Calvin Men’s Basketball Topples Hope 78-53 in MIAA Tournament Finals - Punches Ticket to NCAAs
Saturday, March 01, 2014
By Mark DeHaan
Seeking its first win against rival Hope in three opportunities this season, as well as an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament, the Calvin men’s basketball team traveled to Holland for the MIAA Tournament Final on Saturday afternoon. Calvin made the most of its opportunity, defeating the 24th-ranked Flying Dutchmen 78-53 to punch its ticket to the NCAA III Tournament. The win marked Calvin’s largest margin of victory over Hope at DeVos Fieldhouse.
At 22-5, Calvin will be making its 19th appearance in the NCAA III Tournament including its eighth under current head coach Kevin Vande Streek.
The Flying Dutchmen had twice defeated the Knights during the regular season by scores of 71-63 at Calvin and 83-65 at the DeVos Fieldhouse.
The Knights entered Saturday’s game coming off a 64-55 victory over Albion on Wednesday, while Hope beat Trine 65-62 in overtime to advance to the MIAA Tournament Final.
In previous MIAA Tournament finals, Calvin was 9-7, but only 2-8 in the ten most recent meetings with the Flying Dutchmen.
As it had in the previous match-ups, Hope jumped out to an early lead, going up 13-2 with 13:43 left in the first as the Knights hit 1-of-15 field goals to start the game.
A 7-0 run by the Knights over the next three minutes then cut Hope’s lead to 13-9.
With 9:09 remaining, a jumper by junior Jordan Brink tied the game at 15-15.
A reverse layup by junior Daniel Stout put Calvin up 19-17, just the third lead the Knights had seen in the three contests against the Flying Dutchmen.
The Knights advantage grew to 27-20 with 2:44 left, the biggest lead of the half, before settling at 29-24 at halftime.
Senior Tyler Kruis had eight points and six rebounds at half while Brink added seven. Calvin finished the half shooting 35.1% despite the poor start, and the Knights forced Hope into ten first half turnovers.
Out of the break, an emphatic dunk by Kruis and a spot-up three by Brink put Calvin’s lead at 40-31 with 15:48 left.
The Knights continued to hit from range as freshman Brad Visser hit back-to-back threes and Kruis sank a triple for a 51-37 Calvin advantage with 12:35 to go.
The Flying Dutchmen then cut the Knights lead to single-digits at 51-42 with 10:59 to go, but a 20-3 run by the maroon and gold gave them a 71-45 lead with 5:28 remaining.
Calvin’s largest lead came at 76-48 with 3:09 left, and the Knights cruised to a final score of 78-53 as the MIAA Tournament Champions.
With the win, Calvin earns the MIAA’s automatic berth to the NCAA National Tournament.
The Knights shot 54.8% in the second half for 44.1% for the game, holding Hope to just 26.7% in the second half as Calvin pulled away. The Knights forced the Flying Dutchmen into 16 turnovers while only committing seven of their own.
Brink led all scorers with 21 points while Kruis added 18 points and nine rebounds. Sophomores Jordan Daley and Austin Parks were also in double-figures with 10 points apiece, with Daley chipping in eight rebounds.
Hope was led by Nate Van Arendonk, who had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Sam Otto also scored 10 for the Flying Dutchmen.
“We played about as well as we could play. It’s a great reminder to our guys that who does the dictating is usually successful,” said head coach Kevin VandeStreek. “Even early on, when we couldn’t throw it in the ocean, I liked how intense we were playing. We were attacking the basket and doing a good job defensively, and then shots started to fall – our guys played really well.”
“Coach said before the game that they were going to go on runs, they were a good team and the they were going to hit shots, and things might not go our way,” said Kruis. “But, we had to stay to our game and keep after it – and we did just that.”
The Knights conclude the regular season with a 22-5 record. Calvin now looks forward to Monday when its first round opponent and location will be announced during the NCAA Selection Show, scheduled to air at 12:30 p.m.