Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad built a commanding halftime lead and then had to hold on for a 63-62 exhibition win over longtime West Michigan opponent Calvin on Tuesday (Nov. 6) night inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The contest was the final preseason tilt for the Bulldogs, who officially open up the 2012-13 regular season at home on Nov. 17 versus Lewis (Ill.) in regional action.
The Bulldogs appeared to be well on their way to a decisive win as senior guard Kenny Brown drilled a three-pointer as the first half came to a close to give FSU a 43-23 advantage.
FSU increased its lead to as many as 23 points less than a minute into the second half, but Calvin did not quit. The Knights outscored FSU 39-20 over the final 20 minutes to pull back within a point on a putback by Mickey DeVries with 24 seconds to play.
The Bulldogs missed the front end of two one-and-one situation's in the last 20 seconds and both times the Knights were able to get the ball into the hands of their top player, Tom Snikkers. He missed a layup following the first missed free throw by FSU freshman guard Jibreel Jackson with five seconds remaining in the contest.
A quick foul sent Bulldog newcomer Bryant Orange to the stripe in the closing seconds, but the junior transfer could not find the bottom of the net and Calvin quickly kicked the ball out to Snikkers, who was able to get off a potential game-winning three pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the rim.
The Bulldogs received a game-high 31 points from Brown in pulling out the victory as the preseason All-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) honoree made 12-of-22 shots from the floor and hit three-of-nine three's along with four-of-five free throws. He totaled 19 points in the first half.
FSU also received 10 points from senior forward Daniel Sutherlin before he fouled out of the game late in the contest. Meanwhile, sophomore guard Drew Lehman chipped in with eight points while Jackson had seven while starting his first collegiate contest.
Ferris State shot 48.5% in the first half, but cooled off in the second half as FSU made only eight-of-31 (25.8%) field goals to finish with a 37.5% shooting figure. The opposite happened for Calvin as the Knights hit only eight-of-30 (26.7%) tries in the initial frame before sinking 12-of-28 (42.9%) attempts in the final period to finish at 34.5% for the game.
Calvin had five players reach double-figure scoring as Tyler Kruis led the way with 15 points. DeVries added 11 points with Snikkers, Jordan Brink and Bryan Powell all chipping in 10 each.
The Knights maintained a 47-39 rebounding edge over a depleted FSU interior lineup due to injuries. Ferris State did receive a game-high 11 rebounds from newcomer Raymoan McAfee while Sutherlin pulled down 10 boards in the victory.
FSU forced 11 Calvin turnovers and outscored the Knights 12-7 in points off miscues, but Calvin registered a 14-3 edge in second chance scoring and received 25 points off its bench to only seven for the Bulldogs, who played nine in the game.
The Bulldogs recorded nine steals with Jackson leading the way with three and also had four blocked shots, including three from McAfee. Meanwhile, Calvin recorded five blocks and three steals. FSU had only seven turnovers and both teams finished with 10 assists as Jackson tallied a game-high four helpers for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State's season opener against Lewis on Saturday, Nov. 17, tips off at 7:30 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena and will be the first of three consecutive non-league games to open the campaign for the Bulldogs, who are the two-time defending GLIAC North Division Champions.