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Calvin Stretches Win Streak to Four With Win Over Alma

Saturday, January 10, 2009

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Box Score

By Bruce Van Baren

Dustin Smith carried the scoring load in Mantel’s absence leading all scorers with 20 points, one point shy of his career high. Since switching to the off-guard against Geneva College, Smith has averaged 14.5 points per game over the last four games.

“I look to shoot more now,” Smith said. “A lot of guys found me and I knocked down shots (today). Our offense really flows with the switch. It’s much more spread out and we get more open looks.”

Smith has now scored in double figures four out of the last five games, over which Calvin is 4-1. The Knights (7-5, 2-0 MIAA) are riding a four game winning streak and are tied for first place in the MIAA.

“Dustin is very active and is playing very confidently,” coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “He played really well and really has (all season). We were experimenting with different things, but he and Caleb play really well together.”

Calvin has won the last 20 meetings with Alma and leads the all-time series 104-26. Alma falls to 2-10 and 0-2 in the MIAA.  Jordan Reditt, who averages 15.5 points per game, was held to just 11 points as Alma shot only 32.1-percent and was 2 of 15 from beyond the Arc.

The Knights shot 48.1-percent in the second half, including 4 of 11 from three-point range. Tim Katt matched his career with 10 points off the bench and nine rebounds, one shy off his career high. Five other players scored at least seven points for the Knights.

“It’s great to have that depth,” Vande Streek said. “Sometimes we don’t reverse the ball enough because we have confidence in so many guys.”

The Knights opened the game on a 10-2 run thanks to an early 10-2 rebounding edge. The Knights led 19-8 after Matt Veltema hit Calvin’s first three-pointer of the game and led by as many as 13 points in the first half. Calvin led 32-22 at halftime, but without Mantel the Knights were shooting just 31.3-percent from the field and 55.6-percent from the charity stripe.

“I thought what happened to us (after Mantel left with an injury) is that we got a little individualistic,” Vande Streek said.

“At halftime we went around the room and I asked everyone, ‘Do you think Veltema is a good player?’ The answer was yes. ‘Do you think Caleb is a good player?’ And we did that with everybody, just to drive home the fact that we have a lot of good players. People don’t have to do what they don’t normally do (without Mantel in there).”

Calvin held a 30-15 rebounding edge in the first half, including 18 offensive rebounds. The Knights out-rebounded Alma 50-30 and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds. Smith grabbed five and Katt grabbed five. Calvin had 19 offensive rebounds in Wednesday’s win against Trine.

“It’s really good to see,” Vande Streek said. “I think if you get 58-percent of rebounds you don’t lose no matter what else happens.”

A Terry Brown dunk brought the Scots within seven points with 12:25 remaining in the second half, but Calvin’s 10-0 run capped by Matt Veltema’s second three-pointer gave the Knights a 59-39 lead, their largest of the game with 7:12 remaining. Calvin closed the game on a 24-8 run.

“I thought we made good adjustments and did a nice job the second half,” Vande Streek said.

Mantel, who leads the Knights with 14.9 points per game heading into Saturday, is expected to play in Wednesday’s game at Adrian.

“You never want to play without someone,” VandeStreek said. “But it’s probably something good to go through. It’s a good lesson to learn because we really haven’t had to deal with that.”

Calvin travels to Adrian (5-7, 2-0 MIAA) on Wednesday for 8 p.m. tipoff. The Bulldogs are tied for first place in the MIAA with the Knights and Hope.

NOTES: Coach Kevin Vande Streek needs just two wins to tie Ed Douma atop the Calvin career coaching victories list…Vande Streek celebrated his 50th birthday on Saturday… the next home game will be Wednesday, January 21 against Olivet…over the last four years Calvin is 130-20 (.865) when leading at halftime…Over the last four years, Calvin is 100-15 (.868) when it outrebounds opponents… Calvin has out-rebounded the opposition in both MIAA wins this year

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