Visiting Tigers Pull Off Upset As FSU Returns From Layoff

Justin Keenan
Ferris State University’s Justin Keenan goes up in traffic for a shot during the Bulldogs’ home game, Saturday, against Grace Bible in Jim Wink Arena (Photo/Sandy Gholston)

The Ferris State University men’s basketball team struggled in its first game back from a nearly three-week layoff as the Bulldogs dropped an 86-80 non-conference decision to Grace Bible College on Saturday (Jan. 3) afternoon inside FSU’s Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich.

The visiting Tigers rang in the New Year by connecting on 56.6% (30-53) of its field goal attempts in recording the school’s first-ever victory versus Ferris State. The Bulldogs, who were 2-0 all-time against the Grand Rapids-based school entering the game, were limited to 33.8% (26-77) shooting and made only 10-of-36 (27.8%) attempts from the floor in the opening half.

Grace Bible jumped out to a 42-30 halftime lead and increased its lead to as many as 19 points with 10:44 to play before the Bulldogs began to rally. FSU trimmed the deficit to six points on a three-point basket by junior guard Josh Young with 24 seconds remaining, but missed two additional long range tries in the final 20 seconds as the Tigers were able to hold on for the victory despite missing four free throws in the last 16 seconds of the game.

Allen Durham fueled the Tiger attack as he had 25 points and a game-high 18 rebounds in Grace Bible’s upset of the NCAA Division II Bulldogs. Ferris previously had beat the Tigers in convincing fashion in both of the other two series’ encounters, winning by scores of 106-54 in 1999 and 101-63 last season in Big Rapids.

In addition to Durham’s efforts, Grace Bible also received 22 points from Cory Jamieson along with 14 points and nine boards by Ryan Krombeen.

FSU, which hadn’t played since a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) home setback to nationally number-one ranked Findlay on Dec. 14, was paced by Young’s contest-high 32 points. He also came up with a game-best five steals as the Bulldogs forced 28 Tiger turnovers, including 16 in the final period.

Besides Young, the Bulldogs also got 25 points and seven rebounds from sophomore forward/center Justin Keenan. His 11-of-13 performance from the free throw line helped the Bulldogs shoot 84.6% (22-26) from the charity stripe for the game.

Ferris outscored GBC 33-8 in points off turnovers along with 21-13 in second chance scoring, but the Tigers owned a 50-35 rebounding edge and totaled 46 points in the paint compared to only 34 for the Bulldogs. Ferris totaled 16 steals, 13 assists and four blocked shots. Meanwhile, the Tigers netted 19 assists, eight steals and four blocks.

FSU finished six-of-22 (27.3%) from the three-point arc while Grace Bible was five-of-15 (33.3%) at the long-range distance and 21-of-36 (58.3%) at the free throw line.

The Bulldogs dropped to 3-6 overall with the loss. Grace Bible improved to 12-8 overall by winning the game.

Ferris next takes on another Grand Rapids area school in Kuyper College on Monday (Jan. 5) evening with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (EST) at Wink Arena.