Bulldogs fight to the wire in loss to LSSU

FSU men drop another close game with 75-70 loss to LSSU

BIG RAPIDS — The free throw can make or break a game and it broke the Ferris State men’s basketball team Saturday in a 75-70 loss to No. 23 Lake Superior State.

ON THE LOOKOUT:  Ferris State’s Drew Lehman (left) surveys the defense with a Lake Superior State defender guarding him during Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) men’s basketball action at Jim Wink Arena on Saturday. The Bulldogs suffered their seventh-straight loss with a 75-70 setback to LSSU. (Pioneer photo/Kristopher Lodes)

ON THE LOOKOUT: Ferris State’s Drew Lehman (left) surveys the defense with a Lake Superior State defender guarding him during Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) men’s basketball action at Jim Wink Arena on Saturday. The Bulldogs suffered their seventh-straight loss with a 75-70 setback to LSSU. (Pioneer photo/Kristopher Lodes)

In the first half, the Bulldogs (6-10, 5-7 GLIAC) got to the line 18 times and shot an outstanding 88.9 percent, but in the second half, they got there 23 times only to connect on 47.8 percent of their attempts.

Combined, the team went 27-of-41 from the free throw line, coming out to 65.9 percent. That was costly when the game came down to its final minutes.

“We didn’t make enough free throws and if we did we would’ve won,” said Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema. “We’ve got players who can attack and we won the free throw line, we just couldn’t make enough. We got there, we just need to make more.”

Even though they missed 14 free throws, the Bulldogs battled to end against the No. 23 team in the nation and first-place team in the GLIAC.

The Lakers (17-3, 9-3 GLIAC) dominated the low post with forward Cameron Metz scoring 25 points and bringing down 11 rebounds. Fellow forward Jake Blake also finished with a double-double, scoring 11 points and bringing down 12 rebounds.

“(Metz) is senior, a veteran and the leading scorer among (centers),” Bronkema said. “He’s a real good player.”

Metz was strong, but his aggressiveness cost him as he got in foul trouble and eventually fouled out of the game.

Sophomore forward Jared Stolicker was assigned to guard Metz. Stolicker had the height advantage at 6-foot-10 to Metz’s 6-foot-6, but Metz had the strength with 20 pounds on Stolicker.

“He’s a tough guy to guard, he’s a brute out there,” Stolicker said. “He’s pure muscle and I’m skin and bones. It’s a tough matchup and we tried our best, but he won the battle (Saturday).”

Stolicker didn’t back down despite the size disadvantage, in fact he used the height advantage to come away with 14 points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

“I don’t play well unless the guys get me the ball,” Stolicker said. “It was all them and when we get the ball inside everything else works out. It has been our emphasis, getting the ball inside and it just worked out.”

The Bulldogs are in the midst of a seven-game losing streak which is coming off the tail of a six-game winning streak.

In the last three games, the Bulldogs have lost on the road at Northern Michigan and at home against Northwood, the second-place team in the GLIAC North, and first-place LSSU by a combined eight points.

Ferris State is back at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Detroit at Wayne State, who is a game ahead of the Bulldogs in the GLIAC North standings.

Bronkema had a simple remedy that the Bulldogs need to do in order to shake the recent skid.

“Make more shots,” he said.

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Posted by Kris Lodes

Kris is a freelance contributor for the sports department at the Pioneer. He specializes in prep sports coverage in Mecosta and Osceola counties. He can be reached at klodes@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231)592-8363.

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