Ferris State won the team’s first exhibition game against Aquinas with Preseason Division II Player of the Year Justin Keenan leading the way for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs are selected to finish second in the preseason polls for the GLIAC North Division under nationally ranked No. 9 Grand Valley State. The south division of the GLIAC holds nationally ranked No. 2 Findlay. Coach Bill Sall said he thinks the GLIAC North Division will be very competitive and that it is too early to judge the Bulldogs by just polls.
“As a team we’re really excited to take on a chase for the GLIAC title,” said Sall.
Senior forward Keenan posted a double-double in his 24 points and 10 rebounds effort that helped the Bulldogs win 69-39 against Aquinas. Keenan was picked as a preseason player of the year. Keenan won the GLIAC Player of the Year award last year for his 2009-10 season performance.
Also assisting the Bulldogs was sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin who dropped 18 points in Aquinas’ new $12 million dollar Stirrus Sports and Fitness Center. The Bulldogs played 13 different players with nine seeing 13 minutes or more. Seven returning letter-winners and six newcomers were the players seeing action for the Bulldogs on Oct. 28.
“The more that Keenan can create double and triple teams, the more available and open our other guys will be and that’s what we’re striving for,” said Sall.
The Bulldogs’ defense forced Aquinas to shoot 22.6 percent from the field and left Aquinas with no three point presence, playing tough perimeter defense that led to 0-14 shooting behind the arc for Aquinas. The Bulldogs also forced 16 turnovers. Ferris also came up with ten steals and five blocks. The Bulldogs turned the ball over only ten times.
Ferris crashed the boards against Aquinas, holding a 55-40 rebounding advantage over Aquinas. The Bulldogs pulled down 18 offensive rebounds compared to the Saints’ nine. With the help of offensive rebounding, the Bulldogs produced a 15-6 advantage in second chance opportunities. Ferris outscored the Saints in the paint 34-16.
“I think we have good depth everywhere this year and I think that will really help us continue to be competitive,” said Sall.
Ferris could not hold dominance from the charity stripe, hitting only 12 of 23 from the free throw line, while the Saints sank 15-20 free throws.
This is the second consecutive year the two teams matched up. Last season Ferris defeated Aquinas 66-56.
Ferris will next be heading to Bloomington, Ind. to take on the Indiana Hoosiers for their last preseason game. The Hoosiers are one of the most successful college basketball programs in the nation.
Tipoff will be set for 7 p.m on Nov. 8. The Bulldogs will then start their regular season against Calvin College Nov. 13 in the Jim Wink Area at 7:30 p.m. n