Gimme Five - Calvin Men's Basketball Win Streak Extended With Victory at Alma

Gimme Five - Calvin Men's Basketball Win Streak Extended With Victory at Alma

ALMA, Mich. - Calvin remained unbeaten in MIAA play and stretched its win streak to five games with a 95-86 victory at Alma Saturday afternoon.

The Calvin victory snapped Alma's 16-game home court win streak at Art Smith Arena as the Scots dropped their first contest at their home court since an 85-65 loss to Wheaton on December 13, 2014.

Calvin (10-5 overall, 4-0 MIAA) was able to match Alma's high-powered offensive attack in the first half as the Knights trailed just 47-45 at intermission.

Alma (6-9 overall, 2-2 MIAA) shot 56.3 percent from the field in the first half including 8-of-16 from three-point range but Calvin was able to get to the free throw line 16 times and convert 13 charity tosses in the opening 20 minutes to keep pace.

Calvin used a 9-0 run midway through the second half to build a 73-66 lead with 9:30 left, forcing the Scots out of their zone defense and into a man-to-man defensive look. With a decided height advantage, Calvin began to pound the ball inside and did so effectively, shooting 55.6 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes.

The Knights converted six consecutive field goals without a miss from the 5:28 mark to the 2:47 mark to take an 88-80 lead. Junior Michael Wilks (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS had three baskets during the run, en route to finishing with a career-high 28 points.

Alma closed to within six at 92-86 with 23 seconds remaining but a free throw by senior Cam Denney (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell HS) and a steal and breakaway layup by senior Nick Kronemeyer (Hamilton, Mich./Hamilton HS) in the closing moments sealed the win for the Knights.

"At halftime I had to take a deep breath because I wasn't sure if we could keep up with the offensive pace that Alma likes to play with," said Calvin men's basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "To our credit, our guys kept attacking the (Alma) zone and finding ways to score. Once we got a little bit of a lead, Alma had to come out and play us man-to-man. At that point, we really started to pound the ball inside which helped dictate the game in our favor."

In addition to Wilks, senior Michael Welch (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore HS) poured in a career-high 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. He also blocked a shot, was credited with a steal and dished out a pair of assists.

"This was a team win but I thought Michael Welch was really outstanding for us," said Vande Streek. "He asserted himself inside and came up with several key plays. Michael Wilks also had another big game. He is playing his best basketball right now and that is fun to see."

Denney also had a big game, nearly notching a triple-double as he posted 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while turning the ball over only two times. Freshman Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian HS) had 12 points including three triples. Kronemeyer also turned in a gritty backcourt performance, scoring seven points, collecting three assists and snaring a career-high 11 rebounds. Of his 11 rebounds, six were offensive boards.

Calvin shot 47.9 percent from the field and was 21 of 29 (.724) from the free throw line. The Knights were also 6 of 17 from three-point range and are now 7-0 this year in games where they have connected on six or more three-point shots.

Alma shot 50.8 percent overall from the field and was 13 of 27 (.481) from three-point range but Calvin outrebounded Alma 43-31 and scored 17 second chance points against the Scots. Calvin also outscored Alma by eight points at the charity stripe as the Scots were 13 of 20 at the free throw line.

Alma had five players notch double-digits in scoring led by Trevor Gernaat with 16 points.
Calvin continues to share first place in the MIAA standings with rival Hope which also improved to 4-0 with a win at Trine on Saturday. Calvin returns to action next Wednesday when it travels to Kalamazoo for a 7:30 p.m. contest.