FSU Moves Into First-Place Tie After OT Thriller
Big Rapids, Mich. - It took more than 40 minutes of effort, but the Ferris State University men's basketball squad responded from a disappointing road setback to record a thrilling 74-69 overtime victory over Northwood on Saturday (Jan. 14) afternoon in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action at FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The Bulldogs moved into a share of first place again in the divisional standings with their second win in as many tries against the Timberwolves this season combined with a loss by division leader Michigan Tech, which fell to Saginaw Valley State on the road.
FSU bounced back from its own loss to SVSU in its last outing to improve to 9-6 overall and 6-2 in conference play this campaign. The defending GLIAC North Division champions will next square off against the Huskies with sole possession of first place on the line next Thursday (Jan. 19) evening in Houghton.
In the win over Northwood, Ferris State bolted out to a 12-point advantage with 8:25 to play in the opening half. The Timberwolves trimmed the lead down to six (33-27) at the break.
Ferris State pushed the lead back to 10 points with 10:22 remaining in the contest before the Timberwolves rallied down the stretch. NU eventually grabbed a three-point lead with 2:16 to play before a pair of free throws by FSU junior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) cut the deficit to one with under two minutes remaining in regulation.
FSU surged back ahead by a single point with 14 seconds to go, but Northwood's Darvin Ham tied it back up with a free throw with five seconds remaining. After he missed the second, Brown was fouled on the rebound and his two free throws with four seconds left gave Ferris State the lead. However, Northwood's Cameron Joyce drove the length of the floor and banked in a shot as time expired to force the extra session.
In overtime, Ferris State jumped out to a four-point lead midway thru the five-minute period. NU cut it back to two points before Bulldog junior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) slammed home a missed layup from Brown to keep the margin in FSU's favor. He added an unconvential three-point play with under 15 seconds to go to push the advantage to six points and NU could not get closer than three points the rest of the way. FSU senior forward Jerrell Sanders (Grand Rapids/Creston) iced the victory by making two free throws with four seconds to play.
Brown fueled the Bulldog win by scoring a game-high 25 points and it marekd the second time this campaign he's scored 25 or more against the Timberwolves after his 29-point showing in FSU's 69-64 come from behind win over NU in Midland back in December (12/10). He added three rebounds and hit four-of-nine tries from beyond the arc.
Besides Brown, the Bulldogs also received 17 points and nine rebounds from Sutherlin. Sanders totaled 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals in a solid all-around effort while senior guard Dontae Molden (Detroit/Pershing) added 11 points and six boards with 10 of his points coming in the first half.
Ferris State shot 44.4% (24-54) from the floor, including a 52% figure in the first period. FSU was six-of-18 (33.3%) beyond the three-point line and converted 20-of-35 (57.1%) free throws.
Meanwhile, Northwood shot 41.7% (25-60) overall, but was only nine-of-24 (37.5%) in the first half. The Timberwolves sank five-of-18 (27.8%) three's and connected on 14-of-25 (56%) fre throws.
The Bulldogs were outrebounded 43-36 for the game and gave up 15 offensive boards, which helped lead to Northwood's 17-9 edge in second chance production. However, FSU had only nine turnovers and maintained a 10-4 margin in points off turnovers. NU turned the ball over 11 times in the game.
The Timberwolves were led in scoring by Andrew VanDierenDonck, who netted 19 points. Joyce added 12 points while Wes Wilcox finished with 14 points and a game-high tying nine rebounds for the visitors.
Behind Sanders' four assists, the Bulldogs finished with 11 helpers to nine for the Timberwolves. FSU also had seven steals compared to NU's five and both teams totaled three blocked shots.
Overall, the game featured three lead changes and the score was tied four times, including at the end of regulation after Joyce's bank shot forced the extra period. Four Bulldogs played nearly 40 minutes in the game, including Brown, Molden, Sanders and Sutherlin. Joyce played a game-high 43 minutes for Northwood.
Ferris State's victory was its ninth in its last 12 contests this year while NU fell to 8-6 overall and 4-4 in the GLIAC. FSU also improved to 54-24 all-time against the Timberwolves and have now claimed 12 of the last 16 series' matchups.
Saturday's game represented the first of four Bulldog Kidz Day events sponsored by Jet's Pizza and the activities included a bounce house, arts and crafts table, chasing the Bulldog and more.
The Bulldogs will square off against Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 19) night starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside MTU's Student Development Complex Gymnasium in Houghton. The contest can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network with Rob Bentley providing the play-by-play action.
FSU then visits Northern Michigan next Saturday (Jan. 21) before returning home to take on archrival Grand Valley State on Jan. 28 at Wink Arena.