The first of the Ferris State men’s basketball games this week ended up in double overtime against one of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) North powers in Wayne State.
Wayne State came into the game with a spotless 11-0 league record and atop of the GLIAC North standings, with the Bulldogs in fourth place and a 7-5 record in the conference.
The Bulldogs came out ready to play and even though it was a slow paced first half, Ferris extended the lead to a six-point advantage, with 30-24 at the end of the first half.
The second half involved more back and forth play, which put Ferris in the lead by four with only 33 seconds remaining. With two quick baskets by the Warriors, the game was tied 55-55 with only 11 seconds remaining. The Bulldogs would fail to win the game in regulation, which forced overtime.
Senior guard Kenny Brown, who was honored during pre-game for becoming the program’s 26th all-time player to score 1,000 points, hit a game-tying baseline jump shot with 2.8 seconds remaining in overtime to force a second extra period with the score tied 63-63.
Free throws would eventually wrap up the victory for the Bulldogs, as they hit nine of them in the double overtime frame, securing the win against the conference’s best 72-68 in thrilling fashion.
“It felt great; it was such a hard fought game,” Ferris sophomore guard Dietrich Lever said. “They were undefeated going into that game and the momentum from [Brown’s] shot carried over.”
Ferris sophomore forward Trent Messer carried the team by nabbing a career-high 13 rebounds, while sophomore guard Drew Lehman also added 13 points to assist the Bulldogs in beating the Warriors.
“When [Brown] made the shot to tie it in the first overtime, the crowd went insane! I have never heard Wink louder than that,” Tyler Hanson, Ferris sophomore in mechanical engineeringing, said.
The victory gave Ferris its seventh straight victory at home, and the Bulldogs have now won 33 of their last 41 inside Jim Wink Arena.
Following the thrilling victory against the GLIAC’s last undefeated team, the Bulldogs had another task on hand as they traveled to Jan. 26, Saginaw Valley State for a road match-up against the Cardinals.
Another thrilling game for the Bulldogs, it was 47-47 until Brown drained a three-point shot with under a second remaining.
“We exploded when Kenny made that shot; we had just played in an overtime game so we didn’t want to play in another one and it was just another tough win for us,” Lever said.
Brown’s last-second three- point shot gave him 15 points on the night which was a game high for both teams. Lehman’s 13 points and senior forward Daniel Sutherlin’s 12 points also aided the team in getting a tough victory on the road.
These two victories improve Ferris to 10-8 on the year with a 9-5 GLIAC conference record, which is good enough for fourth place in the gauntlet that is the GLIAC North.
“Our goal for the rest of the year is to win the North Division and make it three years in a row and win the GLIAC tournament and do anything at all costs to make it to the NCAA tournament,” Lever said.
Next the Bulldogs match-up against arch rival Grand Valley State Feb. 2 at Wink Arena.