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Men’s Basketball Captures Calvin Tip-Off Tourney Title With Win Over Spring Arbor

Saturday, November 22, 2008

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Box Score

By Chaz Amidon

GRAND RAPIDS – Caleb Veldhouse weaved his way through the Calvin record books in Saturday’s 71-61 win over Spring Arbor, scoring a game-high 24 points to surpass Duane Rosendahl as the Knights’ 10th all-time leading scorer with 1,343 points.

Danny Rodts registered 13 points, John Mantel added eight and Matt Veltema chipped in seven as Calvin captured its seventh Tip-Off Tournament championship after staving off a late second-half comeback by the 8-2 Cougars.

“You get to be a well-oiled machine than any team that’s played in its first or second game,” said Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek of Spring Arbor. “If I were going to play against our defensive system, I would play how Spring Arbors plays. But I was impressed…with our nice defensive performance.”

Veldhouse, a former Mr. Basketball from South Dakota, poured in 17 first-half points to catalyze a Knights’ offense that totaled 82 points the night before in their season-opening win over Grace Bible College.

A three-time All-MIAA first team selection, Veldhouse was named the Tip-Off Tournament MVP for averaging 19.0 points-per-game in Calvin’s first two games of the 2008-09 season.

He shattered Rosendahl’s 10th-place record with 3:40 remaining before the break, connecting on a 15-foot turnaround jumper that gave the Knights a 30-27 lead.

“I owe a lot to my coaches and a lot to my teammates,” said Veldhouse. “God has blessed me with the ability to play. It’s just a huge blessing to be that successful and to have the career I’ve had at Calvin.”

Veldhouse drained three of his four 3-pointers in the first half, where he shot 5 of 10 from the field and where the Knights compiled a 36-27 lead heading into halftime.

But Spring Arbor engineered a devastating 11-0 run midway through the second half, building a 48-44 advantage with less than 12 minutes remaining.

Veldhouse sunk two consecutive fade-a-ways to bring the score to 52-52, then drilled a deep 3-pointer – which was preceded by a Rodts long ball from the left corner – to induce a Cougar timeout with 9:21 left.

“If you don’t give a team the respect they deserve, they can hurt you,” said Veldhouse of Calvin’s second-half lapse. “Their offense attacks our defense very well. They can punish you because they have good shooters.”

The Knights broke open a 68-56 lead – their largest of the game – on back-to-back lay-ins from Mantel and Tim Katt.

With under one minute remaining, and after Spring Arbor climbed to within eight points, Trent Salo notched a pair of free throws to solidify a ten-point victory for the Knights (2-0).

“I would love to play them in about four or fives games because they have so many back cuts and we have so many reads we have to make,” said Vande Streek.

Kevin Ludwig duplicated a 16-point performance that he had against Baldwin-Wallace on Friday, and Josh Brandt shot 4 of 10 from distance to tally 16 points for the Cougars.

Calvin shot a blistering 50 percent from the floor and outrebounded Spring Arbor 41-23 – one day after controlling the boards against Grace Bible College, 43-21.

“Spring Arbor’s not the most physical team we’re going to see but regardless, they had one offensive rebound at halftime,” said Vande Streek. “That’s certainly great to see and it’s been an emphasis for us in practice. It’s something we’re always going to continue to work on.”

The Knights will have six days rest until they face off against Aquinas College in the first round of the Grand Rapids Hall of Fame Tournament, which will be held at DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland.

NOTES: The Tip-Off Tournament team included Veldhouse, Mantel, Veltema, Ludwig (Spring Arbor), Brandt (Spring Arbor), Allen Durham (Grace Bible) and Andre Bene (Baldwin-Wallace)…The Knights, who shot 6 of 14 from long range, are now 108-33 (.766) when connecting on at least six 3-pointers…Vande Streek now trails Ed Douma (1984-96) by seven games as Calvin’s all-time winningest coach

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