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Calvin Takes Sole Possession Of First Place in MIAA Standings With Thrilling Win at Hope

Saturday, January 17, 2009

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Box Score

By Bruce Van Baren (Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant)

HOLLAND –The Knights snapped a four game losing streak to Hope with a 66-64 win Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 3,653 at DeVos Fieldhouse. Hope’s Jesse Reimink missed a potential game winner with five seconds remaining to give Calvin its sixth straight win and sole possession of first place in the MIAA.

“This win is extremely exciting,” said Veldhouse, who led Calvin with 19 points in his 100th game as a Knight. “It feels great to pull out a victory at their place. The most important thing is that we have sole possession of first place in the MIAA.”

Calvin (9-5, 4-0 MIAA) sits atop the MIAA after knocking off consecutive unbeaten teams in Adrian and Hope. Hope (10-5, 3-1 MIAA) takes possession of second place with a 3-1 conference record and Adrian (5-9, 2-2 MIAA) slips into a tie for third place with Olivet after losing 66-64 at Alma.

“It’s a huge rivalry and it’s a big deal, but in the end it’s just a basketball game,” said John Mantel who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. “I know that’s kind of weird to say, but it’s one of fourteen conference games. We just want to win as many (conference games) as we can to put us in position to win the (conference) championship.”

The win was also coach Kevin Vande Streek’s 254th win, tying him for the most career wins at Calvin with Ed Douma. Vande Streek has led Calvin to five MIAA titles, five MIAA tournament crowns, five trips to the NCAA III tournament, two trips to the NCAA III Final Four and one national championship.

“I honestly didn’t even know,” Vande Streek said. “I was just fortunate to have a lot of good players. It’s been a pretty fun ride so far.”

The win was Calvin’s first against the Flying Dutchmen since the 2007 MIAA Tournament championship game, a 78-76 Calvin win at DeVos Fieldhouse. The Calvin- Hope series now spans 85 years and 170 games with Hope still leading the series 86-84. Hope has ended Calvin’s season the last three years, twice in the NCAA III tournament and a year ago in the MIAA Tournament finals.

“As a senior I am fully aware that we had lost four straight (to Hope),” said Veldhouse. “I am fully aware that we are 3-9 against Hope since I was a freshman up until today. It just feels amazing to get a victory.”

Reimink, who led all scorers with 20 points, missed a jump shot that would have given Hope a 66-65 lead with five seconds remaining.

“I was thinking it’s going in,” said Veldhouse of the Reimink shot. “They ran a great play and he got a great look. Nine times out of ten that will probably fall. It feels good to be on the other side of it.”

“Monday (in practice) we had run through all the possible screen exchanges that exist,” said Vande Streek. “(In the timeout) I said there isn’t anything they could do that we cannot defend.”

John Mantel’s clutch free throws with 1:17 left in the game were the difference. Dustin Smith added the finishing touch hitting a free throw with one second remaining.

Hope shot just 3 of 24 (12.5%) from three-point range and came into the game averaging 76 points per game.

“You just have to say it fell our way today,” said Veldhouse. “We want to make it as difficult as possible for them to get a shot. They had some open looks that they missed. They had some looks that we were guarding them that they missed.”

The Knights committed 16 turnovers that allowed Hope to over come two 10 point deficits. Calvin led 42-32 two minutes into the second half, but Hope tied the game 49-49 with 9:19 remaining. The Knights held a 63-53 lead with 4:38 remaining, but a Will Bowser layup gave Hope a 64-63 lead with 1:47 remaining, it’s first lead since six minutes into the first half.

“They made a great run,” said Veldhouse. “That’s college basketball right there. It’s a game of runs. Hope’s a great team especially at home. I’m just really proud of the way we responded (to those runs).”

After Hope’s 17-7 run tied the game 49-49, Tim Katt converted a three-point play to spark a 6-0 Calvin run. Veldhouse’s three gave Calvin its second 10 point lead. Bowser’s go ahead layup capped the ensuing 11-0 run, giving Hope the one-point lead.

“I’ve been saying all week that it’s going to be a typical Hope-Calvin game,” said Vande Streek. “I was hoping when we got to about four and half minutes with a seven point lead that we could hold onto that. But their defense rose to the occasion and took it away from us a couple times. We really responded and had a couple good possessions defensively to hold on.”

Hope’s David Krombeen fouled Mantel with 1:17 to play as Calvin’s 6-9, 240-pound center attempted a game tying layup. Mantel knocked down both free throws to give the Knights the win.

“The key was keeping our composure and keeping our focus,” said Veldhouse. “It’s really easy to get rattled in a situation like that. It’s a huge game, the place is going crazy. But you have to put all that stuff aside. You have to do what you need to do to win the game.”

Veldhouse scored Calvin’s first 12 points as the sell-out crowd fueled both high octane offenses. Calvin and Hope kept pace with the other early in the game each shooting 58.8-percent through the first nine minutes.

Calvin took the lead after Mantel’s three-pointer eight minutes into the first half and didn’t relinquish it until Bowser’s go ahead layup with 1:47 remaining.

“I haven’t been shooting well so it felt awesome to knock down some shots (early),” said Veldhouse. “Against Hope, especially (at DeVos Fieldhouse), the first five minutes of each half are most important. I came out focused and got some open looks and knocked them down.”
Calvin led 36-32 at halftime and shot 15 of 30 (50%) from the field. Hope was just 1 of 12 from three-point range in the first half and shot 43.8%.

“Coach always says we play the first half to get to the second so we felt good where we were at,” said Veldhouse. “A four point lead against Hope at their place is something to be proud of at halftime.”

Since starting the season with a 3-5 record, the Knights have won six straight games dating back to Calvin’s win over Geneva College on December 29. The six game winning streak is Calvin’s longest since winning eleven straight games in the 2005-2006 season.

“(This win) is a big stepping stone for us,” said Veldhouse. “We have to keep working towards the conference title and this is another step.”

NOTES: Saturday’s meeting was the first time the teams met with undefeated conference records since 1997… Vande Streek is now 14-21 against Hope in his 13-year career… Calvin outrebounded the Flying Dutchmen 37-31 and have done so in each conference win this season…Calvin’s JV team lost 93-84 to Hope in the early game… Varsity call-ups Matt Capel had 20 points and Lincoln Fox scored 10 points.

Post Game Press Conference

Caleb Veldhouse Audio Interview


Posted in: Men's Basketball
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2 comments on "Calvin Takes Sole Possession Of First Place in MIAA Standings With Thrilling Win at Hope"
  • Good journalistic coverage Bruce. Maybe someday you will write a piece on Calvin College winning, or even playing, a football game. Hey, stranger things have happened, Calvin Chapel is optional now and Calvin has dances, Dutch is not the “official” language in the CRC, and the CRC has women elders. It could happen-it just could happen.

    Go Knights!!

    Posted by Dr. Robert Blok '65 on 01/19 at 06:15 PM
  • Bruce - As always, your comments were insightful and sharp.  Thanks for covering the great win!

    Posted by Neil Zandstra on 01/18 at 08:24 AM