Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team wrapped up a four-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) homstand unbeaten with a hard-fought 51-41 victory over Northern Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 12) afternoon inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.
The win was the fourth-straight for the Bulldogs following the holiday break as FSU improved to 8-6 overall and 7-3 in league action.
Ferris State scored the first seven points of the game after a quick start, but from that point forward both teams struggled offensively at various stages of the contest. Northern Michigan bounced back from the early deficit to build a seven-point edge with 5:11 left in the opening frame before the Bulldogs trimmed the margin to three points at the break.
In the second half, Northern Michigan quickly pushed the lead to six points and held the advantage until FSU finally claimed its first lead of the final period with 8:38 remaining. From there, the Bulldogs outscored NMU 16-7 the rest of the way in notching the triumph.
Both teams shot below 40% for the contest as the Wildcats managed only a 32.6% figure in comparison to FSU's 36.6% effort. Additionally, both teams finished with only 15 made field goals each with Northern Michigan sinking six from beyond three-point range on 28.6% shooting and the Bulldogs totaling only three treys while hitting 37.5% of their long range tries.
FSU held a significant edge at the free throw stripe as the Bulldogs converted 18-of-25 (72%) tries in comparison to NMU's five-of-six (83.3%) figure.
Ferris State was paced by sophomore guard Drew Lehman's (Toledo/Central Catholic) 15 points. Senior forward Daniel Sutherlin (Detroit/Renaissance) added 13 points, but those were the only two FSU players to reach double-figure production.
Meanwhile, Northern Michigan also had two players in double-digits as Quinten Calloway scored 13 points and Matt Craggs added 10 points and 10 rebounds in a double-double performance for the Wildcats.
Ferris State was outrebounded 32-29 for the day as the Wildcats managed 10 offensive caroms and posted a 10-5 margin in second chance production. However, Northern Michigan turned the ball over 15 times in comparison to FSU's 11 miscues as the Bulldogs held a 14-4 edge in points off turnovers.
Besides the two players in double-figure scoring, Ferris State also received seven points off the bench from freshman guard Jibreel Jackson (Chicago/Curie) as he nailed two three-pointers. Sophomore guard Dietrich Lever (Detroit/Canton) added six points with a team-high five assists. Both teams netted nine assists on the afternoon as Calloway tallied six for the Wildcats.
Northern Michigan limited FSU's leading scorer and one of the GLIAC's top shooters in senior guard Kenny Brown (Farmington Hills/Harrison) to only four points on one-of-nine shooting, but he did grab four rebounds and came away with two key steals to help the Bulldog cause.
On the glass, Sutherlin paced FSU with eight boards while sophomore Trent Messer (Richland/Gull Lake) contributed five boards and also dished out a pair of assists.
Overall, the contest featured four lead changes and was tied three times on the afternoon as the Bulldogs improved to 20-3 all-time under head coach Bill Sall versus Northern Michigan dating back to 2002. It was also the 10th-straight triumph for the Bulldogs over NMU.
Ferris State finished with seven steals and three blocked shots in comparison to NMU's five steals and a single block. Northern Michigan had won two of its last three games and was coming off a close two-point setback at Grand Valley State on Thursday (Jan. 10) evening, but dropped to 4-10 overall and 3-7 in the GLIAC with the loss.
The Bulldogs will hit the road for their next two contests as FSU visits Northwood on Thursday, Jan. 17, for a 6 p.m. (ET) league encounter inside the Bennett Sports Center at Midland. FSU then faces Lake Superior State on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 1 p.m. (ET) in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.