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Men’s Basketball Takes Third at Hall of Fame Classic With OT Win Over Cornerstone

Sunday, November 30, 2008

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Box Score

By Bruce VanBaren

HOLLAND- John Mantel (Chelsea HS) said Calvin needed to have a statement game against Cornerstone in Saturday’s Grand Rapids Hall of Fame Classic consolation game at Hope College.

Mantel did just that as he led the Knights with a career high 27 points as Calvin held off Cornerstone 85-82 in overtime. Mantel drained two clutch free throws with 10 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. Matt Veltema’s (Calvin Christian) eight-footer with 39 seconds left in overtime was the difference.

“The statement we made today was perseverance,” said Mantel who was named to the all-tournament team. “Not everything is going to go right 100-percent of the time. We need to learn to work through that and we need to learn to persevere through those runs that opponents go on. Tonight we did a really nice job as a team of doing that.”

Calvin led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but Cornerstone exploded on a 22-3 run. Corbin Donaldson had back to back buckets to give the Golden Eagles a 67-64 lead with 3:48 remaining. It was Cornerstone’s first lead since the opening minutes of the game.

“It was a game of runs,” coach Kevin VandeStreek said. “We just couldn’t make a shot down the stretch. We had some good looks and it seemed like any one of those could have ended the run. We just couldn’t get it in. (Cornerstone) stayed after it; that’s what good teams do.”

Mantel scored his career high 27-points on 10 of 17 shooting and hit two of four from three-point range. Mantel was five of five from the free-throw line and had nine rebounds, one shy of a career high. Mantel’s previous career high was a 22-point effort in a loss to Albion on January 19, 2007.

“John’s had a really good year from a practice stand point,” VandeStreek said. “We were a little disappointed with some things last night, but we really challenged him today to get to the offensive board better. He did that and obviously made some huge baskets down the stretch.”

Mantel had to battle through an early ankle injury and was Calvin’s only production in the post.

“I got hit so much today,” Mantel said. “I’m used to it because in practice we just kill each other. One of our big game plans is to get the ball in the post. We have so many options when we put the ball in the post.”

Caleb Veldhouse (Sioux Falls Christian), who sat the final 10 minutes of the first half with three fouls, scored 15 points, including seven straight to give Calvin a 44-35 lead to open the second half. His fourth double-digit effort of the year moves him past Holland Christian coach Mickey Phelps (1970) and Tom Newhof (1958) and into seventh place on the all-time Calvin career scoring chart.

Veltema added 10 points, including the game winner. Veltema is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11 points per game. A year ago, he averaged just six points per game. Calvin led by as many as nine points in the first half, and led 37-35 at halftime.

Cornerstone’s Kelvin DeVries hit five three-pointers and shot six of six from the free-throw line to lead the Golden Eagles with a 21-point effort. DeVries fueled Cornerstone’s 22-3 second half run with two three-pointers, including one to cut Calvin’s 16-point lead to two points with five minutes remaining.

“They would float him out to the backside all the time,” VandeStreek said. “What they really do well is penetrate. If they beat you off the dribble, you have to come up to help or you’re going to give up the layup and he’s waiting for the three.”

Cornerstone led 71-69 with under two minutes to play before Trent Salo hit his only three-pointer of the game to give Calvin the lead with 1:19 to play. DeVries answered with two free throws and Dominic Allen also added one from the charity stripe to give the Golden Eagles a 74-72 lead with 30 seconds remaining.

As Salo tried to create an open look for the equalizer, Mantel was fouled away from the ball. He hit both free throws to force overtime. Mantel scored the first five points of overtime to give Calvin a 79-75 lead. DeVries hit a three-pointer and Caleb Simons, who had 14 points, hit a jumper to give Cornerstone a three point lead with 1:40 remaining.

Danny Rodts, who had a nine points, and Dustin Smith, who had eight points, each hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 82-81. Veltema’s jumper put Calvin in front and Dustin Smith’s free throws gave the Knights a three-point lead. DeVries missed two three’s in the final 15 seconds.

Calvin is now 11-9 all-time in the Hall of Fame Classic. The Knights entered the consolation game with a 78-73 loss to Aquinas in Friday’s first round game. It marked just the second time in Calvin’s ten appearances in the annual Thanksgiving weekend tournament that the Knights missed the championship game.

In Saturday’s championship game, Aquinas defeated Hope 58-46 to claim the tournament title for the second consecutive year. Aquinas also joined Calvin as one of only two teams to defeat Hope inside the DeVos Fieldhouse.

Calvin and Hope will represent the MIAA in the CCIW/MIAA challenge next weekend at Wheaton College. Calvin will face Wheaton at 8 p.m. CST/9 p.m. EST on Friday. The Knights will take on Carthage at 1 p.m. CST/2 p.m. EST on Saturday. 

NOTES: Caleb Veldhouse is seventh on the all-time Calvin career scoring list with 1,377 points… Veldhouse needs 380 points to pass Chris Knoester (1994) and move into sixth on the all-time scoring list… Coach Kevin VandeStreek gets win 248 and is six wins away from tying Ed Douma on the all-time Calvin career wins list…Calvin is now 9-13 in its last 22 overtimes games and 3-3 in overtime games over the last four years. In addition to Mantel, the all-tournament team included Kelvin DeVries (Cornerstone), Peter Bunn (Hope), Jesse Reimink (Hope), John Lierman (Aquinas), Pedja Lazic (Aquinas) with Lazic receiving tournament MVP honors.

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