Game #3: Olivet at Ferris State

Nov. 25, 2008
Jim Wink Arena - Big Rapids, Mich.

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    FSU Basketball At A Glance: The Ferris State men’s basketball team will host Olivet Tuesday, Nov. 25, in a non-conference home game with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. (EST) inside FSU”s Jim Wink Arena at Big Rapids, Mich.

    Justin Keenan Media Coverage: Tuesday’s game can be heard live locally on WBRN (1460 AM or 107.7 FM) with Jason DaDay handling the play-by-play duties. FSU will also provide a live audio/video pay-per-view webcast via B2 Networks along with live internet statistics for the game. Visit the FSU Athletics Website at and click on internet event schedule for a complete list of all available links.

    Free Admission: Admission for Tuesday’s game will be free although all donations of canned goods to help the needy will be taken at the door. The free admission is part of FSU’s “Fan Appreciation” offer during the holiday season. There will also be no admission charged for Ferris’ two other remaining men’s non-league home games this year – vs. Grace Bible (Jan. 3) and against Kuyper (Jan. 5) along with the women’s outing vs. Marygrove (Dec. 29) during the holiday season.

    Ticket Info: Tickets for all 11 of Ferris’ 2008-09 GLIAC home basketball doubleheaders are available at the door starting one hour prior to tipoff. All single-game general admission ticket prices are $7. FSU students are admitted free with ID. Call (231) 591-2860 for more info on home ticket sales.

    About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 12,578. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich.

    Last Time Out: The home court was not kind Thursday (Nov. 20) night as the Bulldogs dropped a 78-63 decision to St. Joseph's (Ind.) in their 2008-09 home opener at Wink Arena. The visiting Pumas bolted out to a 46-33 halftime edge by shooting 46% (17-37) in the opening frame and limiting the homestanding Bulldogs to only a 30.6% (11-36) effort in the initial half. Ferris managed to trim a 15-point St. Joseph's lead down to as little as seven points with 9:39 to go in the game, but the Pumas answered with a 8-0 run to put the game out of reach in the final six minutes. Sophomore forward/center Justin Keenan (Grand Rapids/Ottawa Hills) paced Ferris with a game-high 24 points, junior guard Josh Young (Ypsilanti) chipped in 11 points and sophomore guard Darien Gay (Detroit/Henry Ford) finished with 10 points for FSU.

    A Look At The Dawgs: The Bulldogs dropped a 72-57 road decision in its 2008-09 regular-season opener to preseason nationally-ranked Northern Kentucky (Nov. 15) in Highland Heights, Ky. Ferris previously won both of its exhibition games this season with two home wins over Cornerstone (Oct. 30) and Calvin (Nov. 11). FSU topped Cornerstone 74-73 before beating longtime rival Calvin by a 80-66 count inside Jim Wink Arena.

    The Rankings: The Bulldogs received 18 points and were listed second among other teams receiving votes in the 2008-09 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Preseason National Poll (Oct. 30). Northern Kentucky was listed sixth in the NABC poll along with being the nation’s preseson number four team in the Division II Bulletin Rankings entering last Saturday’s initial game.

    Last Season: Ferris posted a 10-19 overall record and was 5-13 in GLIAC play with nine freshmen in the program during the 2007-08 season. FSU previously advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament in both 2004-05 and 2005-06 after claiming back-to-back league titles in 2003-04 and 2004-05. The Bulldogs also reached the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2004-05.

    Welcome Back: The Bulldogs welcome back eight letterwinners and four starters from last season’s squad. FSU has two seniors who will play this year in forwards Mark Gildersleeve (Byron Center) and Jason Holder (Saginaw/Arthur Hill). Justin Keenan was the squad’s leading scorer (16.9 ppg.) and rebounder (6.9 rpg.) last season.

    New To Campus: The Bulldogs have seven newcomers on this season’s roster, including five transfers and two freshmen. Three of the transfer players are from the junior college ranks. The two exceptions are Central Michigan senior transfer Jon Yeazel (Middleville/Thornapple-Kellogg) and junior guard/forward Austin Randel (Lake City/McBain). Yeazel will redshirt this season. Randel averaged a team-high 20.7 points while starting all 27 contests at NCAA-II North Greenville (S.C.) last campaign.

    Head Coach Bill Sall: A 1994 Calvin graduate, seventh-year FSU head coach Bill Sall previously held assistant coaching positions at Calvin (1992-95), Ferris State (1995-98) and Hillsdale (1998-02) prior to being named Ferris State’s 11th head coach. The Zeeland, Mich., native served as Ferris’ interim head coach for a portion of the 1995-96 campaign and led the Bulldogs to a 5-8 mark. Before joining the coaching ranks, Sall was a standout player at Calvin from 1985-90. He twice (1989-90) received second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III All-America honors and led Calvin to three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAA) championships, four NCAA-III Tournament bids and the 1990 NCAA-III Final Four. Sall has a current 92-96 (.489) career mark.

    Worth Noting: Ferris State notched its sixth-straight 10-plus win campaign in 2007-08. Prior to the current stretch under seventh-year head coach Bill Sall, the Bulldogs had not won more than eight games in the previous four seasons.

    B2 Broadband Webcasts: A live broadband video and audio webcast will be available via B2 Networks for all of FSU’s home games and selected road contests this season. The cost is $6 per game and includes live video along with a radio audio feed. To access the service or obtain more info, please visit the FSU Athletics Website at

    Live Internet Stats: “Live Stats” of all 2008-09 Ferris State home games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at and click the “Live Stats” icon to access.

    GLIAC Games On The Air: All 22 of FSU’s 2008-09 league games are tentatively slated to be carried live by local radio station WBRN (News Talk 1460 AM or 107.7 FM). FSU Assistant Athletics Communications Director Rob Bentley will once again call the play-by-play action on the road while Jason DaDay will be the on-air talent for home games. The audio from road contests can also be accessed live via the internet by clicking on the Bulldog Athletics Webcasts icon at

    On The Internet: Ferris State University Athletics’ official web site can be found at The site features information on all FSU varsity programs including rosters, stats, yearbooks and more.

    What A Change: The Bulldogs had posted only a 21-82 (.204) mark in the four seasons prior to head coach Bill Sall's arrival, but have since went 87-88 (.497) and claimed two divisional titles while making two NCAA-II Tournament appearances in his six previous seasons at the helm. FSU won only four games (4-22) the year before Sall arrived in 2001-02.

    The Bulldog Tradition: The 2008-09 campaign marks the 81st season of Bulldog men’s basketball. The program began in 1925 although Ferris did not field a team from 1942-45 due to World War II. FSU has compiled a 954-895 (.516) all-time mark. The Bulldogs have won 11 GLIAC titles, made eight NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and reached the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris captured a league-record four consecutive GLIAC titles from 1986-90.

    The Bulldog Roster: Ferris’ current 2008-09 roster includes three seniors, four juniors, five sophomores and three freshmen. Eight of the 15 players are guards while the remaining seven are frontcourt players. Fourteen of the 15 players on the Bulldogs’ 2008-09 roster hail from Michigan with one from Ohio.

    Coming Up Next: The Bulldogs will open GLIAC action by visiting archrival Grand Valley State on Monday, Dec. 1. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. (EST) following the women’s game in Allendale, Mich.

    Good Start For Keenan: FSU’s Justin Keenan is averaging 21.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in his two exhibition games and two regular-season outings thus far this season. Keenan has tallied 87 points and 35 boards in the four combined games with two double-double efforts and two games with 24 or more points.

    Great Future: Nine freshmen played for FSU last year as the roster featured only three uppperclassmen and one senior. Ferris’ freshman class accounted for 1,567 of the squad’s 1,936 total points (81%) last season. Additionally, 779 of FSU’s 1,037 total rebounds (75%) last year came from rookie players.

    FSU Picked Fifth: Ferris State was picked to finish fifth in the 2008-09 GLIAC Men's Basketball North Division Preseason Poll, which was announced during the league's second annual media day teleconference (Oct. 30) held this season. The poll was chosen by selected members of the media and the GLIAC's Sports Information Directors. The 30-member group tabbed Grand Valley State and Findlay to win the conference's North and South Division titles, respectively. The Bulldogs totaled 69 points in the balloting while finishing fifth in the North Division.

    Preseason All-GLIAC: FSU’s Justin Keenan, who averaged 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest in his initial collegiate season a year ago, was one of five players named to the Preseason All-GLIAC North Division squad in voting by the league’s member head coaches. Five players were also named to the South Division team with Findlay’s Josh Bostic earning GLIAC Preseason Player of the Year laurels.

    Statistics Leaders: Ferris led the GLIAC in offensive rebounds (13.24 pg.) for all games last year ...... FSU ranked fourth in rebound margin (+3.0) ...... Justin Keenan was listed ninth in the GLIAC in scoring (16.9 ppg) along with 10th in rebounding (6.9 rpg) in 2007-08. He was also listed second in offensive rebounds (3.45 pg.). FSU sophomore forward Lou Williams (Muskegon Heights) ranked fifth in blocked shots (1.46 bpg.) ...... Keenan had the second-highest scoring and rebounding averages of any GLIAC freshmen last campaign.

    Bulldog Bites: FSU’s Justin Keenan reached double-figure scoring in 26 of 29 outings last campaign and netted six double-double (points & rebounds) efforts. He also scored 20 points or more eight times .......... Ferris State’s 2008-09 league home opener is against Hillsdale on Saturday, Dec. 13, starting at 3 p.m. (EST) in Wink Arena. The Bulldogs will host the nation’s top preseason-ranked squad the following day (Dec. 14) as Findlay visits FSU for a special Sunday afternoon league matchup starting at 4 p.m. (EST).

    To The Stripe: FSU’s Justin Keenan attempted 24 more free throws than any other GLIAC player last campaign. Keenan, who ranked ninth in free throw percentage among the GLIAC leaders, converted 167 of 212 (.788) attempts last year. Keenan had 52 more attempts than any player found among the top 15 league leaders in free throw percentage. Until the final week of the season, Keenan had made more free throws than any other conference player had attempted.

    Odds & Ends: Ferris State has posted 38 winning campaigns and 43 non-losing seasons in its previous 80 seasons ........ FSU will play 15 regular-season home games this campaign inside Jim Wink Arena ....... The Bulldogs own a current 57-52 (.523) overall record in Jim Wink Arena, which opened in the 1999-00 season. This year marks the team’s 10th season in the 2,400-seat facility ....... Ferris tallied seven blocked shots in Thursday’s game against St. Joseph’s, which was only four shy of tying the school single-game record of 11 swats recorded in 2001 (1/22) against Grand Valley State. Six different players had a blocked shot in the game for the Bulldogs.

    Coaching Staff: FSU head coach Bill Sall returns his coaching staff intact from a year ago, including top assistant coach Cory Anderson. Anderson, who played for Ferris from 1996-98, is in his 10th season as a full-time assistant. Volunteer Assistant Coach Bill Killian also returns for his seventh season on Sall’s staff. Longtime West Michigan high school coach Dave Schlump, who formerly coached at Cedar Springs (Mich.), will be in his fifth campaign as a volunteer assistant for the Bulldogs while former Cornerstone University standout Andy Bronkema, who teaches at Big Rapids’ Crossroads Charter Academy, is in his second season as a volunteer assistant at FSU.

    Scouting The Comets: The Comets are currently 2-1 overall this season after beating Andrews University 72-49 in the consolation game of its own Gary Morrison Tournament on Saturday (Nov. 22) at the Cutler Events Center in Olivet, Mich. Brandon McClary and Michael McClary lead the team with scoring averages of 17 points and 14 points per game, respectively. Both are also pulling down more than 10 rebounds a contest for second-year head coach Gene Gifford’s team. The two brothers were both All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Second Team selections last year as the Comets tied for fifth place in the league standings. Olivet was 9-16 overall last season and 5-9 in the MIAA. Gifford formerly was the coach at Muskegon CC.

    Series Information: The Bulldogs own a 14-11 all-time series’ advantage against the Comets. The series dates back to 1946-47 when Olivet recorded a 61-47 triumph in the first-ever meeting. Ferris recorded a 109-85 victory in the most recent game during the 2002-03 campaign at Olivet. FSU owns a 1-0 advantage under head coach Bill Sall and has won four consecutive matchups against the Comets to date.