Men’s Basketball Falls at Aquinas
Thursday, December 11, 2008
By Chaz Amidon
The Saints took advantage of hot three-point shooting in the first half and relied on its stalwart center in the second, cinching a double-digit win over the Knights at Aquinas Fieldhouse for the second straight season.
Pedja Lazic scored 13 of his game-high 21 points after halftime, Jordan Torres broke loose against Calvin for five 3s and 18 points, and the Saints cruised to a 78-65 win.
“I’m tired of saying, ‘For 30 minutes, we play well,’” said Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek. “It’s kind of where it was again. With the schedule we play and the teams we play, we need 40 minutes.”
Aquinas shot 7-of-12 from the outside in the first half and built a 21-point lead against the Knights, who have dropped three straight games, including four of their last five.
“We need to be playing harder and we need a bigger will to win,” said Veldhouse, who registered 13 points.
Calvin was bombarded by 18 3-pointers in their previous loss to Carthage last Saturday, and Aquinas continued where the Red Men’s perimeter attack left off.
Torres connected on four consecutive 3s and John Lierman chipped in two more as Aquinas jumped out to a 33-12 lead just 11 minutes into the first half.
Veldhouse, who totaled nine points in the first half, helped ignite a 14-2 run for the Knights and chisled Aquinas’ lead to nine at the break.
Matt Veltema drilled a pair of 3s and rattled off an 8-0 run himself amid Calvin’s comeback attempt, which revived a Knights squad that shot just 36 percent from the field throughout.
Then Aquinas turned to Lazic, the 2008 Hall of Fame Classic MVP who had 19 points in the Saints’ 78-73 win over the Knights on Nov. 28.
Bulling his way to the basket, reeling in offensive boards and breaking through double-teams, Lazic scored seven straight points to give Aquinas a 49-38 lead. With 11 minutes remaining in the game, he strung together five more points and created a 61-44 cushion.
“He has really owned us (for) two years,” said Vande Streek. “He’s really skilled but he’s really smart. I’ve been really impressed with his development.”
Trent Salo and Dustin Smith poured in eight points apiece for the Knights, while John Mantel was limited to only six points.
Aquinas’ John Lierman cloned an 18-point performance that he had against Calvin back in November, and Damacious White added nine. Lazic hauled in nine boards for the Saints, who outrebounded Calvin 34-29.
“We have to be willing to lay it all on the line every second, and we didn’t do it today,” said Vande Streek. “I thought Aquinas played well. They’re a good team and they stuck it to us.”
Aquinas now hold a four-game win streak over Calvin, dating back to Nov. 24, 2007. The Saints’ largest winning stretch against the Knights was five games from the 1982-1985.
“They’ve got a really good team,” said Veldhouse. “They’re really balanced and they’ve got a great inside presence.”