Men’s Basketball Advances to MIAA Tournament Semifinals With 67-49 Win Over Alma
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
By sports information student assistant Derek Neice
Just four days after Calvin won a thrilling overtime match-up against Alma in the last game of the regular season at the Van Noord Arena, Calvin got right to work in defeating the Scots Wednesday night by a score of 67-49 in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
With the win the Knights are only a win away from returning to the MIAA Tournament Championship game for the seventh consecutive year.
“We made a few minor tweaks coming into tonight,” said Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek in regard to the changes made after Saturday’s contest against Alma. “We came out and trapped the ball screen to give them a little different look and we adjusted offensively a little bit, and they helped us out a bit.”
With clutch shooting providing the foundation for Calvin’s success this season, Wednesday night’s game proved no different as the Knights shot 45.5 percent from the field and 81.3 percent from the free throw line.
Senior John Mantel led the Knights with 16 points and 6 boards, and seniors Matt Veltema and Paul Campbell also had good showings on offense with 11 and 8 points respectively. Freshman Tommy Snikkers had a good showing as well, pouring in 9 points and 8 rebounds on 4 of 5 shooting. Danny Rodts finished with 7 points, and Brad Schnyders came off the bench to chip in 7 as well.
From a stylistic perspective, Alma opted to freeze the ball on a majority of the possessions they had while the game remained close, and so the scoring was low in the first half. Calvin only led 19-18 late in the first half, but they used two consecutive shot clock violations by the Scots to build their lead to 24-18 at the break.
“It’s a tough game to play in offensively,” said Vande Streek of Alma’s tendency to freeze the ball on offense and run as much clock as possible. “It’s okay to play in defensively, but you get out of a rhythym and it’s hard to get points in the transition.”
“But our guys did a nice job, John [Mantel] was very unselfish as he’s been all year and we some different guys score for us in the post,” Vande Streek continued. “It was a nice balanced effort again.”
The second half saw Alma more or less abandon this slow-moving game plan as they fell more and more behind, and Calvin went on to score 43 points in the half to the Scots’ 31.
Alma shot 25.9 percent from beyond the three-point line Wednesday, as compared to the 50+ percent they shot this past Saturday, one indication of how much more competitive these Scots were last weekend.
Also, Alma’s Kevin Ginther was held scoreless in the first half in Wednesday’s game. Saturday saw Ginther go for over 20 points, so the fact that the Scots’ hottest shooter scored zero points in the first half is a second indication of how different Saturday was. Ginther did score 10 second half points Wednesday, but his efforts were too little too late.
Another factor possibly affecting the outcome of Wednesday’s game was the crowd at the Van Noord Arena.
“I thought our students were great tonight and I was appreciative of that,” said Vande Streek of the crowd’s energy. “It was really great to see them not only there but really into it and vocal.”
As holders of home court advantage throughout the entirety of this tournament, Calvin will be at home again on Friday as they move on to play in the semifinal round. Calvin’s opponent will be the Comets of Olivet, one of only two MIAA teams to deal Calvin a loss this season.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble being psyched up [for Friday’s game],” said Vande Streek of the next game against Olivet. “You know, Olivet might be the best team in the league on any given day, but I think our guys will be ready and confident and I hope we play well.”
The game Friday is slated to begin at 8:15 p.m.