Ferris State men hold off Michigan Tech to clinch GLIAC crown

TIGHT D: Ferris Greg Williams (15) keeps a defensive eye on Michigan Tech’s Tommy Lucca. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

TIGHT D: Ferris Greg Williams (15) keeps a defensive eye on Michigan Tech’s Tommy Lucca. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — It was expected to go down to the wire when Ferris State University and Michigan Tech’s men’s basketball teams went at it on Saturday.

It did, but the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference North Division champions prevailed in a 81-76 win over the Huskies at Wink Arena.

FSU (23-4, 17-3) clinched the division outright and now has secured the best record in the league.

Quentin Ruff, the team’s only senior, scored 20 points, while Drew Cushingberry added 15 points and six assists and Zach Hankins had 13 points and 20 rebounds.

“We were able to stop them better in 3-pointers,” FSU guard Peter Firlik said. “The last time they hurt us.”

MTU (14-13, 12-8) was 8-of-20 in 3-pointers on Saturday. In the first game at Michigan Tech between the two teams in a 77-76 Ferris win, the Huskies were 11-of-19.

“We came out with a lot energy,” redshirt freshman Greg Williams said. “Coach talks about coming out with energy and playing harder than the other team. We have talent and we know the only thing we can control is how hard we work. If we rebound, defend and provide a lot of energy, we have a good chance of winning every game.”

It was 40-33 at halftime. Drew Cushingberry was 5-of-6 from the floor and had 11 points in the first half for the Bulldogs. Ruff was 3-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-3 in 3-pointers for eight points while Hankins was 3-of-3 and had seven points.

Bryan Heath and Kyle Monroe combined for 25 of Tech’s first-half points.

The Huskies opened the second half with an 8-2 run. FSU later gained control, but two straight triples gave the Huskies a 51-50 lead at 10:59.

Ferris regained the lead as the donnybrook continued. Ruff’s 3-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 60-55 lead at 7:39, and Noah King’s triple made it an 8-point game seconds later. Cushingberry’s toss to Hankins went for a one-handed dunk and 69-64 lead at 2:40. Hankins hit two free throws at 1:01 for a 73-66 lead. Firlik grabbed the rebound at the other end and hit two free throws for a 75-66 bulge.

Jordan Chartier’s 3-pointer at the other end kept the Huskies alive. Ruff hit two free throws with 35 seconds left. MTU scored again and Cushingberry hit a free throw at the other end. Jason Hawkes’ triple cut it to 78-74 with 22 seconds remaining. Mayfield grabbed a defense rebound with five seconds remaining to close out the win.

Chartier had 28 points for MTU, while Monroe added 23.

“It’s been our defense, rebounding and
running transition,” Williams said, and “going out and giving it our all.”

FSU has its regular-season home finale Thursday with Grand Valley.

“We just have to be practicing hard and playing hard,” Firlik said. “We need to keep playing fast, play uptempo and keep out-rebounding teams and I think we’ll be great.”

Ferris also has secured the best record in the entire GLIAC. The Bulldogs will host a first-round league tournament game on Feb 28. If they win, they would host the league finals March 4-5.

Michigan Tech 74, Ferris 64 (women)

Rachel McInerney had 20 points and eight rebounds for Ferris State (5-21, 4-16), while Alexis Bush and Leah Hume added 12 points apiece in the loss to Michigan Tech (18-7, 14-6) on Saturday at Wink Arena.

Kelly Guy, Brenna Heise, Elizabeth Kelliher and Lindsay Winter scored 13 points for MTU.

FSU ends its season at home against Grand Valley on Thursday.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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