Ferris State Upsets 12th-Ranked Findlay To Remain Last Unbeaten Team In GLIAC Play
Big Rapids, Mich. - The Ferris State University men's basketball team upset nationally 12th-ranked Findlay to remain the only Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) team unbeaten in league play as the Bulldogs scored a thrilling 85-81 win over the Oilers on Thursday (Jan. 2) night inside Jim Wink Arena.
FSU opened the New Year by winning its sixth consecutive contest and moved to 6-3 overall and 5-0 in the GLIAC standings by beating the Oilers in a back-and-forth game that featured 16 lead changes and was tied six times.
Ferris State jumped in front early by eight points only two minutes into the game before the Oilers battled back to surge in front and take a commanding lead. The Bulldogs trailed by 12 points with five minutes remaining in the opening half before closing the frame on a 14-2 run to tie the contest up at 39 points apiece at the break.
Findlay moved ahead by six points at 58-52 midway thru the second half. However, Ferris State cut the margin to two points only three minutes later and made it a one-point game with 5:30 to go.
The Oilers eventually pushed the lead back to five points on a pair of free throws with 4:12 to play, but FSU responded with a jumper from senior forward Raymoan McAfee along with two free throws by sophomore forward Josh Fleming to make it a one-point game with three minutes left.
From there, neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way as the two squads battled down the stretch to the finish. The Oilers held a one-point lead in the final minute before Greg Kahlig's three-point shot misfired as the shot clock expired and Bulldog junior forward Matt Poches grabbed a big defensive rebound inside of 30 seconds.
FSU moved quickly and junior guard Drew Lehman converted a key three-point play in the paint with 23 seconds to go to give Ferris State a two-point lead. After a missed shot from Kahlig, FSU's McAfee grabbed the board and hit two free throws with 11 seconds to go to push the Bulldog advantage to four points and Ferris State hit four more free throws in the final eight seconds to hold onto the victory.
Poches paced the Bulldogs with a team-high 19 points and was one of four FSU players to reach double-figure scoring. Lehman chipped in with 16 points while Fleming had 13 and sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson netted 12 points in the win.
Their performances helped offset a 21-point effort from Kahlig on the Findlay side. The Oilers also had three other double-digit scorers as Dylan Kaufman finished with 15 points, Alphonso Baity scored 13 and Jake Heagen added 10 on the night.
Ferris State came up with a 42-36 rebounding edge for the game and FSU tallied 15 offensive boards to 11 for the Oilers, which helped lead to a 19-14 margin in second chance production. McAfee led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds while three others picked up five each in Fleming, junior guard Dietrich Lever and sophomore center Jared Stolicker.
In addition to his five rebounds, Lever added six points, six assists and four steals in directing the Bulldog attack. Lehman had three assists and three boards as FSU finished with 16 helpers on the night.
Besides posting a rebounding advantage, the Bulldogs also established a new school record with 12 blocked shots in the contest, which eclipsed the previous record of 11 set against Grand Valley State in 2001. Fleming led the way with five blocks, which was only three shy of Lou Williams' school single-game mark of eight recorded in 2011. Both McAfee and Stolicker added three swats each.
Ferris State shot 44.1% for the game and hit on six-of-15 (40%) three-point tries in addition to converting 19-of-21 (90.5%) free throws. Meanwhile, Findlay made 44.6% of its field goals, but was only four-of-14 (28.6%) behind the three-point stripe and 19-of-23 (82.6%) at the line.
The game was nearly even in many phases as both teams scored 36 points inside the paint and Findlay owned a slim 18-17 edge in points off turnovers as they forced 16 Bulldog miscues to only 15 of their own. FSU had 12 steals to 10 for the Oilers and owned a 14-6 advantage in fast break production.
The Bulldogs also received 27 points off their bench to only 22 for the Oiler reserves.
With the win, Ferris State beat Findlay for the third time in the last five regular-season matchups. FSU also moved to 4-0 this season inside Wink Arena with the victory.
The Bulldogs will continue their GLIAC homestand by hosting Hillsdale on Saturday (Jan. 4) at 3 p.m. (ET) inside Jim Wink Arena. The Chargers handed Grand Valley State its first league loss on Thursday night in Allendale. The contest will also be carried live by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.
Following Saturday's home contest, the Bulldogs will begin a four-game road stretch with their two longest league trips of the season in back-to-back weeks.