Win Streak Over As Knights Fall to Olivet at Van Noord Arena
Thursday, January 22, 2009
By Chaz Amidon
GRAND RAPIDS – The Knights misfired on four straight 3-pointers in the final 37 seconds and their late-game comeback surge was halted, falling 60-57 to Olivet in their first home loss at the Van Noord Arena.
Calvin missed its first six field goal attempts after the break and shot just 27 percent in the second half as head coach Kevin Vande Streek was denied his 255th win – a victory that would have made him the school’s all-time winningest coach.
“You get to a one-possession game, and you hate to be in that because everything has to go right,” said Vande Streek.
It was the Knights’ first conference loss of the 2008-09 season, where Calvin registered four consecutive league wins before withering against a Comets squad that has now won two straight against the Knights.
Before a 82-65 Olivet win on Feb. 23, 2008, Calvin had boasted a 22-game win streak against the Comets.
“The bottom line is, we didn’t show up,” said Matt Veltema. “We didn’t play a full 40 minutes and that’s what it comes down to. Olivet was basically the better team today. They deserved to win that game.”
Veltema led all Calvin scorers with 15 points off the bench. With under 4:00 remaining, he engineered a 7-0 run himself to chisel Olivet’s lead to 58-55, but the Knights converted on only more basket when Mike Zwier drove down the lane for a lay-in with 1:40 left.
On the final possession, Veltema missed one 3-pointer, Caleb Veldhouse failed to connect on two attempts, and John Mantel’s try with 0.8 seconds remaining veered left.
Veldhouse and Mantel – Calvin’s top two scorers at 14.0 and 13.8 points-per-game, respectively – combined to shoot just 7-for-32 from the field throughout.
“We got four chances,” said Dustin Smith, who led all starters with 12 points. “You can’t ask for anything more than that in 30 seconds. They were all tough shots. Frankly, it shouldn’t come down to one last shot.”
Olivet’s Andre Evans tallied a game-high 19 points, dialing in five 3-pointers and sparking a 10-0 Comets run late in the second half. He drilled consecutive long balls with 6:10 left, then Michael McClary, who poured in 16 points and 11 rebounds, capped the scoring drive to give Olivet a 56-48 lead.
“We knew we lost to them before and that it was our home court – we just didn’t show up,” said Smith. “We gave up some offensive rebounds and didn’t get stops when we needed to.”
Calvin jumped out to 6-0 and 7-0 scoring spurts in the first half after trailing 6-2 early, but Olivet cobbled together a 12-2 run right before the half. Evans gave the Comets momentum heading into the break when he nailed a pull-up 15-footer as the buzzer sounded.
Only four Knights – Veltema, Veldhouse, Mantel and Smith – recorded points before halftime as the rest of the team combined to shoot 0-for-4 in the first 20 minutes.
“First half, right off the bat, when we missed two put backs from point blank I have a hard time explaining that,” said Vande Streek.
“We certainly waited to play with passion until about 10 minutes left in the game. It was very disappointing. To not come out enthusiastically or passionately is very disappointing.”
Calvin (9-6, 4-1) will now travel to Albion to take on the Britons this Saturday, game time 3:00 p.m.