Men’s Basketball Upset By Kalamazoo in MIAA Regular Season Finale
Saturday, February 21, 2009
MIAA TOURNAMENT TICKET INFORMATION: Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:30pm - doors open at 6:30pm.
General Admission tickets for Wednesday’s game will be on sale at the Box Office on Monday, February 23 from 12:00pm - 5:00pm, and Tuesday and Wednesday, February 24 and 25 from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Tickets will also be sold at the Arena starting at 6:30pm on Wednesday.
By Bruce Van Baren
KALAMAZOO – Kalamazoo upset Calvin 68-66 in the regular season finale Saturday at Anderson Athletic Center. The Hornets snapped Calvin’s eight game winning streak and gave the Knights just their second loss in the MIAA.
Calvin (17-7, 12-2) clinched the outright MIAA championship with a win over Albion at Van Noord Arena on Wednesday. The Knights also hold the top seed in the MIAA tournament and will host a first round conference game on Wednesday.
Despite having the conference title and top conference tournament seed secured, coach Kevin Vande Streek said the Knights had a lot to play for in their regular season finale.
“There were a lot of things to play for today,” Vande Streek said. “We’ve been talking all week about taking a step forward and wanting to become a great team and building momentum going into the conference tournament.”
The Hornets (9-15, 5-9 MIAA) won their first game against an opponent with a winning record.
“We knew that they were really looking for a signature win,” Vande Streek said. “I didn’t have us ready to play today and that’s where the buck stops. We just didn’t have the same urgency that we would have liked to have.”
Henry McCain, who led the Hornets with 16 points, hit the game winner with four ticks remaining. Backing into the right block, McCain turned away from the pain and banked in a difficult floater from the baseline.
“I knew he was going to get it,” Zoerhof who was defending him. “I felt I was in good position. He kind of got me back a little bit, but he made a tough shot. He’s a good player.”
McCain deflected Calvin’s ensuing inbound pass out of bounds, setting Calvin up near half court with two seconds on the clock.
Zoerhof inbounded to John Mantel (Chelsea HS) who was open under the hoop. Two defenders crashed and were able to disrupt the layup.
“We knew they were going to key on Caleb so we had John rolling to the hoop,” Zoerhof said. “He was in good position, it just didn’t go in.”
After scoring a career high 16 points against Albion on Wednesday, Danny Rodts (Niles HS) led the Knights for the second straight game with 15 points. Rodts also had a put back to tie the game 66-66 with just over 30 seconds left.
“He’s a good offensive player, but he just hasn’t looked to score,” Vande Streek said. “We’ve talked to him about being a little more aggressive. He seemed to really gain a lot of confidence against Albion and had another really nice day today.”
Calvin was outrebounded for just the second time in the MIAA. The Knights lead the MIAA in rebounding margin (+10 rpg) and defensive field goal percentage.
The Hornets, who are ranked last in the MIAA in field goal percentage (39-percent), shot 55-percent from the field, including 65.4% in the first half, and out rebounded Calvin 36-33.
“I want to give (Kalamazoo) credit that they came ready to play,” Vande Streek said. “But I’m disappointed we couldn’t do a better job in those two areas.”
Kalamazoo led by as many as seven points in the first half, but Calvin cut the deficit to 37-33. The Hornets built a 12-point lead in the second half, but the Knights closed to force the dramatic ending.
“You have to just let it go,” Zoerhof said. “It’s a new season now. It’s win or go home. I think we can get a quick turn around here and have it be a wakeup call and say let’s get ready to go.”
NOTES: Calvin will host either Trine or Alma at 7:30 p.m. inside Van Noord Arena on Wednesday… Calvin swept the season series from each team… If the Knights win their first round MIAA tournament game, they will host the tournament semi-finals and finals on Friday (6 p.m./8 p.m.) and Saturday (7:30 p.m.)… Calvin also lost its regular season finale last season… A year ago, Calvin advanced to the MIAA tournament championship game, but lost to Hope.