Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball squad shot only 26.7% from the floor in the opening half and couldn't recover as the Bulldogs dropped a 69-58 Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road decision to Lake Superior State on Saturday (Jan. 19) in Sault Ste. Marie.
LSSU bolted out to a 29-22 halftime edge as they limited FSU to eight-of-30 shooting in the opening half and then managed to outscore the Bulldogs 40-36 over the final 20 minutes.
The loss was the second-straight on the road for the Bulldogs, who fell in a close game at Northwood on Thursday night after entering the two-game road stretch fresh off a four-game winning streak to open the New Year.
Sophomore guard Drew Lehman led the Bulldogs with 12 points while sophomore guard Kenny Brown added 10 points as FSU fell to 8-8 overall and 7-5 in the GLIAC North. Brown also became the 26th player in school history to notch 1,000 career points in the loss.
Those were the only two Bulldog players to reach double-digits in the contest. FSU did receive nine points each from sophomore guard Dietrich Lever and freshman forward Josh Fleming off the bench.
Lake Superior State improved to 9-6 on the year and 7-5 in conference play behind a game and personal career-high 32 points from Derek Billing, who scored 22 points in the second half and managed to hit all 10 of his free throw tries. Billing scored 10 points during the first half and was then 6-of-10 with four three-pointers during the second half.
Cameron Metz chipped in with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
Ferris State closed within four points, 48-44, with 10:02 remaining in the second half, but LSSU senior Nic Jobe ended a brief Bulldog run with a layup at 9:35 to push the margin to six. Billing canned three-pointers at 8:13 and 6:38 while Alex Williams added another one at 5:06 to extend the Lakers' lead to nine points, 60-51. After a 12-0 LSSU run, the Lakers pushed the margin to 16 with two minutes to go and FSU could not pull back within striking distance.
Ferris State finished shooting 37.7% for the contest and was four-of-12 (33.3%) behind the three-point stripe along with eight-of-14 (57.1%) at the line. The Bulldogs improved their shooting percentage to 48.4% over the final 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, LSSU hit on 45.3% of its field goals and sank five-of-15 (33.3%) three's in additon to 16-of-22 (72.7%) free throws.
Ferris State had only five turnovers, but was outrebounded 40-33 for the day. The Bulldogs did manage to grab 11 offensive boards and were paced by Lehman on the glass with seven caroms.
The Bulldogs netted 11 assists, nine blocked shots and four steals in the game compared to LSSU's 19 assists, five blocks and three steals. Fleming had four blocks and redshirt freshman center Jared Stolicker came up with three swats in the setback for the Bulldogs.
Ferris State had won the last four matchups against the Lakers over the past two seasons prior to the loss inside Bud Cooper Gymnasium. Overall, the Bulldogs have still claimed 13 of the last 21 matchups versus LSSU and the two teams will meet again on Feb. 16 in Big Rapids.
The Bulldogs will host divisional leader Wayne State on Thursday, Jan. 24, inside Jim Wink Arena with tipoff set for 6 p.m. (ET) in Big Rapids.