Knights Drop Heartbreaker to Top-Ranked St. Thomas 63-62 in Round of 16 NCAA III Tourney Game
Saturday, March 16, 2013
(Story by Mitch Blankespoor) (Photos by Ryan Coleman)
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Calvin College men’s basketball team’s season came to its conclusion Sat., Mar. 16 on the campus of the University of St. Thomas. The 12th ranked Knights gave the top-ranked Tommies all they could handle on their home court, but fell 63-62. Calvin ends its season with a 26-4 record.
The Knights gained the lead early on consecutive baskets from senior forward Tom Snikkers (Jenison/Unity Christian). A three-pointer from sophomore guard Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian) gave Calvin a 7-0 lead.
St. Thomas rallied back, and tied the game with a three pointer from sophomore guard Marcus Alipate (Bloomington, MN/Jefferson).
Calvin responded with a 9-3 run concluding with a basket from Snikkers to put Calvin ahead 18-12 with 9:12 to play in the first half.
St. Thomas counterpunched with an 8-0 run of its own to regain the lead 20-18. The Tommies would hold this lead, and with a layup from senior forward Noah Kaiser (Mendota Heights, MN/Henry Sibley) with eight seconds left to give the Tommies a 31-26 lead at halftime.
“Their [St. Thomas] high pressure defense forced us [Calvin] to play a half-step too fast in the first half,” said Calvin head coach Kevin Vande Streek after the game. “We were forced into 12 turnovers in the first half. We did a better job of protecting the ball in the second half.”
Not at the start of the second half, however. St. Thomas scored the half’s first 10 points while Calvin turned the ball over on two of its first three possessions. The Knights found themselves down 41-26 with 17:19 to play.
Then senior guard Bryan Powell (Wyoming/Wyoming Park) took over. After a pair of free throws from junior forward Mickey De Vries (Lansing/Lansing Christian) and a layup from junior center Tyler Kruis (Grandville/Calvin Christian), Powell scored 11 straight points for the Knights including hitting three consecutive triples to cut the Tommies’ lead to 43-40 with 13:34 to play.
Calvin would get within three points on two different occasions, but could not cut the deficit any further. That is, until a couple of Calvin seniors had something to say. A Powell layup followed by a Snikkers steal and layup gave the Knights a 55-54 lead with 5:31 remaining.
St. Thomas would score the next six points en route to a 60-55 lead. Another Powell three and a dunk from Dykstra in transition tied the game at 60 with 1:36 left in regulation.
On the next possession, Kaiser, who had only hit six three pointers the entire season, found himself open on the wing. The lefty drilled the three to put the Tommies up 63-60.
After two Powell free throws and a miss from St. Thomas, the Knights found themselves with possession, down a single point with 20 seconds to play.
Just as he did against Adrian back on Jan. 26, Powell created some space for himself, and rose up for a 17-foot jump shot. This one, however, bounced off the front rim, then the backboard and out. The Knights’ bid for a trip to Salem, VA, came up a single basket short.
Powell finished with a career high 31 points on 11-17 shooting. Powell became the 22nd player in Calvin history to score 1,000 points in a career.
“With the way that they [St. Thomas] play defense, I knew that there was going to be a lot of isolation,” Vande Streek said. “If Bryan [Powell] was hitting shots, I knew he had a chance to score big.”
Snikkers finished with 11 points and three rebounds. He finishes with 1,464 career points, good for 8th place on Calvin’s all-time list.
Senior guard Will DeBerg (Edina) finished with 16 points to lead the Tommies.
Calvin outrebounded St. Thomas 33-28 in the contest, and also made three more field goals (25-22). Both teams struggled from the charity stripe – St. Thomas finished 9-22 while Calvin finished 4-10.
Seniors Matt DeBoer (Hudsonville/Covenant Christian) and David Rietema (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian) join Powell and Snikkers in finishing their Calvin careers.
“I can’t say enough about this senior class” Vande Streek said. “Seeing them come in as immature freshman to now being leaders and quality Christian men, I couldn’t be prouder.”
As a program, Calvin suffered its first loss in the round of sixteen in seven games. The senior class leaves the program with a record of 74-38.
CALVIN CAREER SCORING LIST
Calvin 2,000-point Club
1. Steve Honderd (1993) 2,469
2. Mark Veenstra (1977) 2,251
3. Bill Sall (1990) 2,063
Calvin 1,000-point Club
4. Jeremy Veenstra (2003) 1,947
5. Aaron Winkle (2000) - 1,802
6. Chris Knoester (1994) 1,756
7. Caleb Veldhouse (2009) 1,627
8. Tom Snikkers (2013) 1,464
9. Tom Newhof (1958) 1,372
10. Mickey Phelps (1970) 1,365
11. Chris Prins (2004) 1,355
12. Duane Rosendahl (1952) 1,330
13. John Mantel (2010) 1,263
14. Kyle VanderBrug (1985) 1,130
15. Dan Davis (1989) 1,121
16. Jim Timmer (1990) 1,097
17. Kim Campbell (1967) 1,095
18. Kevin Broene (2004) 1,043
19. Matt Veltema (2010) 1,019
20. Bill Wolterstorff (1961) 1,015
21. Bryan Powell (2013) 1,009
22. Dan Aultman (2005) 1,005