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Good Night for the Knights - Men’s Basketball Defeats Hope 84-75 in MIAA Opener

Thursday, January 07, 2010

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Box Score

(written by sports information student assistant Derek Neice)

With the New Year underway, the great rivalry of Calvin Hope basketball now enters its 10th decade of play, with Hope leading the series total 88-86 over Calvin.  But Wednesday’s game, the 174th game between the two schools, was a night for the Knights as they defeated the Flying Dutchmen by a score of 84-75.  Led by strong play from the seniors on the team and clutch shooting from freshmen participating in their first ever Calvin Hope game, the Knights had fans leaving Calvin’s Van Noord Arena happy after the win.

The Knights are now 14-0 in MIAA openers under Vande Streek thanks to an 84-75 victory over rival Hope College Wednesday night in front of 4,468 fans at Calvin’s Van Noord Arena.

Wednesday’s game marked the first time Calvin and Hope had met in men’s basketball in an MIAA opener since 1988.

Senior John Mantel (Chelsea, MI) notched another double-double to his belt in scoring 18 points and grabbing 11 total boards.  Fellow senior Matt Veltema (Grandville, MI) poured in 13 second half points, and the Knights got plenty of help off the bench as the Knight bench outscored the Dutchmen bench 25-7.  Freshman Bryan Powell (Wyoming, MI) scored nine points off of three huge three-pointers, an offensive threat that ultimately thwarted all of Hope’s attempts at taking control of the game.

“I get a lot of open looks because of my teammates,” said Powell. “I’ve been working on my shot in practice and when I got some space to shoot tonight, I took the open looks.”

The first half could have doubled as a giant game of Horse between the two teams as both went back and forth with the scoring.  Calvin took a 7-4 lead early on and would hold that lead until midway through the second half.

Brent Schuster (Denver, CO) scored eight big points of his eventual 10 in the first half, sparking the Knights offense on multiple possessions.  Trent Salo (Rudyard, MI) also scored eight first half points, six coming from a couple of big three pointers.

The Calvin lead was as much as nine at one point in the first half, but Hope used an 8-0 run to climb back into the game.  But despite Hope’s comeback, the Knights offense exploded again in the final minutes, highlighted by a Danny Rodts (Niles, MI) 3-pointer that went in with about 20 seconds to go.  The Knights led 45-36 at the break.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Calvin’s 9 point lead evaporated in an instant.  The Dutchmen used another 8-0 run to climb back into the game, cutting the lead to 45-43, and Calvin didn’t score until about 2 minutes in when Rodts drew a foul and hit one of the free throws.  With Hope biting the heels of the Knights for much of the game, Calvin still would not relinquish control of the lead.
Hope would take the lead midway through the half but it was only for a very brief stretch of time.  Trailing 55-54 with 9:55 left to play, Hope’s Logan Neil hit a three-pointer to give Hope the two-point advantage. 

But Powell then received the inbound pass, dribbled up the court, and immediately released one of his three huge shots when he was in range to give Calvin back the lead.  And as if this wasn’t enough for the eager freshman, on Calvin’s very next possession, with the score still the same, he did the exact same thing in launching in another long three-pointer, giving him six straight points on the court and essentially icing the game for the Knights.  The Dutchmen pulled within four points a few minutes later trailing 63-59, but Powell was still hot from his previous two shots, and he popped in one more for good measure to give Calvin a seven point lead, bringing his total point spread to nine on the night.

Senior Matt Veltema then canned a pair of clutch triples inside the final four minutes to help the Knights hold off the Flying Dutchmen.

Calvin featured a balanced scoring attack led by senior John Mantel who notched his 10th collegiate double-double with 18 points an 11 rebounds. Veltema had 16 points while junior Brent Schuster and freshman Tom Snikkers had 10 points apiece. Schuster and Mantel blocked three shots apiece. Powell finished with nine points while junior Trent Salo had eight points and three assists and junior Danny Rodts seven points.

Calvin was 12 of 22 (.545) from three-point range in the win and shot 45.8 percent overall. The Knights were also 18 of 25 (.720) at the free throw line. Hope shots 46.2 percent overall but just 5 of 18 (.278) from three-point range. The Flying Dutchmen were also 10 of 15 (.667) at the free throw line.

Hope held the rebounding advantage, outboarding Calvin 39-33.

Hope junior Peter Bunn led all scorers with 25 points while Chris Nelis added 17 and Will Bowser 14.

“When we had Brent Schuster and John Mantel in together, it gave us a lot of length on defense,” said Calvin men’s basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek of his post tandem that combined to block six shots. “I thought they did a great job of getting their hands on balls and helping our defense. Down the stretch, Hope scored only seven or eight points and I think our depth had something to do with that.”

With the win, Calvin starts out conference play on an excellent note at 1-0 and Hope falls to 0-1.  Hope will definitely be ready for the next battle, with that game set to be played in the Dutchmen’s home arena.  But for now the Knights have the bragging rights, and Wednesday night’s win shows just how dangerous this squad can be.

“Obviously this is a big win but we can’t dwell on it,” said Vande Streek. “We have a very challenging game on Saturday against an Olivet team that is extremely talented. We will certainly have our hands full when they come to our building this weekend.”

Saturday’s game against Olivet is slated to start at 3 p.m.

Post Game Press Conference Audio

Posted in: Men's Basketball
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