Falling short

Kelser’s 31 points not enough as Bulldogs fall to Purdue Northwest

Despite receiving 31 points from senior guard Walt Kelser, Ferris lost to Purdue Northwest 80-77.

This was the third game of the season that Kelser scored more than 30 points, but the first time Ferris failed to record a victory in such games.

Ferris’ game against Purdue Northwest Saturday, Feb. 20 was their second matchup against the Pride. On Friday, Feb. 19, the Bulldogs won 89-75.

On Saturday, Ferris got 13 points from Kelser in the first half and 10 more from junior forward Mason Pline. Both Kelser and Pline went 2-of-5 from the three-point line in the half.

Pline beat the first half buzzer with his second three pointer of the half and gave his Bulldogs a 38-37 lead. Despite leading at halftime, the Bulldogs found themselves down three points with five seconds remaining in the game but could not beat the buzzer again, as sophomore guard Ben Davidson missed the game-tying three point try.

Purdue Northwest took their first lead of the afternoon with three minutes to play in the first half. Freshman guard Jimmy Scholler drove the length of the floor and tied the game 32-32 with a layup for the Bulldogs. Purdue Northwest reclaimed the lead with a three-pointer, but Pline answered with a three-pointer of his own to keep the game tied 35-35.

With five seconds remaining in the first half and the game tied at 35, Purdue Northwest got an offensive rebound which led to a layup, giving them a 37-35 lead. Ferris quickly got the ball down the floor and Kelser was fouled with one second left. Pline drilled a buzzer beater three off the inbound pass to give the Bulldogs a 38-37 lead at halftime.

Ferris went on a 7-0 run to start the second half. Kelser hit a three and a layup, while sophomore forward Vejas Grazulis scored a layup as well.

Pline was called for a flagrant foul with 15 minutes to play in the half. Purdue Northwest hit both free throws, making the score 48-45 in favor of Ferris. On their next possession, Purdue Northwest hit a three-pointer and tied the game at 48 with 14 minutes to play.

Both teams were in the double bonus with nine minutes remaining in the second half, resulting in 29 attempts from the free throw line for Ferris and 20 for Purdue Northwest. Ferris made 21 of their 29 tries and Purdue Northwest made 15 of their 20.

Purdue Northwest went on a 23-12 run and led 71-60 with six minutes to play. With 35 seconds left, senior guard Michael Peterson converted a three-point play to cut the lead to three at 80-77.

Ferris’ defense kept Purdue Northwest from scoring on their final offensive possession and had a chance to send the game to overtime with another buzzer beater three-pointer, but Davidson missed the shot.

“I honestly feel like I let the team down,” Davidson said. “Big time players make that shot and I want to be able to take and make that shot. I took the shot with confidence and I missed. Next time I take it, hopefully, I will make it.”

Davidson acknowledged that the plan was not for him to take that final shot.

“We had a play called for Walt to come off a handoff, but I felt there wasn’t enough time, so I shot it,” Davidson said. “We were down three and I feel like I am a good three-point shooter.”

Head coach Andy Bronkema spoke about Davidson’s shot after the game.

“It wasn’t a bad shot, but it wasn’t the one we asked him to do,” Bronkema said. “I didn’t want to call another timeout and have them set up their defense. We just need to execute what we ask our guys to do. No fault to Ben, he put his heart on the line.”

With the victory, the Pride notched their first ever win against the Bulldogs. They got 26 points and 16 rebounds from Vincent Miszkiewicz.

For the game, Davidson finished with 12 points. Pline contributed 10, and no other Bulldog beside Kelser scored in double digits.

Ferris was outrebounded 46-30. In the Bulldogs’ victory Friday, Feb. 19 against Purdue Northwest, Ferris won the rebounding battle 42-24.

“We got out competed,” Bronkema said. “They reversed the rebounds on us. That’s why we won the last game and it’s why we lost this one.”

The Bulldogs will next take the court at Wayne State on Friday, Feb. 26 and Saturday, Feb. 27.