Ferris State Pulls Away Late To Beat NMU & Capture Outright GLIAC North Division Championship

Ferris State Pulls Away Late To Beat NMU & Capture Outright GLIAC North Division Championship

Postgame Video Highlights 
Postgame Interview w/Coach Bronkema 

Big Rapids, Mich. - A big second half run propelled the Ferris State University men's basketball squad to a 96-74 victory over the Northern Michigan Wildcats as the Bulldogs secured the outright Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North Division Regular-Season Championship on Thursday (Feb. 16) night inside FSU's Jim Wink Arena.

The conference title is the school's 14th and first regular-season crown since 2012. FSU improved to 22-4 on the year with the win. 

Junior center Zach Hankins went for a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds, leading both teams in the contest in each category. Five Bulldogs were in double figures for points in the game.

The two sides clawed to a one-point halftime differential with the Bulldogs on top 36-35 through the first 20 minutes of play. Hankins put in 16 points to lead Ferris State in the opening frame.

Early in the second half, the Wildcats took a five-point lead, but the Bulldogs roared back to life with a 19-4 run to take a commanding lead, which they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Ferris State shot 50.8 percent for the game and 52.9 percent in the second half to pull away. After only hitting one three-point shot in the first half, the Bulldogs went 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes.

Junior guard Drew Cushingberry had 15 points, six rebounds and five assists at the point while senior guard Quentin Ruff chipped in 13 points. Freshman guard D'angelo Hughes also had 13 points and helped key the second half run with sophomore forward Markese Mayfield adding 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Ferris State owned the glass with a 46-22 margin of victory in the rebounding department. The Bulldgos also held a 15-2 margin in second chance scoring with 13 offensive caroms to only two for the Wildcats. 

Northern Michigan's Naba Echols led the Wildcats with 23 points and four assists. Sam Taylor added 15 for the Wildcats with Marcus Matelski netting 14 points off the bench.

The Bulldogs also hit 27 free throws to 10 by the Wildcats and won in points in the paint 46-24 as well with a decided interior edge.

FSU outscored Northern Michigan 27-17 on the break and 13-7 in points off turnovers in a game that featured three lead changes and was tied six times. 

Thursday's win was the Bulldogs' second over Northern Michigan this season and came against former FSU head coach and current NMU head coach Bill Sall.

Ferris State, which is ranked among the top 25 teams in the country and third in the initial NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Rankings, moved to 22-4 on the year and now owns a 16-3 conference record. FSU holds a one-game lead over GLIAC South Division leader Findlay for the number one seed for the upcoming GLIAC Tournament with two games remaining in the regular season.

This year represents the third consecutive year in which the Bulldogs have posted more than 20 wins and it is also the third-straight year in which FSU has won either a GLIAC regular-season or postseason championship. 

The Bulldogs return to action when they host the Michigan Tech Huskies on Saturday (Feb. 18) at 3 p.m. (ET) inside Wink Arena for Senior Day festivities where the Bulldogs will honor their lone senior in Quentin Ruff.