Ferris beats SVSU 113-84 for 30th win of season

Ferris State’s Markese Mayfield (3) reaches for the ball during Wednesday’s GLIAC playoff game at Wink Arena. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

BIG RAPIDS — Ferris State was able to handle Saginaw Valley twice during the regular season and there wasn’t any reason for the Bulldogs not to do it again on Wednesday.

Ferris (30-1) the nation’s third-ranked NCAA Division II men’s basketball team, dusted off Saginaw Valley (12-17) in a Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game 113-84 on Wednesday at Wink Arena and will now host the league final four on Saturday and Sunday.

Ferris has won 18 straight.

The Bulldogs set a school record of 29 wins in 30-regular season games while garnering the GLIAC tourney’s No. 1 seed.

Two of those wins were over Saginaw Valley 81-45 and 107-83..

The Bulldogs shot 62.5 percent in the opening half and led 52-31 at halftime. FSU then shot even better at 65.7 percent on 23-of-35 shooting in the second half to cruise to a 29-point margin of victory over the Cardinals.

“We just came in and took care of business,” senior Noah King said. “Saginaw is a good team, but they’re real young. We had to use our experience in the GLIAC tournament and come in and get a win.”

Redshirt junior guard DeShaun Thrower led Ferris State with 20 points off the bench and shot 87.5 percent from the floor and 75 percent from beyond the arc in 22 minutes of action.

“They want to play up and down, so do we,” Ferris State coach

Andy Bronkema said. “That’s our style of play. They’re pretty good at it too. They presented some problems in the second half when they were knifing through us.”

Game No. 3 was more of the same with Ferris dominating from the start and leading by 21 at the break.

Ferris’ offensive production was coming in threes at times and Jaylin McFadden had a 3-point shot for 15-9 lead. It was 24-13 after D’angelo Hughes’ 3-point play. He followed that with a 3-point basket for a 30-13 advantage

Drew Cushingberry scored two straight baskets midway in the second half and the Bulldogs were up 86-57. Peter Firlik follow with a 3-pointer moments later. Hughes’ 3-pointer gave Ferris a 112-80 lead with 50 seconds to play.

“We’re playing (unselfish) basketball right now,” Bronkema said. “We’re sharing in and we’re playing hard. Up until the second half today, we were playing pretty good defense. You don’t feel that good but you don’t feel that bad either. It was the fourth time this season Ferris scored more than 100 points.

Ferris plays 3 p.m. at home in a GLIAC semifinal against Ashland. The title game is 3 p.m. on Sunday at Wink Arena.

“Playing 40 minutes of solid defense will be critical,” Bronkema said. “It’s the key for a lot of teams. It’s always the key. But doing it is the hard thing. There’s a lot of good players and coaches on the other side who make it difficult.

“More of the key is 40 minutes of focus. I can take mistakes. It’s a game of mistakes. But lack of energy and focus is something else. But I’m not trying to be mad about a playoff win. It’s great to win in the playoffs.”

Ferris 67, Michigan Tech 57 (women)

It was arguably Ferris State’s finest hour this season with a 10-point GLIAC quarterfinal semifinal stunning upset over Michigan Tech in Houghton.

The Bulldogs, 15-14, will play a semifinal game on Saturday. Michigan Tech, a league power, falls to 23-5. During the GLIAC season, Michigan Tech was 17-3 and Ferris 8-12. Tech slipped past Ferris 80-77 at Big Rapids in January. In February at MTU, the Huskies prevailed 80-63.

The Bulldogs had quarter leads of 14-12, 30-25 and 47-40 and outscored MTU 20-17 in the fourth.

Leah Humes had 19 points while Rachel McInerney had 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Ferris goes to Ashland for a 4 p.m. district final game against Grand Valley on Saturday.

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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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