PREVIEW: Men's Basketball Opens GLIAC Play At Home Against Ohio Schools

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This Week:
The Ferris State men's basketball team opens Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action at home this week as the Bulldogs host Lake Erie on Thursday (Dec. 5) and Ashland on Saturday (Dec. 7) inside Jim Wink Arena. The two contests represent the Bulldogs' first two home games of the 2013-14 season.

Media Coverage: Both games will be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM and streamed online via the Bulldog Sports Network with Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston calling the action. The Meijer pregame show begins a half-hour prior to tipoff. FSU will also offer live statistics and a 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.

Close Season Opener: Ferris State battled to the end, but came out on the short end of a 78-72 season-opening road decision versus Lewis (Ill.) on Nov. 20 in Romeoville, Ill. FSU led by three late in the game before the Flyers came back to earn the win. Four Bulldog players reached double-digits in the game. The Flyers hit eight three-pointers in the victory and closed the game on an 11-2 spurt in the final two minutes.

Tough Road Stretch: Ferris State continued a tough season-opening non-league stretch as the Bulldogs dropped a pair of games in a crossover tourney hosted by Winona State on Nov. 23-24. FSU fell to the host Warriors 94-74 before suffering a 79-57 setback against Concordia-St. Paul.

New Head Coach: FSU's season opener at Lewis marked the official regular-season debut for first-year Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema, who was elevated to the position after six years as an assistant coach under former Bulldog head coach Bill Sall in July.   

Last year: Last season, with Bronkema as the Bulldogs' top assistant, Ferris State wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 14-13 overall record and the Bulldogs reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade.

The Records: Ferris State (0-3, 0-0 GLIAC) opened its season with a 78-72 regional road loss to Lewis (Ill.) in Romeoville, Ill. The Bulldogs then dropped two games against tough competition at the Winona State Tourney. FSU is coming off a 14-13 overall mark a year ago.
   
Lake Erie (3-3, 0-0 GLIAC) is off to a 3-3 start this season, but has dropped its last three contests to date. The Storm own a win over perennial Division II power Kentucky Wesleyan and narrowly fell to another one of the nation's most dominant teams in recent history on the road at Southern Indiana. Most recently, LEC fell to Slippery Rock (Pa.) 75-55 in non-league action last Saturday (Nov. 30).

Ashland (2-1, 0-0 GLIAC) is 2-1 on the year after a 80-75 home win over Seton Hill on Nov. 26 in Ashland, Ohio. The Eagles' lone regular-season setback came to a strong regional opponent in Central State (Ohio) by a 79-77 count on the road. AU visits Grand Valley State on Thursday before facing the Bulldogs.

The Head Coach: Ferris State – Andy Bronkema (Cornerstone), 1st season, 0-3 (.000) - (0-0 vs. LEC & AU).  Bronkema takes over the Bulldog program this season following six years as an assistant coach, including the last three as the program's top assistant. A collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels. He was a multi-sport prep standout at McBain (Mich.) High School.
   
Scouting Lake Erie: The Storm are off to a 3-3 start while facing a challenging non-conference schedule. Senior guard Riley Thomas leads the Storm in scoring at 20.5 points per game to date. LEC fell to Slippery Rock 75-55 last Saturday (Nov. 30) in its final non-league game of the year. Head coach Cliff Hunt is in his ninth season at Lake Erie and ranks as the program's all-time winningest coach. A year ago, LEC finished 8-18 overall along with 5-17 in the GLIAC, which ranked seventh in the South Division.

Scouting Ashland: The Eagles, who face Grand Valley State on Thursday night, are 2-1 to date and coming off a 80-75 home win over Seton Hill on Nov. 26. Ashland is paced in scoring by senior forward Will Evans at 18.0 points per game. Head coach John Ellenwood is in his fifth season at the Eagles' helm and led Ashland to a 13-12 overall mark a year ago, which was the program's third-straight campaign at .500 or better.

Series History: Thursday's meeting will mark the fourth-ever series' matchup between Ferris State and Lake Erie following the Bulldogs' narrow 80-74 overtime win a year ago (11/29/12) in Painesville, Ohio. The Bulldogs posted a decisive 82-57 home win two years ago (2/9/12) in Big Rapids and also recorded a 77-64 road win three years ago (2/10/11) in the initial matchup at Painesville. This year will be the Storm's second-ever visit to Wink Arena ...... Ferris holds a 15-7 series' edge over Ashland, but fell to the Eagles 71-49 a year ago (12/1/12) in Ohio. The Bulldogs previously beat the Eagles two years ago 87-66 in Big Rapids (2/11/12). FSU has won nine of the last 11 meetings versus AU to date

GLIAC Opener: Thursday's game against the Storm will represent the first official regular-season home contest for the Bulldogs this season.

League Openers: Ferris has won seven of its last eight league openers heading into Thursday's matchup, including a 80-74 overtime win a year ago (11/29/12) over Lake Erie in Painesville, Ohio. Overall, FSU is 7-4 in the last 11 years in its first league game of the year, including a 4-2 mark in road contests.

The Opposing Coaches: Lake Erie – Cliff Hunt, (Hiram, 1969), 9th season at LEC. The school's all-time winningest coach began his tenure with three-straight winning seasons. Prior to Lake Erie, Hunt spent a total of 24 years as a head coach in the high school ranks in Ohio ...... Ashland – John Ellenwood (Wooster, 2000), 5th season at AU, 8th season overall. Ellenwood replaced former head coach Roger Lyons after three seasons at NCAA-III Thomas More where he led the team to a national tourney berth his final year. He was an assistant at both Ohio Wesleyan & Capital.

Back At Home: After playing its initial three games on the road this year, the Bulldogs return home and will play five of their next seven contests inside Jim Wink Arena. Overall, the Bulldogs will play 12 regular-season home games this season, including 11 GLIAC contests.

Coming Up Next: Ferris State will hit the road for two league games following final exam week. FSU visits Ohio Dominican on Sunday, Dec. 15, for a 8 p.m. (ET) league tilt in Columbus and then travels to Tiffin on Tuesday, Dec. 17, for an 8 p.m. (ET) league contest in Tiffin, Ohio. FSU will host Cornerstone in non-league action on Saturday, Dec. 21, before breaking for the Christmas holiday.

Bulldog Overview: Three starters are back for the Bulldogs, who are coming off their eighth appearance in the conference tournament in the last nine seasons. Junior guard Drew Lehman is the leading returning scorer after averaging 13.1 points per game last season. He hit 30 3-pointers and dished out 64 assists. Junior guard Dietrich Lever averaged 10.0 ppg and knocked down 27 treys. He also tallied 34 steals. The other returning starter is sophomore center Jared Stolicker, who averaged 5.6 points per outing and blocked 41 shots. Six letterwinners are also back for FSU in forward Raymoan McAfee, wing Milton Cribbs, guard Jibreel Jackson, forward Josh Fleming, wing Matt Sinnaeve and forward Dan Chilcote. Besides McAfee, who's the team's lone senior, the other five players are sophomores.

Noteworthy: The Bulldogs have reached the GLIAC tournament five consecutive years and have more conference wins (42) than any other school in the GLIAC North Division in the last three years.

Bulldog Success: In head coach Andy Bronkema's first year as the program's top assistant in 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen. FSU followed up the memorable campaign by winning a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in 2011-12. The Bulldogs have made five-straight league tournament berths to date in Bronkema's tenure as an assistant coach.

Track Record: First-year head coach Andy Bronkema takes over a Ferris State program with a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances entering the 2013-14 season. FSU also posted an impressive 10-1 mark at home in league regular-season action during the 2012-13 season at Jim Wink Arena.

New Assistant Coach: A familiar face will serve as Ferris State men's basketball head coach Andy Bronkema's top assistant coach for his first campaign at the Bulldog helm in 2013-14 as Jim Lake was appointed this summer to FSU's full-time assistant coaching post. The 37-year old Lake has served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in two different stints over the last decade, from 2003-06 and again from 2011-13. He also has been an AAU coach for the Grand Rapids Storm and a prep head coach.

GLIAC Preseason Poll: Ferris State was picked to finish fourth in the 2013-14 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the league office. Wayne State claimed top honors in the North Division with Grand Valley State listed second and Michigan Tech third. Findlay was tabbed as the South Division favorite.

Preseason All-GLIAC: Ferris State junior guard Drew Lehman (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) was tabbed as a preseason All-GLIAC Second Team honoree as announced by the league office.

Bulldog Outlook:  The Bulldog men's basketball team welcomes back eight letterwinners from last year's squad. The Bulldogs made their 14th all-time GLIAC Tournament berth last year, including the program's fifth-straight conference tournament appearance. Overall, Ferris State has won four league titles and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last decade. The Bulldogs were chosen fourth in this season's GLIAC North Preseason Poll.

Chicago Connection: The Bulldogs have five players from the state of Illinois and the Chicago area on their 2013-14 roster, including two sophomore returnees in guard Jibreel Jackson (Chicago/Curie) along with forward Josh Fleming (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North).  The other three are newcomers and include freshman wing Robert Hudson (Schaumburg, Ill./J.B. Conant), rookie guard Kyle Oden (Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest) along with sophomore wing Jayone Troutman (Chicago/Hillcrest), who began his collegiate career last year at NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist (Mo.).

The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2013-14 roster includes one senior, five juniors, seven sophomores and two freshmen. Nine of the 15 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan withfive from Illinois and one from Ohio.  The bulk of the Bulldogs' lineup consists of wing-type players.

Bulldog Notes: Ferris State has posted 41 winning campaigns and 47 non-losing seasons in its more than 80 seasons of competition.

Successful Season: Ferris State's last divisional title came two years ago (2011-12) and was FSU's second-straight and fourth in the past decade. 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, which owned a 10-1 league mark at home in 2012-13, currently has won 36 of its last 45 games at Wink Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign.

Toledo Connection: Junior 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.

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 including 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.

Historic Campaign: Ferris State concluded the 2010-11 season 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.

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 nine GLIAC Tournament appearances, advanced to three NCAA-II Tournaments and claimed two conference tournament runner-up finishes over the last 11 seasons.

First Home Games: Ferris State's first home games of the 2013-14 season will also mark the Bulldogs' first GLIAC contests as FSU hosts Lake Erie and Ashland on Dec. 5 and Dec. 7, respectively, at Wink Arena.

About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 14,707. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich.  FSU also plays NCAA Division I men's ice hockey in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and reached the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four along with the national championship game.

The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Jim Lake, FSU's Andy Bronkema also has a pair of other familiar faces serving as assistants on his first staff in Bill Killian and student assistant Daniel Sutherlin. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program for the last 11 years in his second stint and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Sutherlin was a four-year regular in the Bulldog lineup and wrapped up his collegiate career last season. In addition, Jordan Sweeney is serving as a volunteer assistant for the first time this season.

Sunny 97.3: A majority of FSU's 2013-14 games will be aired live thru a continued broadcast partnership between FSU Athletics and Sunny 97.3 FM.  Rob Bentley will call the action starting with the "Bulldog Pregame" show a half-hour prior to tipoff.  Sunny 97.3 and the Bulldog Sports Network will again nearly all home and away basketball contests after this weekend's trip with the broadcasts streamed live online at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Bulldog Sports Network: Fans can follow all the action of Ferris State Basketball live online via the Bulldog Sports Network multimedia portal again this season.  A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast in HD will be offered for nearly all home games with free audio for road contests.  The package also includes live stats, live chat and a live blog at select times. Visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more info.

Home Ticket Information: Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 home campaign are currently on sale now.  Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance this season. For more info on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

More Media Coverage: Ferris State Basketball will be featured throughout the year as part of the "Bulldog Sports Update", which will air Monday thru Friday at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunny 97.3 FM.  Additionally, head coach Andy Bronkema and selected student-athletes will make periodic weekly appearances during the season on the Ferris Sports Update TV show, which is available across Northern Michigan on Fox 32 along with Comcast Xfinitiy in Michigan and other sources, including online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Live Internet Stats: "Live Stats" of all 2013-14 Ferris State games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com and click the "Live Stats" icon to access.

Alumni Success: Several former Bulldog standouts have had an opportunity to compete at the professional level in the past decade on the hardwood.  Among others, former standout point guard Dennis Springs spent time overseas before playing professionally in the International Basketball League (IBL) with the Holland Blast. In addition, former forward Terrance Shaw has ranked among the IBL's top scoring leaders for several seasons while playing with several different teams.

Meanwhile, All-America forward Justin Keenan, who earned Division II National Player of the Year honors in 2010-11, is now in his third season as a standout professional overseas and playing in Argentina's top professional league while another former Bulldog, guard Kenny Brown, received several NBA tryouts prior to and following this year's NBA Draft after wrapping up his FSU career last season. Recent Bulldog forward Jerrell Sanders is currently midst his first professional hoops season overseas in Germany with the BG Bonn Meckenheim club in one of the country's top leagues.

A Quick Look At The Bulldogs:

The Newcomers:

#0 Robert Hudson: The 6-5 Hudson is coming off a strong senior campaign at J B Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Ill. He led his squad to the championship game of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic along with an appearance in the regional finals for the second-straight year while claiming all-conference along with league all-academic accolades under head coach Tom McCormack.

#5 James Chappell: Chappell saw action in 30 games for Oakland Community College in 2012-13 and tallied 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.  He shot nearly 50% from the floor and 54% behind the three-point stripe while starting all 30 contests for head coach Antoine Joubert's team. Chappell was an all-tournament team selected as Oakland CC reached the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) District 10 title contest. 

#24 Matt Poches: A native of Hartland, Mich., Poches made one start in 2012-13 for Oakland University and played in 31 games. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 8.8 minutes and 2.3 points per game. Poches played in 20 games as a freshman, making one start, tallying eight assists, seven points and 15 rebounds during the 2011-12 season. A two-sport standout in football and basketball at the prep level, Poches was a Detroit News Dream Team honoree as a prep senior. 

#30 Jayone Troutman: The 6-5 Troutman appeared in all 26 games at Southwest Baptist last season and made 16 starts while averaging 4.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest.  He shot 51.5% from the floor and averaged nearly 18 minutes per game while ranking among the team leaders with 17 steals and 13 blocked shots. Troutman previously played under head coach Don Houston on the prep level at Illinois' Hillcrest High School while leading the Hawks to a regional championship and a berth in the state semifinals.  As a prep senior, he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds along with four steals per game while posting five double-double efforts.

#54 Kyle Oden: Oden prepped at Hillcrest High School under Don Houston while playing club basketball for the Illinois Crush.  The 5-10 point guard helped lead the Hawks to their 25th consecutive conference championship as a senior in 2012-13.  He averaged 12 points and six assists per game in his final campaign after totaling nearly seven points and four assists a contest for one of the state's top prep powers as a junior. 

The Returnees:

# 1 Dietrich Lever: A two-year veteran, Lever played in all 27 games a year ago and averaged 10.0 points per game. He also dished out a squad-best 2.9 assists per game while shooting 44.3% from three-point range. From Detroit - Canton High School

#2 Milton Cribbs: Played in 19 games as a redshirt freshman last season while averaging 1.6 points per game. He previously redshirted during the 2011-12 campaign. From Detroit – Inkster High School

#3 Josh Fleming: Saw action in 22 contests as a freshman a year ago and tallied 4.1 points along with 2.2 rebounds per game. He shot 51% from the floor. From Carol Stream, Ill. – Glenbard North High School

#4 Jibreel Jackson: Appeared in all 27 games as a reserve in his freshman campaign last season. The point guard averaged 4.2 points along with 1.7 rebounds an outing. From Chicago – Curie High School

#20 Jared Stolicker: Started 19 games a year ago after redshirting in 2011-12. He played in all 27 outings and tallied 5.6 points along with 5.6 rebounds a game. From Middleville – Thornapple-Kellogg High School

#21 Drew Lehman: Two-year letterwinner who started all 27 contests last season. Ranked as the team's second-leading scorer at 13.1 points per game. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds a contest. From Toledo – Central Catholic High School

#22 Matt Sinnaeve: Appeared in five games as a reserve during the 2012-13 season. From Gwinn – Gwinn High School.

#32 Dan Chilcote: Missed all of the 2012-13 season after suffering a season-ending injury in his initial Bulldog campaign two years ago. From Jackson – Lumen Christi High School

#34 Matt Stoll: Redshirted during the 2012-13 campaign following two seasons as a player on the junior college level at Muskegon Community College. From Kent City – Kent City High School

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