FSU men’s basketball wins on last-second shot

Bulldogs beat Britons on buzzer-beater in nonconference play

BIG RAPIDS — Second-year Ferris State men’s basketball coach Andy Bronkema knew that the last-second full-court inbound play his squad practices would come in handy, he just didn’t know when.

Bronkema has that answer now, as the Bulldogs traveled the full length of the court in 2.2 seconds to set up junior guard Jibreel Jackson for a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat the Albion Britons, 54-52, on Saturday night at Jim Wink Arena.

ALLEY-OOP: Ferris State center Jared Stolicker (20) finishes an alley-oop dunk for the Bulldogs against Albion on Saturday at Jim Wink Arena. The Bulldogs won, 54-52. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

ALLEY-OOP: Ferris State center Jared Stolicker (20) finishes an alley-oop dunk for the Bulldogs against Albion on Saturday at Jim Wink Arena. The Bulldogs won, 54-52. (Pioneer photo/Brady Kenniston)

“I knew eventually it would win us a game, I didn’t know if that’s 10 years from now, but I knew it would win us a game,” Bronkema said. “They made it. Perfect pass, perfect catch, another perfect pass and they let it fly and it rolled in there.”

Albion, a Division III school that plays in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association, gave the Bulldogs all they could handle in the early going as the Bulldogs got off to a slow start.

It didn’t matter where the Bulldogs were shooting from, shots just weren’t falling for the home team as they shot just 5-for-33 from the field in the opening half as the Britons took a 34-18 lead into the break. The Bulldogs didn’t score for the final five minutes of the half as they went into the locker room with a big deficit.

The Bulldogs looked like a completely different team to start the second half, converting high-percentage opportunities from the field as they started off with an easy layup.

The home team kept things rolling on both ends of the floor, with junior center Jared Stolicker racking up six points and five rebounds in the opening six minutes of the half as the Bulldogs held the Britons scoreless for the first eight minutes of the second stanza.

With the long scoring drought for the Britons, the Bulldogs took the lead for the first time since early in the first half at 35-34 as FSU senior guard Dietrich Lever found junior forward Josh Fleming down low with 12:08 to play.

The Britons finally got on the board and found some offense, taking the lead and pushing it to six at 43-37, but each side traded triples with junior forward James Chappell and Lever knocking down treys for the Bulldogs before Stolicker finished a backdoor alley-oop with an emphatic dunk as the momentum started to shift in favor of the Bulldogs.

“I was just ready to win it and momentum got going our way and we turned the tides really quick,” Stolicker said. “It wasn’t all me. My teammates were doing a good job recognizing a mismatch in the post and finding me when they drove and I found open spots.”

Each side traded leads from there, with the Britons taking a three-point advantage late in the contest.

The Bulldogs got another bucket and senior guard Drew Lehman had a run at the hoop with 10 seconds left and a one-point deficit, but he wasn’t able to convert with a lot of contact in the paint as the Bulldogs were forced to foul with just 2.2 seconds left in the game.

Albion missed the one-and-one free throw and the Bulldogs got the rebound and immediately called a timeout, giving Bronkema some time to draw up the full-court game-winning play.

“It’s a play we work on all the time, so I just said ‘Run it,’” Bronkema said. “We told them the play, drew it up and put them in position.”

The Bulldog inbound pass went all the way to Chappell at halfcourt and Chappell sent it immediately to Jackson at the 3-point line on the left wing and Jackson cashed in from long distrance to seal the 54-52 nonconference win.

“I have mixed emotions,” Bronkema said. “You can’t play perfect every game and teams that can win the ones that are ugly and grind it out, there’s something special about those teams, so that is one takeaway that is very positive for our team.”

Stolicker had 11 points and 18 rebounds in the win while Chappell chipped in 12 points and Fleming, Lehman and Drew Cushingberry all added six points apiece.

“(The comeback win) makes us a lot tougher,” Stolicker said. “You’ve got to learn to win in any situation. We’ve had some big leads, now we had to learn how to come back and win these ones.”

The Bulldogs (3-2, 0-0 GLIAC) kick off Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action at Lake Erie on
Thursday.

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