Walker puts on a show in Ferris victory

Armani Tinsley (11) goes to the basket for Ferris.

BIG RAPIDS — Perhaps it was only fitting Cole Walker should hit the 3-pointer to put Ferris over the 100-point mark on Saturday.

The junior center had a personal career-best 35 points and lifted the Ferris State University men’s basketball squad to a dominating 104-78 triumph over visiting Wayne State on Saturday in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action at Jim Wink Arena.

Walker was 12-of-14 field goals and 9-of-10 from 3-point range. His nine threes matched the school single-game record originally set by Leon Larthridge back in 1991.

Ferris had 16 threes and tied the all-time mark set against Indianapolis in 2004 at Wink Arena.

Walker had 18 of his points in the opening half and Ferris had a 43-32 halftime lead.

“It was a real fun time,” Walker said. “I wasn’t missing, so I kept it going. We just need to keep playing as a team, keep sharing the ball and keep hitting our shots.”

Ferris was at 99 points when Walker’s triple but the Bulldogs over the century mark.

It was a huge game for the Ferris offense, which had 61 points in the second half. Senior center Taylor Adway notched 15 points while shooting six-of-10 overall. Senior forward Markese Mayfield had 13 points and freshman forward Mason Pline had 10 points.

For the afternoon, the Bulldogs shot 50.7 percent from the floor, including a sizzling 52 percent from the 3-point arc on 16-of-31 shooting. FSU also was 14-of-16 (87.5 percent) in free throws.

Karim Murray totaled 32 points and nine rebounds in 40 minutes of action for Wayne State.

FSU limited the Warriors to 39 percent shooting with WSU finishing only one-of-nine (11.1 percent) from deep distance and 27-of-31 (87.1 percent) at the line.

“We came out with a lot of energy and carried it into the rest of the game,” sophomore forward Michael Peterson said.

In the contest, Ferris State owned a 42-37 rebounding margin and pulled down 14 offensive caroms, leading to a 19-6 edge in second chance production.

“I was very happy we outrebounded them,” Ferris coach Andy Bronkema said. “We took care of the basketball. It turned into a shooting show. Defensively, I thought we let loose a little bit in the second half.”

The emphasis in the second half was “our effort was god enough but we needed to pick it up in a few areas,” Bronkema said. “We knew Wayne State would double up the enthusiasm and energy. We came out great.”

Ferris had 30 assists in the game, including six from senior guard DeShaun Thrower in addition to five from D’angelo Hughes and Armani Tinsley. Walker pulled down a team-high tying six rebounds along with Pline, Adway and sophomore Jaylin McFadden.

Ferris State avenged a 90-89 loss to Wayne State earlier in the season, and improved to 17-9 overall and 9-6 in the GLIAC.

“They got us the first time,” Thrower said. “The last couple of games, we have had a slow start. We came out fast today. It’s energy and defense. We have to get out in transition and play our game.”

Thrower didn’t start playing full-time for the team until last December after football season.

“The last couple of games were kind of down,” he said. “I think I’m getting there. “Once I get to hitting shots again, I’ll be all right.”

The Bulldogs had lost two straight games.

“The credit goes to them and their resiliency and character,” Bronkema said. “We coach character a lot. It’s something that’s important to us. It’s something we spend time with and spend time on. There’s a few more guys who are ready to explode. Hopefully we’ll see that in the next few days.”

FSU will host Northern Michigan on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. before entertaining Michigan Tech for Senior Day on Saturday at 3 p.m.

“We love to work,” Bronkema said. “We take confidence in our preparation and in our work. The day of the test Thursday and Saturday, we’ll see what we’ve got.”

 

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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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