By Gina de Haan
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's basketball team claimed a hard-fought 79-75 overtime victory over non-conference opponent Carthage College.
Saturday's contest was closely contested as the lead exchanged hands 10 times and the score was tied 12 times. After trailing for most of the first half, the Knights went on a 12-2 run to lead 41-33 lead at the halftime break. Carthage pushed back in the second half, closing out regulation play with nine straight points to force overtime. Calvin went 5-6 from the line in overtime to outscore the Red Men 9-5 and earn the victory.
With the win Calvin improves to 3-6 on the season. The Knights have yet to face an MIAA opponent. The Red Men fall to 5-4 overall.
Carthage is a member of the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW). A year ago, the two teams met at Carthage with Calvin claiming an 88-83 road win.
In the first half, the Knights connected on 17-33 shots from the field, including 6-10 from behind the arc. Sophomore Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) drove Calvin's offense, racking up 14 first-half points.
The teams exchanged points for the first six minutes of the contest until Carthage's Brad Perry scored back-to-back buckets in the paint to give the Red Men a 14-12 lead and force a Calvin timeout. Out of the break, freshman Luke Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) hit a jumper to knot the score, but the Red Men responded with four straight points. As the midpoint of the half neared, a jumper by DeVries was answered by five Carthage points to make the score 23-16.
DeVries responded with a three-pointer on the other end of the court to make it a four-point game. After a Carthage bucket, junior Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez (Wyoming, Mich./Wyoming) scored four straight points to make the score 25-23 with just under six minutes remaining in the half.
After Brad Kruse snapped a three-minute Carthage dry spell, back-to-back buckets by junior Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian) tied the score at 27. With just over three minutes to play before halftime Amoros-Gutierrez scored on a fastbreak to give the Knights their first lead of the evening.
Calvin's offense heated up late in the first half as DeVries connected on back-to-back threes to give the Knights a 35-31 lead. After a Carthage bucket, the Knights went on a 6-0 run to close out the final minute of the half as Bykerk, DeVries and Luke Morrison scored.
Calvin headed into the locker room with a 41-33 lead.
Carthage held the Knights scoreless for the first three minutes of the second half, chipping the lead to two points. Sophomore Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) scored Calvin's first bucket of the half and, after a pair of Carthage free throws, sophomore Tom Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) added a triple to give the Knights a five-point lead.
The Red Men responded with a dunk and a three-pointer to tie the score at 46 with just over 14 minutes remaining. Carthage's Derek Mason made a layup to retake the lead, but Luke Morrison answered with a layup for Calvin.
After free throws on both ends, Bykerk came up with a big block that led to a tip-in by Luke Morrison on the other end of the court. The Red Men tied the score at 52, but Luke Morrison scored again to give the Knights the advantage as the midpoint of the half neared.
Carthage tied the score for the fifth time in the half before junior Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich./Coloma) knocked down a timely three. Walter's bucket sparked a 7-0 Calvin run as DeVries followed with four points, including an and-one three-point play. With just over eight minutes left to play, the Knights held a 61-54 lead.
The Red Men pushed back again to cut the deficit to one point. Senior Tony Canonie (South Haven, Mich./South Haven) hit a three to maintain Calvin's lead. After over a minute of no scoring, Bykerk capitalized on a pair of free throws to give the Knights a 66-60 advantage.
Carthage found itself in foul trouble late in the contest and the Knights capitalized on four free throws to earn a nine-point lead.
The Red Men held the Knights scoreless for the next three minutes while scoring six points to make it a two-point game. With just under one minute remaining, Carthage called its final timeout and scored out of the break to tie to score at 70.
After a Calvin timeout, both teams failed to capitalize and the Knights headed into overtime for the first time this season.
The Red Men took a lead early in overtime, but a bucket by Bykerk gave the Knights a 76-75 lead before Carthage called timeout.
Carthage had a chance to take the lead with free throws, but failed to capitalize on both attempts. On the other end of the court, Luke Morrison knocked down a free throw to make the score 77-75 still in favor of the Knights.
The Red Men failed to convert on a final shot attempt and Bykerk came down with the rebound and was immediately fouled. Bykerk converted on both bonus shots to lift the Knights to a four-point victory.
Four Knights posted double digits in scoring in the victory. Bykerk led Calvin with 19 points and nine rebounds. DeVries followed with 18 points and six boards. Luke Morrison finished with 13 points, five boards and four assists, while Canonie recorded 10 points, seven assists and six boards. Bos added six rebounds, five points and five assists.
Calvin shot 44.3% from the floor, including 47.4% from three-point range, while Carthage connected on 38.6% of its shots, shooting only 21.9% from behind the arc. The Knights outrebounded the Red Men 45-38.
The Knights are back in action December 29 and 30 as they travel to Washington to compete in the Whitworth Men's Classic. Calvin will face Puget Sound on Friday 9 p.m. EST and then matchup against host Whitworth on Saturday at 9 p.m. EST.