Men’s Basketball Defeats Olivet 83-63 - Gains Number-Two Seed for MIAA Tournament
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
By Mark DeHaan
The Calvin men’s basketball team hosted the Comets of Olivet on Wednesday evening at Van Noord Arena and came away with an 83-63 victory, boosting its overall season record to 19-5 and its MIAA mark to 11-2. With Hope defeating Kalamazoo Wednesday night, Calvin is set in the number-two spot in the league standings and in the upcoming league tournament. The Knights will host Albion next Wednesday in an MIAA Tournament semifinal at 7:30 p.m. marking the first of two meetings against the Brits in a four-day span.
After a strong first half and a 15-point halftime lead for Calvin Wednesday night, Olivet nearly came back in the second half, narrowing its deficit to seven, before a 15-2 run over four minutes put the Knights ahead by twenty and the game out of reach.
Coming off a week in which he was named MIAA player of the week, senior Tyler Kruis (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS) started off Wednesday’s game with seven points in the opening four and a half minutes as the Knights took an early 14-4 lead.
A pair of free throws from junior Dan Stout (Escondido, CA/Calvin Christian HS) then gave Calvin a double-digit lead with 7:03 remaining in the first at 27-17.
The largest lead of the first half came with 3:04 left as a Kruis jumper put the Knights up 41-21.
The Comets were able to get a few points back before halftime, and at the break, Calvin held a 43-28 advantage, paced by 11 points and seven rebounds from Kruis. Sophomore Jordan Daley (Grand Rapids/Grand Rapids Christian HS) and junior Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian HS) each added seven.
In the second half, the Knights struggled to break away from the Comets as the first 12 minutes were played within a five point window. Calvin’s lead did not grow to any more than 15 and Olivet did not come any closer than 10.
Then, with 7:11 remaining, a three by Olivet’s TJ Vondette brought the Comets to within seven at 66-59, suggesting that Olivet might have enough left for a comeback.
Calvin responded with an 8-2 run to give the Knights a 74-61 lead, which forced Olivet into a timeout.
After the timeout, Calvin’s run continued, and eleven straight points, seven from Daley, put the score at 83-61 with 2:33 remaining and out of Olivet’s reach.
Only two more points were scored the rest of the way, and the Knights earned an 83-63 win.
Calvin shot 45.8% from the field, forcing Olivet into 15 turnovers while only committing seven of their own.
Daley led the Knights with a career-high 22 points, adding seven assists and five rebounds, while Kruis scored 15 and junior Tyler Dykstra (Holland/Holland Christian HS) added 14, tying his career best.
RJ Haas led Olivet with 15 points while Blake Krum chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds, and TJ Vondette scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
I thought we came out playing really hard one of the things we talked about after Trine was re-establishing our defense intensity, and I think we did a great job tonight, said head coach Kevin Vande Streek. We were just a little flat to start the second half, Olivet made shots (to make it close), but Jordan Daley really took the game over with five or six minutes left, which is really good to see. He’s had a couple good games in a row, made two huge free throws at Trine on Saturday, and is getting a little of that mojo back.
The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they host the Britons of Albion College. Saturday’s contest is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.