January 3, 2013

PREVIEW: Men's Basketball Hosts League Newcomers Malone & Walsh

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* The Week Ahead: The Ferris State men's basketball team opens the New Year at home this week with a pair of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) contests.  FSU hosts league newcomer Malone on Thursday, Jan. 3, at 6 p.m. (ET) before facing Walsh on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena.  The two games are part of a four-game homestand to open 2013 for the Bulldogs in Big Rapids.

* Home Ticket Info: Ferris State home basketball tickets can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more information.  They can also be bought online via StarTickets.com. Adult general admission tickets are $7 or the cost is $5 for FSU faculty/staff, seniors ages 65 and up or students age 3 thru 12th grade.  FSU students are admitted free with a valid student ID card.

* Media Coverage: Both games will be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame Show a half-hour prior to tipoff.  Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action. A live audio broadcast will be accessible online in addition to live internet statistics and a live pay-per-view video webcast.  For a full listing of links, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

* Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow all games this season  via Twitter and Facebook with updates. Please visit www.facebook.com/FerrisMBasketball or www.twitter.com/FerrisMBBALL to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

* Last Time Out: The Bulldogs have not played since falling 70-62 to nationally 11th-ranked Indianapolis on the road prior to the holiday break on Dec. 19 in Indianapolis, Ind.  FSU battled the nationally-ranked Greyhounds even for most of the way before falling on the road for the third consecutive time. Sophomore guard Drew Lehman netted 15 points in leading the Bulldogs while redshirt freshman center Jared Stolicker added 10 points off the bench.  Sophomore guard Dietrich Lever totaled nine points with the senior combination of Kenny Brown and Daniel Sutherlin finishing with eight points apiece in the setback.

* First-Ever Series Matchups: Both of this week's matchups against Malone and Walsh represent the first-ever series' meetings against Ferris State.  Both the Pioneers and Cavaliers are midst their first season as members of the GLIAC and both schools are located in Canton, Ohio.  This week marks the only regular-season matchups against either team for the Bulldogs.

* The Records: Ferris State (4-6, 3-3 GLIAC) posted a 16-11 overall mark a season ago while claiming a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division Championship.  FSU won 16 of its final 24 outings of the campaign.  The Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship with a 16-3 record and recorded a 24-8 overall mark two years ago while reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen in 2010-11.
    
Malone
(6-3, 4-2 GLIAC) is currently 6-3 overall this season and owns a 4-2 mark in the GLIAC heading into the New Year.  The Pioneers have won four of their last five outings to date this season.  Malone fell 70-59 to Wayne State in its last encounter back on Dec. 19.
   
Walsh (6-3, 2-3 GLIAC) also owns a 6-3 overall record to date and is 2-3 in conference action entering Thursday's road tilt at Grand Valley State.  The Cavaliers have lost three of their last four games overall this season, but are coming off a decisive 98-61 non-league home win over Ohio Mid-Western last Saturday (Dec. 29).

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 11th season, 166-146 (.532) - (0-0 vs. MU, 0-0 vs. WU).  Sall was a two-time NCAA Division III All-American at Calvin College from 1985-90 and previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02).  He served as FSU's interim coach for a brief portion of the 1995-96 season.
   
Malone – Tim Walker (4th season).
Walsh – Jeff Young (9th season).

* Ticket Special: Ferris State's next home game will be on Thursday, Jan. 3, against Malone. Fans purchasing tickets in advance directly thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office in person for the Jan. 3 contest against Malone can receive two tickets for the price of one if bought prior to gameday. Call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for info.

* Saturday Kidz Day: Saturday will be Kidz Day at Wink Arena and all youth in grades K-12 will be admitted free with a paid adult.  A number of activities will be featured directed towards kids, including a bounce house, locker room tour, arts and crafts table and more.  A second Kidz Day will be held next Saturday, Jan. 12, as FSU hosts Northern Michigan in GLIAC North Division action.

* Coming Up Next: Ferris State hosts divisional favorite Michigan Tech next Thursday, Jan. 10, inside Wink Arena with tipoff set for 6 p.m. (ET). FSU then hosts Northern Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 12, in a 1 p.m. (ET) league encounter in Big Rapids.

* Back At Home: Overall, six of the Bulldogs' next nine outings are at home to open the 2013 calendar year this season.  FSU will play nine of its last 16 regular-season tilts in conference play inside Wink Arena after playing four of its first six league encounters on the road prior to the holiday break.

* Key Bulldog Notes: The Bulldog men's basketball team welcomes back eight letterwinners from last year's squad that won a share of a second consecutive GLIAC North Division Championship. FSU ended the 2011-12 men's hoops campaign with a 16-11 overall record. The Bulldogs also made their 13th all-time GLIAC Tournament berth last year, including the program's fourth-straight conference tournament appearance. Overall, Ferris State has won four league titles and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament in head coach Bill Sall's tenure. The Bulldogs were chosen third in this season's GLIAC North Preseason Poll.

* Looking At The Opposition: Both Malone and Walsh maintain identical 6-3 overall records in men's action.  The Pioneers are 4-2 in the GLIAC while the Cavaliers are 2-3 in league play heading into their conference road game at GVSU.  Malone is led in scoring by junior guard Isiah Elliott, who is averaging 17.8 points per game.  Meanwhile, senior forward Kenny Kornowski paces Walsh heading into Thursday's league road game at Grand Valley State with an 18.2 points per game average.  All six of Walsh's wins this season have came at home to date.

* All-GLIAC Honors Last Year: FSU's Kenny Brown scored in double-digits in 22 of 26 games a year ago en route to claiming All-GLIAC First Team accolades. FSU forward Daniel Sutherlin was chosen as an All-GLIAC Second Team pick for the first time in his career while guard Dontae Molden wrapped up his standout career by being named to the GLIAC All-Defensive Team for the second consecutive campaign.  Sutherlin was also among the 10 named to the All-Defensive Team in addition to earning second-team accolades.

* GLIAC Preseason Poll: Ferris State was picked to finish third in the 2012-13 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the league office.  Michigan Tech claimed top honors in the North Division with Wayne State listed second. Findlay was tabbed as the South Division favorite.

* Preseason All-GLIAC: Ferris State senior guard Kenny Brown was tabbed as a preseason All-GLIAC First Team honoree as announced by the league office while senior forward Daniel Sutherlin claimed preseson second team accolades for the Bulldogs.

* First Official Games: The Bulldogs had five players make their first official collegiate debuts in regular-season play in the season opener against Lewis (Nov. 15).  The figure included a pair of redshirt freshmen players in center Jared Stolicker (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg) along with guard Milton Cribbs (Detroit/Inkster).

* Chicago Connection: The Bulldogs have three players from the state of Illinois and the Chicago area on their 2012-13 roster, including two freshmen in guard Jibreel Jackson (Chicago/Curie) along with forward Josh Fleming (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North).  The third player is junior transfer guard Bryant Orange (Chicago/Simeon), who spent the last two seasons at Triton Junior College.

* The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2012-13 roster includes two seniors, three juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. Seven of the 14 players are primarily guards while the remaining seven are frontcourt players. Ten of the 14 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan with three from Illinois and one from Ohio.

* Bulldog Notes: Ferris State has posted 40 winning campaigns and 46 non-losing seasons in its more than 80 seasons of competition.

* Successful Season: Last year's divisional title was FSU's fourth under head coach Bill Sall and second in a row. FSU also won back-to-back GLIAC North crowns in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  The Bulldogs' 24 victories in 2010-11 were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league regular-season wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

* Home Court Edge: Ferris State owned a 14-2 mark at home in 2010-11 and has won 28 of its last 36 games at Wink Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign.

* Toledo Connection: Sophomore guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) is the Bulldogs' first player from Toledo since former standout point guard Dennis Springs, who led FSU to back-to-back GLIAC titles and NCAA Tournament berths during his Ferris State career from 2002-06.  He was part of head coach Bill Sall's first recruiting class at Ferris State.

* Youth Served: The Bulldogs have nine freshmen or sophomores on the roster this season.  Ferris State had one of the nation's youngest teams and largest rookie classes in 2007-08 with nine freshmen.  Four of those freshmen became four-year letterwinners and led FSU to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2010-11 with Justin Keenan, Darien Gay, Matt DeHart and Lou Williams.

* FSU History: Ferris State's impressive basketball tradition includes 13 GLIAC titles, nine 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 then league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90.

* Season Of Firsts: The FSU men's basketball team was one of three Bulldog teams to win a league championship last winter along with the women's hoops team that won the GLIAC North Championship and the Bulldog Hockey team, which claimed the CCHA Regular-Season crown and reached the national championship game at the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four.

* Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, 11th-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.  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.

* Two Years Ago: Ferris State concluded the 2010-11 season two years ago by reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also won  the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals/Finals in 2010-11 while finishing with a 24-8 overall record.  FSU had to replace four key starters last campaign from a team that fell to eventual D2 national champion Bellarmine in the regional finals, but still managed to win a share of a second-straight league crown in 2011-12.

* Pertinent Fact: The Bulldogs' 24 victories in 2010-11 were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

* Outstanding Success: Ferris' 24 victories in 2010-11 tied for the program's most in the last 23 seasons along with 2004-05 when the Bulldogs reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen and recorded a 24-7 mark.  Overall, the 24 wins tied for the program's third-most in more than 80 seasons of basketball action dating back to the 1920's.

* Going Back In Time: The 2010-11 campaign marked the first time the Bulldogs had reached the NCAA-II Tournament, made the GLIAC Tournament Championship Game and achieved 20 wins or more all in the same season since the 1997-98 campaign.

* Back To The Dance: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall was an assistant coach under former head coach Edgar Wilson when the Bulldogs won the GLIAC Tournament for the only time in school history to reach the NCAA-II Tourney in 1997-98.  Therefore, he's been involved in the last four of FSU's nine NCAA Tournament appearances.

* A Great Run: Ferris won back-to-back GLIAC North Division crowns under Bill Sall in 2003-04 and 2004-05 while also reaching the NCAA-II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06.  FSU also previously advanced to the NCAA-II "Sweet Sixteen" during the 2004-05 season, which was Sall's third season at the helm.  Last year's GLIAC title was the fourth under his direction.

* Tremendous Turnaround: 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 160-138 (.537) and claimed four divisional titles while making three NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his 10 seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

* All-Tourney Team: Senior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) came alive for the Bulldogs as a sophomore in the 2010-11 NCAA Tournament run and was recognized as an All-Tournament Team selection after helping the Bulldogs to the regional title game.  Brown came off the bench to average a team second-best 19.3 points per game in three NCAA contests, including a game-high 27 points in a regional-opening win over Wayne State and 22 versus Drury (Mo.) in the semifinals.

* Key Returnee: Senior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) has been a valuable contributor over each of his three seasons for the Bulldogs.  The 6-5 Sutherlin, a three-year letterwinner, has played in 92 games and made 47 starts in his FSU career.

* Great Campaign: FSU's 24-8 overall men's hoops mark in 2010-11 was the program's best since posting a 24-7 record and also reaching the regional final in 2004-05.  Overall, the 24 wins recorded by the Bulldogs was tied for the third-highest total in school history and FSU's 16 league regular-season victories was best in the conference and tied for the most GLIAC wins in Bulldog annals.

* GLIAC Award Winner: Ferris State head coach Bill Sall earned the GLIAC's Coach of the Year honor after directing the Bulldogs to their first GLIAC North Division Championship in six years with a 16-3 league regular season mark in 2010-11.  FSU's 24 wins overall were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark under Sall's leadership in 2004-05.  The 11th-year head coach has guided Ferris State to seven GLIAC Tournament berths in the last eight years and FSU cracked the national rankings for the first time in more than four years two seasons ago.  Additionally, Sall's 2010-11 squad earned the league's top overall seed and the right to host the GLIAC Semifinals/Finals for the first time since the 1994-95 season.

* Change Of Fortune: Ferris suffered five-straight losing seasons from 1998-99 to 2002-03, but has since captured four GLIAC North Division titles, made eight GLIAC Tournament appearances, advanced to three NCAA-II Tournaments and claimed two conference tournament runner-up finishes over the last 10 seasons.

* Assistant Coach: The Bulldogs welcome back third-year full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, who had served as a volunteer assistant for three years before replacing longtime assistant coach Cory Anderson prior to the 2010-11 campaign. Bronkema was a collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich. As a player, he served as team captain in both his junior and senior seasons. Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels.

* The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Andy Bronkema, Bill Sall also has three familiar faces serving as assistants in Bill Killian, Ed Douma and Jim Lake. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program throughout Sall's tenure and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Lake returned to the Bulldog staff last eason after coaching AAU basketball for the Grand Rapids Storm and serving as a prep head coach at Chippewa Hills High School.  He was also part of the Bulldog staff during FSU's back-to-back GLIAC title run in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  

* The Coaching Staff: Longtime college basketball coach Ed Douma joined the Bulldog staff for the 2009-10 season and embarks on his fourth season with the Bulldogs this year. Douma most recently served as head coach at GLIAC-member Hillsdale until 2007. His experience includes 33 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, including at his alma mater, Calvin College (NCAA-III), where he guided the Knights to the NCAA-III National Championship in 1991-92. He has also served as head coach at Alma College (NCAA-III), fellow GLIAC member Lake Superior State (NAIA), Kent State (NCAA-I) and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro (NCAA-III). Douma owned a career mark of 561-295 and also won two MHSAA Class C State Championships at Shelby High School. FSU head caoch Bill Sall played for Douma at Calvin and also served as one of his assistant coaches at both Calvin and Hillsdale.

* Sixteen Wins: FSU's 16 victories last year represented the sixth time in head coach Bill Sall's 10 years the Bulldogs had won at least 14 games in a campaign. It also marked the 10th consecutive year in which the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under Sall.  Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had won 10 games or more only twice in the seven previous seasons.

* Former Standout: Ferris State entered last season having to replace four key players from its 2010-11 Sweet Sixteen squad, including the 2010-11 Division II Bulletin National Player of the Year in Justin Keenan.  He wrapped up his career as the GLIAC's all-time career scoring leader was a two-time GLIAC Player of the Year Award honoree along with twice earning All-America accolades.  Currently, he's midst his second season of professional basketball in Uruguay this campaign.

* Interesting Note: Last year represented the 10th consecutive year the Bulldogs had won 10 or more games under head coach Bill Sall after the program had not done so in the four years prior to his arrival.

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