PREVIEW: Bulldogs Head To Allendale For West Michigan Rivalry Game

PREVIEW: Bulldogs Head To Allendale For West Michigan Rivalry Game

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* The Week Ahead:
The Ferris State men's basketball team heads to Allendale to face archrival Grand Valley State in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play on Saturday (March 2) night at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena.  Tipoff for the regular-season finale is set for 6 p.m. (ET).

* Media Coverage: Saturday's game will not be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM due to Bulldog Hockey coverage, but will be carried live online by the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame Show a half-hour prior to tipoff. 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

* 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 or to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

* Last Week: Ferris State dropped a pair of close games last weekend as the Bulldogs suffered a 56-53 setback at divisional leader Wayne State on Thursday (Feb. 21) night in Detroit before coming home and dropping a 75-67 loss at Saginaw Valley State on Saturday (Feb. 23).  Senior guard Kenny Brown had 17 points against SVSU on Saturday in his final regular-season home matchup along with 12 points at Wayne State.  Sophomore guard Dietrich Lever tallied 18 points in the loss to Saginaw Valley State while sophomore guard Drew Lehman scored 11 points at WSU and junior forward Trent Messer recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards against the Warriors.  Along with Brown, FSU also honored injured senior forward Daniel Sutherlin on Saturday prior to the final home game and he played the first minute of the contest in his final action.

* Playoff Race: The Bulldog men's squad will enter Saturday's game with a 14-11 overall record and FSU is currently tied with Hillsdale for fifth place in the GLIAC standings with a 13-8 conference slate.  The two teams are one game back of GVSU, which is 17-8 overall and fourth in the league with a 14-7 GLIAC slate.

* Playoff Implications: The top four teams following Saturday's conclusion of regular-season play will host quarterfinal-round home games in the conference tournament, which means the Bulldogs could potentially move into the fourth spot with a win over the Lakers.  There's also a chance the two teams could turn around and face each other again in the first round of the GLIAC Tournament.

* The Records: Ferris State (14-11, 13-8 GLIAC) has won 10 of its last 15 games overall this season to date.  FSU 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.
Grand Valley State (17-8, 14-7 GLIAC) currently ranks third in the GLIAC North Division standings and is fourth overall in the conference to date, but has dropped five of its last eight contests this campaign.  The Lakers are coming off a 75-57 home loss to Wayne State last Saturday (Feb. 23) in Allendale.

* The Coaches: Ferris State – Bill Sall (Calvin, 1994), 11th season, 176-151 (.538) - (11-14 vs. GVSU).  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.
Grand Valley State – Ric Wesley, (Central Michigan, 1980), 8th season. Wesley spent five years as associate head coach at Southwest Missouri State before taking over at GVSU. He also spent time as a NCAA-I assistant at Lamar and Iowa State. Wesley's directed
GVSU to five national tourney bids, two Elite Eight showings and four league titles in his tenure.

* The First Meeting: A defensive stand on the game's final possession enabled Ferris State to win its eighth consecutive home contest and beat rival Grand Valley State for the third consecutive time as the Bulldogs prevailed 59-58 in this season's first meeting on Feb. 2 inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena. Bulldog senior forward Daniel Sutherlin converted a layup while driving into the heart of the Laker defense with 23 seconds remaining. After a pair of timeouts, the Lakers setup for the game's final play, but Breland Hogan's jumper in the lane rimmed out as time expired and FSU came out with the victory. Ferris State senior guard Kenny Brown heated up in the second half to finish with a team-high 16 points and five rebounds in the outing. He was joined in double figures by Sutherlin, who netted 14 points and six boards, along with sophomore guard Drew Lehman, who totaled 12 points, three rebounds and three assists.

* GVSU Series History: Ferris holds a 52-47 advantage heading into Saturday's 100th all-time meeting with rival Grand Valley State. Last year, the Bulldogs topped the Lakers twice with wins of 65-57 in Big Rapids (1/28/12) and 63-56 in the regular-season finale in Allendale (2/25/12), which clinched a share of the GLIAC North title.  Overall, the Bulldogs have won six of the last 10 matchups, including four of the past five, with GVSU's last triumph coming two years ago inside Wink Arena by a 82-80 count (2/26/11).

* GLIAC Tourney Berth: The Bulldogs have officially clinched a berth in the 2013 GLIAC Tournament.  The quarterfinals will be played on Wednesday, March 6, at four campus locations.  The top four seeds regardless of division will host opening-round games with the official pairings released by the league office at the conclusion of regular-season play.  The top remaining seed will host the semifinals/finals on March 9-10.

* Looking At The Lakers: Grand Valley State holds a 17-8 overall record and is third in the GLIAC North Division standings to date with a 14-7 league record.  The Lakers have dropped five of their last eight games this campaign and are coming off a 75-57 home loss to Wayne State last Saturday (Feb. 23) in Allendale.  Sophomore guard Ryan Sabin is averaging a team-best 11.3 points per game on the year for head coach Ric Wesley, who's now in his 8th season at the Laker helm.  Eleven of the Lakers' 17 wins have came at home where they are 11-2 to date this season.

* A Year Ago: FSU claimed a share of the GLIAC North Division Championship a year ago with an exciting 63-56 win over rival Grand Valley State (2/25/12) in the regular-season finale at the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena. Jerrell Sanders led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 11 rebounds while Daniel Sutherlin chipped in with 13 points.  Both players had big nights inside against a bigger Laker lineup. FSU played only seven players in the game, but all seven played at least 15 minutes and scored at least five points.

* GLIAC Tourney Notebook: Ferris State will make its 14th all-time GLIAC Tournament appearance this season and owns a 10-15 mark in 13 previous trips to the annual event ....... FSU advanced to the league tournament final in 2010-11 before dropping a 73-71 buzzer beat to Wayne State at Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids (3/6/11) ...... FSU also advanced to the GLIAC Tournament title game in 2005-06 before dropping an 80-58 decision in the final contest (3/3/06) at Grand Valley State ......... Ferris captured the 1997-98 league tourney title and will be making its eighth appearance in the last nine years, including a fifth-straight berth this season.