the first round of the NCAA?Division II?Midwest Regional Tournament. The Bulldogs lost in a close overtime game,78-69. It was the fourth time this season that the Bulldogs and the Lakers squared off. The Bulldogs held a five-point lead in the final minutes of regulation, but the Lakers fought back tie it up for overtime and managed to pull out the win in extra minutes.

Postgame was filled with emotion as seniors and other players experienced their final basketball game in a Bulldog uniform. As players embraced their family and each other, Bulldog fans gathered around the team on the court to give them a standing ovation for an overall successful season.

The Bulldogs finished the season with a 23-9 overall record. The NCAA appearance marks the schools 10th NCAA bid and winning the GLIAC Tournament was the second time in school history.

"I'm so proud of what our guys accomplished this year," said second-year head coach Andy Bronkema. "We accomplished so many great things this season and our guys gave it everything they had here tonight. Our seniors have left a great legacy and while we're disappointed with the outcome in this game, we're certainly not disappointed in all they have accomplished."

In addition to the NCAA Tourney appearance and the GLIAC Tourney title this year, the Bulldogs' season was also highlighted by several other accomplishments including a top 20 national ranking, a 15-game regular season win streak, an exhibition victory over NCAA Division I Bowling Green and signature wins such as the team's first-ever win at Findlay's Croy Gymnasium. Ferris also led the GLIAC in attendance during the regular season.

"It’s meant the world to me to have a basketball career at Ferris," said Bulldog men's basketball senior Drew Lehman. "Definitely, it’s my favorite sport, and probably basically my favorite thing to do. And to have the great teammates that I've had over the past four years and great coaching staff. I've learned a ton. I've definitely gotten a lot better at basketball since I've been here, so it means everything."

Lehman applauded how far the team came from where it was picked at the beginning of the 2014-15 season.

"I think the heart of this team is what’s so special," he said. "I truly believe that we have a lot of talented players and that’s a big part of the reason that we've accomplished so much. But, at the beginning of the year we were picked to finish sixth in north division. We didn’t let that bother us. We had a big win streak of 15 games and after that we lost five in a row, but that didn't get us down. We were able to win the next five and go to the GLIAC Tournament. Basically that, that kind of fight on this team, is what is so special to me."

11 p.m. – After the game, the players, coaches and family headed to Applebees to eat. After dinner it was back to the hotel and departure was set for 10:00 a.m. the next morning.


CAPTION: Center Jared Stolicker is shown here throwing down a big two-handed dunk during the first round of the NCAA Division II Midwest Region Tournament in Louisville, Ky. at Knights Hall on the campus of Bellarmine University. The Bulldogs played Lake Superior State, a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rival for the fourth time this season, but dropped this matchup. (Photo/Kevin T. McDermott)