Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State and rival Grand Valley State needed overtime to determine a winner in yet another classic men's basketball matchup between the two longtime West Michigan rivals on Thursday (Feb. 27) evening inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena before the visiting Lakers finally prevailed 74-73 in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) showdown.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 11-4 edge only six minutes into the game and grabbed a one-point halftime lead on a layup from sophomore center Jared Stolicker as time expired in the opening frame. However, a quick start by the Lakers in the second period gave them a nine-point lead at 50-41 with 11:09 remaining before FSU answered back.
Ferris State trimmed the margin to three points several different times and finally claimed its first lead since the start of the second half on a three-pointer from junior guard Dietrich Lever with three minutes remaining in regulation. But, a deep three from GVSU's Darren Kapustka gave the Lakers the advantage and FSU needed a free throw from sophomore forward Josh Fleming with 1:08 left to tie the game back up.
Grand Valley State's Rob Woodson scored inside with 53 seconds to play to put the lead back in GVSU's favor, but the Bulldogs eventually tied the game up on a pair of free throws from junior guard Drew Lehman with 43 ticks remaining and neither team could capitalize with one final offensive possession each.
During the overtime stanza, the Lakers scored first on a Chaz Rollins layup before FSU surged in front on a three-pointer from Lehman with 4:07 to play. However, after a Rollins free throw followed by a pair of offensive misses from FSU, the Bulldogs' Lever hit another trey to give FSU a 69-66 edge.
Again, though, Kapustka answered with a three from the top of the circle to tie the game back up with 1:46 to play in OT. The teams traded hoops again with Stolicker scoring for FSU before yet another Kapustka triple pushed the lead back to the Lakers' side at 72-71 with 46 seconds remaining.
Lehman connected in traffic for the Bulldogs to give Ferris State a slim 73-72 advantage with only 28 seconds to play, but Woodson was able to draw a FSU foul and made two free throws with 16 seconds left, giving GVSU one-point margin.
Ferris State sophomore guard Jibreel Jackson's potential game-winning three from the corner with only three seconds to play in overtime rattled out and the Lakers grabbed the rebound to force Ferris State to foul. Rollins missed a free throw with two seconds left and after a timeout, the Bulldogs' long pass up the floor hit the ceiling. FSU fouled again and ater two missed GVSU free throws eventually got off yet another long heave at the buzzer from senior forward Raymoan McAfee that came up short as the Lakers held on for the win.
Despite the setback, the Bulldogs received a much better effort on both ends of the floor than they had in an earlier 86-62 loss on the road in Allendale in the first matchup this season on Feb. 3.
In Thursday's contest, Lehman paced Ferris State with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in an impressive all-around performance while playing 44 minutes. Both Lever and Jackson also played more than 40 total minutes with Lever adding 14 points and five assists.
FSU also received 10 points each from Stolicker and McAfee with the two combining for 14 rebounds, five blocked shots and three steals in the outing. Fleming added nine points for Ferris State.
Meanwhile, Woodson spearheaded the GVSU attack with a game-high 23 points and dished out eight assists with four boards and four steals in 38 minutes. Rollins added 14 points and 10 boards off the bench and played a key role as the Lakers lost forward Ricardo Carbajal to injury at the end of the opening half after he had scored eight points in the initial frame.
Kapustka's three triples at crunch time gave him nine points off the bench for the Lakers while leading scorer Ryan Sabin was limited to only eight points in the game.
Ferris State, which was coming off back-to-back league victories last week, shot 40.6% for the night and Grand Valley State posted an identical figure. However, the Lakers where three-of-four (75%) in overtime to FSU's four-of-nine (44.4%) figure.
The Bulldogs made eight-of-22 (36.4%) three's for the game and hit 13-of-14 (92.9%) free throws with the Lakers converting four-of-15 (26.7%) tries behind the arc and 18-of-25 (72%) attempts at the line, which included a 10-of-15 effort from Rollins alone.
A big Grand Valley State lineup helped the Lakers own a slim 42-39 edge on the boards and GVSU pulled down 16 offensive rebounds to 13 for the Bulldogs although FSU held a 12-8 margin in second chance scoring.
The Lakers did force 16 Bulldog turnovers while limiting their own to only 11 on the night, which helped the visitors maintain a 17-13 advantage in points off turnovers. GVSU also outscored FSU 38-24 in the paint and received 37 points off its bench to only 15 for Ferris State.
Overall, Grand Valley State ahd 16 assists and 10 steals with no blocked shots compared to FSU's 20 assists, seven blocks and six steals. Both Lever and Jackson had five assists each to go with Lehman's eight on the Bulldog side.
The Bulldogs dropped to 9-16 overall and 8-13 with the loss in the 102nd all-time matchup in the longtime West Michigan rivalry game. FSU had won four of the past seven contests between the two teams entering the game and had captured a win in three of its five most recent contests this year before the loss. The tilt featured 10 lead changes and was tied nine times as GVSU trimmed Ferris State's all-time series lead to 52-50 with the win.
Grand Valley State moved to 19-7 overall and 15-7 in league action with the victory in its regular-season finale.
Ferris State will close out the season on Saturday (March 1) with a rescheduled game against Saginaw Valley State at Jim Wink Arena. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. (ET) as the two teams meet for the second time in a week on the heels of FSU's decisive 90-68 road win last Saturday (Feb. 22) in University Center.
Saturday will also represent FSU's annual "Senior Day" game with the Bulldogs honoring a lone senior from both the women's and men's teams between games in McAfee and women's guard Sarah DeShone. The game can be heard live on Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network.
Tickets for Saturday's game are on sale now and 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 visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.