Men’s Basketball Falls to Hope in MIAA Tournament Championship Game
Sunday, March 01, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – One night after their best shooting performances at the Van Noord Arena, the Knights turned in one of their worst.
Calvin shot just 33 percent from the floor – including 17 percent from 3-point range – and Hope used an 18-0 second-half run to outlast the Knights in the MIAA Tournament Championship game, 69-59.
John Mantel led Calvin with 13 points and Dustin Smith added 11, but Hope’s Jesse Reimink engineered his second career 25-point game against the Knights, burying five 3s and adding six rebounds.
“Hope was pretty much better in all facets of the game,” said Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek. “Defensively they were better. Offensively they were better. I think they forced us into a lot of breakdown situations and I thought their intensity throughout was better.”
The Knights shot a season-low 32.8 percent in their 63-62 win over Hope back on Feb. 11, but Matt Veltema’s last-second lay-in propelled Calvin to its tenth conference win in 11 games.
This time, the Knights connected on just one of their 15 first-half attempts from beyond the arc, and their “Big Three” – Veltema, Caleb Veldhouse and John Mantel – combined to shoot 2-of-19 (11 percent) 22 minutes into the game.
“We shot ourselves in the foot letting it get away like that,” said Smith, who was 1-of-5 from downtown. “We just relied on our 3-point shot like we did the two games before. They just didn’t go in.”
Veldhouse shot 2-of-12 throughout and finished with seven points. In his 14 previous games against Hope, he averaged 15.1 points-per-game – first among active Calvin players. He and the Knights’ five other seniors ended their careers with a 5-10 record against the Dutch, who are now 16-14 against Calvin since 2000.
Reimink, on the other hand, stabilized Hope when the Knights built a 32-25 lead, their largest of the game, with less than five minutes until the half. He nailed a 3 and set up Will Bowser for a buzzer-beating long ball, and the Dutch entered the break on a 9-0 run.
The MIAA scoring champion (21.0 ppg), Reimink connected on a pair of 3s during Hope’s 18-0 run midway through the second and drained two free throws with 25 seconds left.
“Jesse Reimink showed why he was the league MVP today,” said Vande Streek.
“He’s such a tough match-up. You put a wing player on him, he just overpowers him because he’s so strong. You put a post guy on him and they’re not used to being out there chasing him. He’s just a tough guard.”
Hope’s Zach Osburn and Peter Bunn each recorded 12 points, and Bowser hauled in a game-high seven rebounds.
Calvin sliced its 19-point deficit down to six with under three minutes left. A Veltema 3 made the score 63-57, but Bunn converted on two straight lay-ins to restore Hope’s double-digit lead.
The Knights never reached the free throw line in the second half after shooting 11-of-13 (85 percent) in the first.
“We got away from going to the basket,” said Vande Streek. Early in the game, the first ten minutes, maybe fifteen, we did a really nice job of taking the ball to the basket…and you’re going to get some fouls when you’re going there, and we seemed to go away from that a little bit.
“I always say, ‘You play the first half to get to the second.’ You know, as long as you’re within shooting distance, you’ve got to play the second half.”
Calvin is now 1-6 against Hope in the MIAA Tournament Championship Game, dating back to 1995. The Knights, who swept the Dutch in the regular season series, have not won a three-game series against Hope since the 1992-93 season. They have done so only four times in school history.
Hope now leads the all-time rivalry series 87-85 and wins the decade of the 2000’s 16-14.
Veldhouse, Smith, Tim Katt, Mike Zwier, Tyler Zoerhof and Mischa McCray are Calvin’s six seniors.
With the win, Hope earns an automatic berth to the NCAA-III Tournament. The NCAA-III National Tournament bracket will be drawn up and announced on Monday, March 2.