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Men’s basketball wins MIAA Tournament with 77-57 victory over Hope

Sunday, February 24, 2013

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Story by Mitch Blankespoor   Photo Credit: Sandy Palmatter and Jeff Febus

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Calvin played host the Flying Dutchmen of Hope College Sat. night at the Van Noord Arena in the MIAA Tournament final.  The meeting marked the 186th time the two rivals have played.  Coming into the game, the Knights were just 1-8 against Hope in MIAA Tournament final games.  Despite its record, Calvin defeated Hope 77-57 in front of 4,293 fans to win its first MIAA Tournament title since 2007.

Hope, who came into the contest with an 18-8 record, gained the early lead with a layup from senior forward Nate Snuggerud (Zeeland/Zeeland East) on the Flying Dutchmen’s first possession.  Calvin sophomore Jordan Brink (Dyer, IN/Illiana Christian) answered on a drive and layup with three seconds remaining on the shot clock.  Brink converted on the old fashioned three-point play, and the Knights led 3-2 in the first minute.

Hope would lead by as many as five in the first half, but a layup from junior center Tyler Kruis (Grandville/Calvin Christian) with 10:27 remaining gave Calvin a lead it would not relinquish.  With the game tied at 17 with 7:34 remaining, Calvin went on a 7-0 run in a little over a minute to take a 24-17 lead.  The Knights would take a 36-28 lead into halftime. 

Snuggerud led all scorers at the break with 10 points.  Calvin senior guard Bryan Powell (Wyoming/Wyoming Park) scored nine while Snikkers tallied seven points and three steals.  Senior point guard David Rietema had five points and four assists.

As a team, Calvin, ranked 15th in the most recent poll by, tallied eight offensive rebounds, and turned the ball over just three times in the first half. 

“We came out with great fire and intensity,” said Calvin head coach Kevin Vande Streek in a postgame interview.  “After the game in Holland, we really stressed getting on the boards and taking care of the basketball.”

As the second half began, Hope cut Calvin’s lead to eight on two separate occasions, but Calvin was not to be denied.  Snikkers started off the second half scoring seven straight points.

A 15-8 run concluding with a deep three-pointer from Powell put the Knights up by 20 with 11:27 remaining.  Calvin held that lead to victory. 

“Tommy had a great second half,” said Vande Streek.  “He scored and rebounded well.”

Snikkers finished with 17 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists.  Powell finished with 18 points while Kruis finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. 

“Back in Holland, I didn’t lead by example,” said Snikkers.  “I didn’t get it done on an emotional level.  I made sure to bring that tonight.”

Snuggerud finished with 17 points and seven rebounds in defeat.  Hope head coach Matt Neil had good words to say about the Knight’s performance. 

“I thought Calvin was very good tonight,” said Neil in a postgame interview.  “They won all the 50-50 balls.  I give them a lot of credit.”

The Knights shot 45.5 percent from the field while holding the Flying Dutchmen to 33.3 percent shooting and just 1-14 from beyond the arc.  Calvin also held a 41-32 rebounding advantage.

“I give all the credit to our bigs,” Powell said.  “I’m the lucky one that gets to shoot.  They do all the work down low, and did a phenomenal job tonight.

With its win, Calvin, now 24-3, earns the MIAA’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA III Men’s Basketball Tournament - a tournament Calvin has not appeared in since the 2006-07 season.
The tournament field will be announced at 12:30 EST Monday, Feb. 25, on a live video stream courtesy of Story

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