January 22, 2014

PREVIEW: Ferris State Hosts Two Of GLIAC North Division's Top Teams This Week

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This Week: The Ferris State University men's basketball team returns home after a four-game Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) road stretch for a pair of league games this week. FSU hosts Northwood on Thursday (Jan. 23) at 8 p.m. (ET) before meeting Lake Superior State on Saturday (Jan. 25) starting at 3 p.m. (ET). Both games take place inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena in Big Rapids.

Media Coverage: Both games will be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame Show a half-hour prior to the women's tipoff. Rob Bentley and Sandy Gholston will call the action. In addition, a live audio broadcast and pay-per-view video webcast will also be accessible along with live internet statistics. 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.

Tough Opponents: Both Northwood and Lake Superior State are both among the leaders in the GLIAC North Division heading into this week's play. LSSU owns a league-leading 16-2 overall and 8-2 conference mark going into Thursday's road game at Grand Valley State. Meanwhile, Northwood is only a game back at 7-3 in the GLIAC and 11-7 on the year.

Special Promotions: Thursday's game against Northwood takes place in conjunction with Ferris State's Martin Luther King Celebration. Fans attending the home doubleheader are encouraged to bring non-perishable goods that can be donated as part of the campus food drive and a special table will be setup in the main concourse with more information on the event. Saturday will be Kids Day with a variety of activities available for young fans including sign making, face painting, halftime games and more. All kids in grades K-12 are FREE with a paid adult!

Ticket Information: Ferris State home basketball tickets can be purchased in advance thru the FSU Athletics Ticket Office by calling (231) 591-2888 or visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more information. They can also be bought online via StarTickets.com. Adult general admission tickets are $7 or the cost is $5 for FSU faculty/staff, seniors ages 65 and up or students age 3 thru 12th grade. FSU students are admitted free with a valid student ID card.

First-Year Coach: First-year FSU head coach Andy Bronkema was elevated to the head coaching position in July after six years as an assistant coach under former Bulldog head coach Bill Sall, who is now the head coach at fellow GLIAC member Northern Michigan.

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 (6-8, 5-5 GLIAC) enters Thursday's contest trying to snap a five-game skid. The Bulldogs had won six in a row prior to the current stretch and wrapped up a four-game league road swing with a pair of close setbacks in Michigan's Upper Peninsula last weekend. FSU fell 74-64 at Michigan Tech on Thursday (Jan. 16) and then suffered a narrow 61-59 setback to Northern Michigan and former head coach Bill Sall on Saturday (Jan. 18) as the Wildcats scored with 11 seconds to play.
   
Northwood (11-7, 7-3 GLIAC) has won its last three games to date after previously dropping five of six outings around the holiday break. The Timberwolves are coming off an impressive 94-80 league road win at divisional leader Lake Superior State last Saturday (Jan. 18).

Lake Superior State (16-2, 8-2 GLIAC) heads into Thursday's league road tilt at Grand Valley State with a conference-leading 16-2 overall record to go with an 8-2 league slate. The Lakers had won 10 games in a row prior to a 94-80 home loss to Northwood last Saturday (Jan. 18).

The Head Coach: Ferris State – Andy Bronkema (Cornerstone), 1st season, 6-8 (.429) - (0-0 vs. NU & LSSU).  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.

Series History: Ferris holds a 55-25 advantage entering Thursday's 79th meeting with Northwood. The Bulldogs have claimed 13 of the last 18 matchups to date, including a pair of wins in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before the two teams split last year with NU posting a 75-66 win in Midland (1/17) before FSU rebounded for a 83-71 triumph in Big Rapids (2/14) ..... The Bulldogs hold a 78-49 lead heading into Saturday's 128h meeting versus LSSU. The Bulldogs also beat the Lakers twice in 2010-11 and 2011-12 before the two teams split a year ago. Lake Superior State captured a 69-58 win in Sault Ste. Marie (1/19), but the Bulldogs came back to record a 63-54 win in Big Rapids (2/16). The Bulldogs have won 14 of the last 22 series' matchups overall.

Looking At Northwood: Northwood enters Thursday's game against the Bulldogs at 11-7 overall and 7-3 in the GLIAC. They trail LSSU by one game in the GLIAC North Division and beat the Lakers 94-80 last Saturday (Jan. 18) in Sault Ste. Marie for their third-straight victory. NU is 4-4 overall on the road this campaign under fourth-year head coach Jeff Rekeweg. Senior forward Wes Wilcox leads four players in double-digits at 19.1 points per game to date this season.

Looking At Lake Superior State: The Lakers are off to one of their best starts in school history as they head into Thursday's league road game at Grand Valley State with a 16-2 overall and 8-2 league mark. Head coach Steve Hettinga's squad had won 10 games in a row prior to a 94-80 home setback to Northwood last Saturday (Jan. 18). They are currently 7-0 in road contests this year and own a 9-2 home record with losses to NU and Findlay (Dec. 5). Senior guard Derek Billing leads four players in double-figure scoring at 22.1 points per game.
   
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