After a successful December, the Ferris men’s basketball team has had a rough start to January.
Entering this month, the team had won five of six December contests, including taking first place at the 36th annual Porreco Cup Championship in Erie, Pa.
However, 2010 has not been a good year for the Bulldogs so far, as the team has dropped three straight games against conference opponents.
In the first match-up of 2010 for Ferris, the team suffered an 81-55 loss at the hands of GLIAC north division co-leader Lake Superior State during a home contest last Thursday.
Despite leading 29-28 at halftime, the Bulldogs could not increase the lead in the second half as the team shot only 27.3 percent from the field.
The Lakers had no problem putting points on the board, as the team shot an incredible 64 percent from the field and outscored Ferris 53-26 in the half to clinch the victory.
Coming off the tough loss to Lake Superior State, the Bulldogs looked to rebound against the Saginaw Valley State Cardinals at home on Saturday.
The Bulldogs maintained a lead for the majority of the half and headed into halftime with a 37-32 advantage. In the second half, both teams traded buckets as the lead changed six times in the first 11 minutes.
The Cardinals pulled away late in the game, as Saginaw Valley went on to outscore Ferris 21-8 in the final 4:52 to come out on top, 86-72.
Even with Ferris having four players with double-digit scoring nights, the downfall came from foul trouble as the team was whistled for 29 personal fouls, while Saginaw Valley committed only 16. Head coach Bill Sall attributed many of the fouls to poor positioning.
“A couple of those fouls could have gone either way,” said Sall. “But we were just out of position so much and most of the calls were a direct result of that.”
Senior guard Josh Young scored 19 points and junior guard Darien Gay scored 15 points on five three-pointers for the Bulldogs.
After losing to the Cardinals, Ferris had little time to recover as the team headed to Allendale to take on rival Grand Valley State on Monday.
The Bulldogs got off to a rough start in the first half, as they committed eight turnovers while allowing the Lakers to shoot 51.6 percent from the field. The team headed into halftime trailing Grand Valley 41-23.
Ferris battled back early in the second half, as the team skimmed the lead to eight points with 14:35 left in the game.
The Bulldogs could not close the gap as Grand Valley held on down the stretch for an 80-68 victory, avenging the conference-opening 61-47 loss in Big Rapids earlier in the season.
The majority of the Bulldogs’ points came from junior forward/center Justin Keenan and senior guard Jon Yeazel, who posted 23 and 21 points respectively.
With the current string of losses plunging Ferris to 6-7 overall and 4-4 in conference play, Sall knows the next few games will be crucial to the way the rest of the season shapes up.
“At this time of the year, you can’t just fix things in practice,” said Sall. “We’re going to have to rebound mentally because this is gut-check time.”
The team will continue play on the road this week with a matchup at Tiffin University tomorrow and will finish the road trip against Ashland on Saturday.