Men’s Basketball Falls at Olivet 71-69
Saturday, February 05, 2011
By Sports Information Student Assistant Derek Neice
With the season winding down and each game becoming more and more meaningful, Calvin suffered another tough loss on the road against a good Olivet team in a 71-69 thriller. After a tied score at halftime, a huge 14-0 run by Olivet’s Michael McClary, who finished the game with 29 points, placed the Comets ahead by double-digits. Sophomore Tom Snikkers led the Knights with 19 points and 10 rebounds while senior Danny Rodts also poured in 18 points to go with 10 boards but Calvin was unable to hit key shots down the stretch in the second half to complete a comeback.
The loss pushes Calvin’s league record to 6-4, and Olivet also improves to 6-4 to move into a second place tie along with Albion and Calvin in the MIAA standings.
“We didn’t have the investment, the energy, the enthusiasm and the incredible desire that it takes to be successful at the college level,” said Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek afterward. “When we do play hard and with enthusiasm and invest all we have to offer, we are a very good basketball team. To get that consistency is the real challenge and we haven’t been able to find it so far.”
The first half went back and forth for both teams with neither getting much momentum except for a couple of runs by both sides. Olivet led by six late in the half but a 9-0 run for the Knights regained the lead for a short while before both teams headed to the locker room at halftime knotted at 36-36.
In the second half Calvin immediately started out well with a quick 6-0 run to take command, but Olivet quickly got back into it. With the Knights still leading 44-41, McClary then took the game over for a stretch of time that included 7 straight hits from Olivet’s all-time leading scorer and a 14-0 run to give the Comets a commanding lead at 55-44.
McClary now is Olivet’s all-time leading scorer as well as the top single season scorer for the Comets cementing a stellar career for him in his time at Olivet.
“Michael [McClary] is a really good player, there’s no question about that,” Vande Streek said of Olivet’s big man. “He’s a very good scorer, and when you rebound you give him two shots, and he’s way too good to give him two shots every possession and that’s kind of what happened.”
But the Knights were resilient and used another 9-0 to cut the lead back to two. With about eight minutes to go, Olivet led by three and Calvin had chances to score and retake the lead. But Olivet managed to tack on more points to their lead.
With about a minute left in the game it looked like all hope was lost for Calvin as Olivet still led 67-61, but Snikkers got to the free throw line, connected on his first attempt, and then got his own rebound off a missed second attempt and layed it in for an overall three point play to bring the Knights within three.
Calvin made a stop on the other end and got possession back, but on an ensuing inbound pass from Olivet’s baseline, Calvin was called for a five-second violation. That error would prove fatal as the Comets then got an easy lay-up to go up by five. Rodts would hit a clutch three with six seconds to go, but a subsequent foul saw Olivet sink both free throws to go back up by a comfortable four points, and a lay-up on the buzzer brought the score within two as Olivet took home the victory.
Calvin shot 43.9 percent in the game to Olivet’s 42.6, but the Knights hit on only 3 of 18 shooting from beyond the arc for a meager 18 percent to Olivet’s 45.5 from three points land.
“The big picture for us is to find what it takes to be consistent so we can play our best basketball,” Vande Streek concluded. “For me I’m really after getting us to be as good a team as we can become and we have a ways to go.”
The next action for Calvin will be Wednesday February 9th at home against Adrian. That game will begin at 7:30 p.m.