Veldhouse Adds Another Chapter To Calvin-Hope Rivalry
Thursday, February 12, 2009
By Bruce Van Baren
Caleb Veldhouse watched the video clip of his three-pointer to beat Hope on the big screen along with the 4,632 fans that packed VanNoord Arena Wednesday night.
It played along with some of the biggest moments in Calvin men’s basketball history just seconds before tip off of the 171st edition of “The Rivalry.”
Veldhouse’s memorable triple played with Aaron Winkle’s miracle three-pointer to force overtime in Calvin’s 2000 win over Hope and Mark Lodewyk’s alley-oop dunk from Matt Harrison in a quarterfinal win over Otterbein during Calvin’s 1992 championship run.
In case Veldhouse hadn’t already cemented his legacy as a Knight, the senior guard added another chapter in the first meeting with Hope at VanNoord Arena.
After his third three-pointer of the game put Calvin within striking distance, Veldhouse found an open Matt Veltema who dropped the game winning layup with 2.7 seconds remaining.
“You can’t say enough about Caleb,” Veltema said. “He’s going to step up and make those plays all the time.”
Veldhouse started the game 0 for 8, but led Calvin with 19 points. The clutch three-pointer was his only three-point field goal of the half.
“Caleb has just done it over and over in his career,” coach Kevin Vande Streek said. “It’s not always the game winner; but he’s awfully clutch.”
Veldhouse first experienced the rivalry as a junior in high school, sitting courtside to the stage he would leave his mark on two years later.
“This rivalry is the exact reason I came here,” Veldhouse said. “This is the biggest stage any of us will probably ever play on. You just have to savor the moment and enjoy it.”
Veldhouse and the Knights swept the regular season series from Hope for the first time in his career and the first time since 2002.
“It feels great,” Veldhouse said. “This is a big win and it propels us closer to the conference championship which we haven’t won either.”
The Knights (15-6, 10-1 MIAA) gave themselves a two game cushion over the Flying Dutchmen (15-7, 8-3 MIAA).
“(The rivalry) is pretty remarkable,” Veldhouse said. “You come in as a freshman and you’re kind of bamboozled a little bit. You’re like, ‘O my goodness, look at all these people.’ But as you get older you know how to compose yourself a little better.”
Veldhouse seemed to lose that composure when he missed two free throws with 1:31 left in the game. Statistically Calvin’s second best free throw shooter, Veldhouse would have tied the game 60-60 with the two tosses.
Instead the Knights trailed 60-58 and 62-58 after Peter Bunn, who led the Dutchmen with 21 points, stuck in a layup with 1:04 remaining.
“We needed to get a stop and we didn’t get the stop,” Veldhouse said. “There’s extra pressure and you just have to make a play at that point.”
Veldhouse took charge as he has throughout his career and made the needed play. Veldhouse drained a deep, straight on three-pointer over Hope’s Jessie Reimink to cut the deficit to 62-61 with 54 seconds remaining.
“I was a little ticked off I missed those free throws and I wanted to make up for it and shot it in,” Veldhouse said.
Reimink missed a three-pointer on the ensuing play and Tim Katt grabbed the rebound with 15.1 seconds left. Vande Streek called on Veldhouse to execute a familiar play.
“It’s not that complicated,” Vande Streek said. “We just give him the ball and get out of the way. It’s hard to defend especially when you have a great player that you can just give the ball to.”
Veldhouse had some extra thoughts into the huddle after Vande Streek called out the play.
“Caleb said in the timeout, ‘If they come trap me, someone has to step up and win the game,’” Vande Streek said.
Veltema didn’t have to knock down an outside shot, but he dropped the game winning layup.
“Veltema is an extremely smart player and knew exactly where to go,” Veldhouse said. “Sure enough he was right there ready to lay it in.