Ferris State advances to regional final
Bulldogs will face top-seeded host Bellarmine on Tuesday
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ferris State advanced to the NCAA Division II Midwest regional championship game and the Division II Sweet Sixteen with an 83-76 victory against Drury in the regional semifinals on Sunday evening at Knights Hall.
The Bulldogs will face top-seeded host Bellarmine (Ky.) in Tuesday's regional title game after the Knights topped fourth-seeded Northern Kentucky.
The winner of the regional championship game will move on to the NCAA DII Elite Eight set for March 22-25 in Springfield, Mass.
Ferris State improved to 24-7 overall by avenging an earlier setback to Drury in late November at the Owensboro Classic.
The Bulldogs used a strong first half to grab a 46-35 advantage at the break and then built the lead to as many as 18 points with 16:20 to play. The Panthers stormed back and took a four-point lead of their own with 8:08 to go before Ferris responded and made some critical free throws down the stretch to pull out the win.
The sixth-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the regional title game for the first time since reaching the Sweet Sixteen in 2005.
Sophomore guard Kenny Brown was 6-for-12 from three-point land, scoring a team-high 22 points following a 27-point effort in Saturday's semifinal victory against Wayne State.
FSU also received 19 points and nine boards from senior forward/center Justin Keenan to go with 12 points each from senior guard Darien Gay and sophomore forward Daniel Sutherlin. The 6'5" Sutherlin also hauled in seven boards. including some crucial rebounds down the stretch.
Junior guard Dontae Molden handed out seven assists while FSU also garnered seven points each from both senior forward Lou Williams and senior guard/forward Matt DeHart.
Ferris shot 47.2 percent (25-53) from the field, including 55.2 percent (16-29) figure in the first half. The Bulldogs made 10-of-23 three-point shots in the win.
Meanwhile, Drury was paced by Dennon Mitchell's game-high 24 points. Brandon Lockhart added 18 points, Jajuan Maxwell totaled 14 points and 12 rebounds while Alex Hall had 11 points.
The Panthers did own a slim 36-33 rebounding edge, but Ferris grabbed 10 offensive boards and held a 19-9 advantage in second-chance scoring. Ferris also came up with nine steals, including three from Sutherlin.
The Bulldogs forced 15 Panther miscues and owned a 17-13 margin in points off turnovers in a game that featured six lead changes. Sutherlin also tallied two blocked shots.