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One Tough Minute

Daniel Sutherlin shows heart in final appearance during Senior Day

by Published: Feb 27, 2013

Planning a Move: Ferris guard Kenny Brown holds the ball against Saginaw Valley State. Brown made 17 points in the Bulldogs’ final home game loss against the Cardinals, 75-67. Photo By: Tori Thomas | Photographer

Planning a Move: Ferris guard Kenny Brown holds the ball against Saginaw Valley State. Brown made 17 points in the Bulldogs’ final home game loss against the Cardinals, 75–67. Photo By: Tori Thomas | Photographer

Ferris senior for­ward Daniel Sutherlin stood at cen­ter court, as Ferris red­shirt fresh­man cen­ter Jared Stolicker leapt into the air for the open­ing tip-off.

With a bro­ken ankle, Sutherlin went back and played defense, as he has done at an all-conference level through­out his col­lege career.

“We owed him at least the chance to go out there in a uni­form in front of his fans and take one last shot,” Ferris head coach Bill Sall said. “He’s had an amaz­ing career here, a Sweet Sixteen fin­ish, a cou­ple of GLIAC Championships and he’s been an inte­gral part of what we’ve done here.”

Sutherlin pro­ceeded to trot down on offense and set up for a turn around, fade-away jump shot 12 feet from the bas­ket, which rolled in and out.

The Ferris State Bulldogs would cause a turnover and call time­out moments later, dur­ing which the hob­bled senior jogged off the court, as he received a stand­ing ova­tion from Ferris State and Saginaw Valley State faith­ful alike.

“It meant a lot to me to get back out there,” Sutherlin said. “One last chance to put on a jer­sey in front of the home crowd. My ankle felt fine; it was just stiff.”

While Sutherlin played a total of only 54 sec­onds, the Bulldogs’ plan was clear: Get Sutherlin a touch and a shot before they took him off the floor.

“It was incred­i­ble,” Ferris sopho­more point guard Dietrich Lever said. “For his last game, he didn’t even know it’d be his last game. I wish he would have hit the shot though.”

Broken ankle and all, Sutherlin hung tough. He played out that minute with­out a brace on his ankle, which has benched him for the remain­der of the sea­son. He set an exam­ple for a team that played much of its bench in a 75–67 loss against Saginaw Valley State at Wink arena Saturday, Feb. 23.

“We have to learn from this and try and win the GLIAC tour­na­ment so we can get a spot in the big tour­na­ment,” Lever said.

Sutherlin was not the only Ferris senior to take the court on Senior Recognition Day, as senior guard Kenny Brown led the way in min­utes played with 36. Brown fin­ished with one fewer point (17) than Lever, who was lead­ing scorer of the day with 18 points.

Ferris State was unable to hang onto the ball against Saginaw Valley State. The Bulldogs gave up 21 points on 12 turnovers and allowed the Cardinals to shoot 33 times from the char­ity stripe, where they made 27.

“The one thing we’ve been suc­cess­ful with is play­ing hard; we’re maybe sec­ond or third in the coun­try [at hang­ing onto the ball], but today we had a lot of really bad turnovers,” Sall said. “They just killed us. We kind of semi got the ball and it bounced off our hands and they scored off of them; those are tough pills to swallow.”

The loss drops Ferris to 14–10 on the sea­son. The Bulldogs will be given a chance to end their reg­u­lar sea­son with an excla­ma­tion point on March 2, when they travel to Grand Valley State to take on the Lakers at 6 p.m.