Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team finished the 2013 calendar year unbeaten in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action as the Bulldogs pulled out a hard-fought 84-81 road win over the Tiffin Dragons on Tuesday (Dec. 17) night at the Gillmor Center in Tiffin, Ohio.
The two teams went back and forth for much of the night until the Bulldogs finally seized control down the stretch to move to 4-3 overall and 4-0 in league play. It marked FSU's fourth-straight victory under first-year head coach Andy Bronkema.
The Bulldogs' current 4-0 GLIAC start is the program's best since winning seven consecutive league outings to begin conference play in 2005-06. That team eventually reached the NCAA Tournament.
Ferris State received 18 points from sophomore center Jared Stolicker, who added seven rebounds in the win. FSU also got 16 points from junior guard Drew Lehman with junior guard Matt Poches scoring 13 points and sophmore forward Josh Fleming pouring in 12 points.
The Dragons were led by Joe Graessle's game-high 27 points. Khaleal McCormick added 17 points and Mike Boan netted 15 points in the loss as TU fell to 5-4 overall and 1-3 in conference action.
Both teams shot right near 46% for the game with FSU sinking five-of-19 (26.3%) three's compared to Tiffin's six-of-13 (46.2%) showing. The Dragons owned an advantage at the free throw line as they hit 23-of-30 (77%) tries while the Bulldogs were 15-of-23 (65.2%). Both teams were called for 20 personal fouls.
FSU owned a 43-36 rebounding advantage for the game and had 16 offensive boards to only eight for the Dragons. That helped lead to 24 second-chance points for hte Bulldogs.
FSU also came away with eight steals to six for Tiffin and dished out 18 assists in the victory.
Poches finished the game with a team-best eight assists and added seven rebounds. Fleming also had nine rebounds in the victory. Meanwhile, junior guard Dietrich Lever had five assists for FSU and Lehman totaled three steals in the win.
Tiffin led by as many as eight points in the first half before the Bulldogs battled back to build a five-point halftime cushion. TU surged in front early in the second half before the Bulldogs went on the attack with a big run to take control.
By virtue of the victory, Ferris State improved to 9-1 all-time against the Dragons and have now won nine-straight meetings. FSU has never lost a GLIAC game to Tiffin as the only series' setback came in non-league play in the initial meeting.
Ferris State will return home to host Cornerstone University in non-league play on Saturday (Dec. 21) at FSU's Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) as head coach Andy Bronkema squares off against his former collegiate institution.
The contest will be FSU's final one until the New Year when the Bulldogs return to action at home versus Findlay on Thursday, Jan. 2.
Single-game tickets for all Ferris State basketball home contests can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office, online at StarTickets.com or by calling 1-800-585-3737. For more information, please call (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.