The men’s basketball will have some work cut out for them this week in the GLIAC tournament.
Ferris men’s basketball landed the fourth seed in the GLIAC tournament with a first-round bye as they head to Indiana.
The journey to this tournament was more challenging than other years due to COVID-19. Several games have either been postponed or cancelled due to the protocols, and to make up for the cancelled games, every team makes the GLIAC tournament this year due to the pandemic. With the bye heading into the postseason tournament, the Bulldogs have the extra advantage of rest.
To end the regular season, the Bulldogs faced off against Wayne State University, who is currently slated to be the No. 1 seed heading into the GLIAC tournament.
The team showed some of their potential as they were able to split the pair of games against the Warriors, with an 84 – 71 win on Friday in Detroit, before falling in a close battle 70 – 68.
As the regular season played out differently for the GLIAC within conference-only games the Bulldogs finished with a 9 – 10 record and was .500 in conference play. Ferris scored over 1200 points in the full 19 games played with just under 1100 of those points coming from conference action. When playing away from Jim Wink Arena the Bulldogs are 5 – 6 on the road compared to having a record of 4 – 4 at home.
Senior wing Michael Peterson said that it’s nice for the team to have a bye week because playing three games in four days is tough. This bye will also allow for the team to gain extra preparation time for their first round of the GLIAC tournament.
“We’ve been playing pretty well just by playing hard and connected. Our mentality pretty much stays the same,” Peterson said. “Our focus level had to rise up a notch, however.”
Peterson has been a key player for the Bulldogs this season, being the teams second leading scorer with 9.2 points per game to go along with leading the team in rebounds with 6.7 per game.
In the 19 regular-season games, the Bulldogs tallied 68.2 points per game with a team field goal average of 42.1%. While the field goal percentage looks low, the main problem is the Bulldogs’ three-point shooting as the team has made 28.5% of their shots from behind the arc. As the offensive struggles illume the Bulldogs their strength comes on the defensive end.
Rebounds and holding opposing teams under .500 shooting percentages have helped the Bulldogs chase another NCAA tournament run. Ferris has grabbed an average of 35.2 rebounds per game with 25.3 on the defensive side. The Bulldogs as well average 6.1 steals per game and block 4.3 shots per game. As Ferris continues to play tough holding opponents to 70.1 points per game and only allowing 45.6% of shots to go in.
In order to make a deep run into the GLIAC tournament, the Bulldogs have to find a strong offensive groove while they continue to play tough defense both physically and mentally. They will also need to clean up their turnover ratio as they allow 12.2 turnovers per game. As the Bulldogs gear up to face Ashland in the first round, they will look forward to a tough competitor.
Earlier in the season, both teams faced off in Ohio where they split the two road games. The Eagles had an impressive 74 – 52 win over the Bulldogs the first time around, however, Ferris turned things around the next day with a 69 – 68 win to cause the road split.
Ferris State is set to face fifth-seeded Ashland on Thursday, March 4 with a 3:15 p.m. scheduled tip-off of the GLIAC quarterfinals in Hammond, Indianapolis.