Men’s Basketball Holds Off Trine And Hangs Onto Share of First Place in MIAA
Saturday, January 31, 2009
By Bruce Van Baren (Calvin Sports Information Student Assistant)
ANGOLA, IN—Calvin knocked down clutch free throws to preserve an 82-80 win at Trine in first game of the second round through the MIAA schedule. The Knights won their third straight game to hold on to a share of first place in the MIAA.
“It’s a feeling of relief,” coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “All game long you’re anxious because you know it’s going to come down to the end.”
With ice in their veins, Caleb Veldhouse (Sioux Falls Christian) and Danny Rodts (Niles HS) each sunk four free throws, including each hitting the front end of a one-in-one situation, in the final minute to seal Calvin’s second win this season over the Thunder.
Statistically Veldhouse and Rodts are Calvin’s best free throw shooters averaging 80-percent and 84.6-percent respectively. Calvin averaged just 67.7-percent from the free throw line entering Saturday’s contest and was ranked seventh in free throw percentage.
“It shows a lot of mental toughness to get those in,” Vande Streek said. “Danny is just a sophomore and in his first year on varsity. It shows great character to get them in.
“Caleb is so mentally tough,” Vande Streek said. “It’s great for us to have his poise. He wants to have the ball and he wants to be in (that situation).”
Matt Veltema (Calvin Christian) led the Knights for the fourth straight game since entering the starting lineup, finishing with 18 points. The 6-6 junior forward scored a career high 23 points and 21 points in his last two games.
“He’s very confident,” Vande Streek said. “He wants the ball in his hands and he’s made some good plays.”
Veltema has benefited with Veldhouse on the sideline. Veltema has more than filled Veldhouse’s 13.6 points-per-game average.
“We spread (Caleb’s) shots out, but certainly Matt’s the benefactor,” Vande Streek said. “It’s not like he’s suddenly (scoring) now. He’s had a great year start to finish.”
Wes Weir lit up Trine’s Hershey Hall leading all scorers with 28 points. Weir drained eight of ten three-pointers. Weir’s fourth triple gave Trine its largest lead of the game, 27-22, midway through the first half.
“We knew going into the game that Wes Weir is maybe the best shooter in the league,” Vande Streek said. “He shot it right in our eye a couple of times.”
Weir fueled Trine’s explosive offense that scored 80 points against the Knights defense for just the third time this season. Calvin surrendered 82 points in an overtime victory against Cornerstone and 95 in a loss to Carthage.
“Trine played really well offensively,” Vande Streek said. “I didn’t expect Deon Thompson to get into the lane as much as he did. That really put the pressure (on us). Offense is about penetration and they certainly did that today.”
Thompson scored 15 points against Calvin’s league best defense and Chris Mislan added 13 for Trine. Calvin’s defense was averaging 61.3 points-per-game in MIAA league play heading into Saturday’s game in Angola.
Calvin muscled the ball inside to John Mantel (Chelsea HS), who was the second Knight in double-figures with 15 points, and Tim Katt (Brookfield East HS) to take an eight point second half lead.
Tyler Zoerhof (Holland Christian) hit a three-pointer to ignite the 17-2 early second half run. Veltema’s triple gave the Knights an 11-point lead, their largest of the game, with just over seven minutes remaining in the game.
Weir hit a triple to cut the lead to six points with six minutes remaining and drained another triple to cut the Knights’ lead to 72-71 with 1:59 left in the game.
“That doesn’t concern me,” Vande Streek said. “A ten to fifteen point lead in today’s college basketball means about zero. We had a break down or two defensively, but they made some plays.”
Mantel muscled in a layup and Calvin hit eight straight free throws to preserve the win.
Veldhouse played 14 minutes in his return, but did not start. Veldhouse scored 10 points, but was 0 of 3 from beyond the arc. He was 6 of 6 from the free throw line and did not appear to be affected by his ankle injury.
NOTES: Calvin leads the MIAA in scoring defense (61.3), scoring margin (+12), rebounding… Calvin is second only to Trine in three-point field goal percentage (Trine .364, Calvin .349)… Calvin and Trine are 7th and 8th respectively in the MIAA in free throw percentage… Calvin outrebounded Trine 37-28.