Video Interview & Celebration
Postgame Press Conference
Big Rapids, Mich. - A layup with 32 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Ferris State University Men's Basketball squad to its third consecutive Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament Championship on Sunday (March 5) as the Bulldogs defeated the Ashland Eagles 80-79 at Jim Wink Arena.
The victory gave FSU a school-record 27th win this season and also represents the first time in which the Bulldogs have won both the GLIAC's regular-season and tournament titles in the same campaign. It was also Ferris State's fourth-ever league tournament crown and the first captured on FSU's home floor.
Ferris State senior guard Quentin Ruff exploded for 28 points, hitting all seven of Ferris State's three-point shots, shooting 7-of-13 from beyond the arc. Sophomore forward Zach Hankins chipped in 16 points including the game-winning bucket to go with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Ruff earned GLIAC Tournament MVP honors with Hankins and junior guard Drew Cushingberry both also garnering all-tournament kudos.
The Eagles, who entered following a scorching offensive performance against the Findlay Oilers in their GLIAC Tournament Semifinal game, shot 63.3 percent in the opening half and took a slim 46-44 lead into the locker room. The Eagles, who hit 21 three-point shots in their previous game, hit just six in the GLIAC Championship game, shooting 25 percent from beyond the arc.
Down 79-78 with under a minute to play, Ferris State capitalized on a missed three-point shot by Ashland. The Bulldogs rushed the floor and Cushingberry lobbed a pass up to Hankins, that he caught and put in out of the air.
With an 80-79 lead, Cushingberry missed a free throw with two seconds to play and the Eagles had a shot from beyond half court that bounced off the rim as the horn sounded.
The Eagles were led by 23 points from Marsalis Hamilton, but four of the five Ashland starters finished in double-digits. The Eagles only played three men off their bench, who totaled 11 points. Ferris State finished with 22 points from reserves as all but two Bulldog reserves scored in the game.
Ferris State dominated on the boards with 42 rebounds to Ashland's 30 for the game. The Bulldogs also had 18 second chance points while the Eagles finished with none.
The back-and-forth contest featured nine ties and 10 lead changes. Neither team built a double-digit lead in the game with the Bulldogs leading by as many as six points and the Eagles leading by as many as nine.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improve to 27-4 on the season and receives the automatic bid as GLIAC Champions into the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Tournament with the Midwest Regional set for March 11-14 at a campus site.
The official NCAA Division II Tournament site & selections will be announced on Sunday (March 5) evening at 10:30 p.m. (ET) at www.ncaa.com.