GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's basketball team dropped a closely-contested conference matchup against Albion College, falling by a score of 69-61. With the loss, Calvin falls to 6-11 overall and 2-4 in MIAA play. Albion improves to 5-12 overall with a 2-4 conference mark.
Albion used a 12-point run to take an early lead, but Calvin battled back to make it a game that went down to the wire.
With the score tied at seven four minutes into the contest, the Britons used a seven-point run to take an early lead and force a Calvin timeout. Albion added to its scoring streak out of the break, adding five more points before junior Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian) snapped a nearly nine-minute Calvin scoreless spell.
Senior Tony Canonie (South Haven, Mich./South Haven) hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit to eight and, after a pair of Albion free throws, sophomore Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) sunk a triple of his own. With just over seven minutes remaining in the first half, the scoreboard read 21-14 in favor of the Britons.
Albion used an 8-2 run to widen its lead to 13 points. Layups by freshman Luke Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) and Bykerk made the score 29-20, but the Britons responded with five straight points to lead by 14 as the final minute of the half approached. The Knights went three-for-four from the free throw line to close out the half and headed into the break trailing Albion 34-23.
The Knights struggled to get their shots to fall in the first half, hitting 8-of-31 from the floor, including 3-of-11 from three-point range.
Albion built its lead to 17 in the first five minutes of the second half. A big dunk by Bykerk provided a spark for the Knights as senior Michael Wilks (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian) followed with a layup, and Calvin forced back-to-back Albion turnovers. Wilks added a pair of free throws to make it an 11-point game just over seven minutes into the second half.
Another Calvin free throw made the score 45-35, but a quick five points by the Britons gave the visitors a comfortable 15-point advantage. As the midpoint of the half neared, the Knights showed their resilience and went on a six-point run to reduce Albion's lead to single digits. Junior Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian), DeVries and Wilks added two points apiece in the offensive surge.
After an Albion bucket, freshman Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich./Coloma) stepped up for the Knights. With just under six minutes left to play, Bos fed Walter down low for an easy layup and, after a Britons' miss on the other end, Walter drained a three to make the score 52-46 and force an Albion timeout.
Out of the break, the Britons outscored the Knights 6-2 to lead by 10 with just under three minutes remaining in the contest. After points on both ends, Calvin showed its grit once again, as sophomore Tom Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) drained a clutch three to make it a six-point game with just over one minute remaining.
The Britons used a trio of free throws to try to seal the victory, but a three-pointer by Canonie with 53 seconds remaining kept the Knights in the game. Calvin was forced foul and the Britons converted on the free throw opportunity to lead by eight, but Canonie responded once again to make the score 64-58 with 43 seconds left. As Calvin was forced to foul to stop the clock, the Britons added three more points via free throws. DeVries responded by capitalizing on a three-point play, but Albion continued to knock down their free throws and the Knights ran out of town to complete their comeback.
Bykerk led the Knights with 11 points. Canonie finished with 10 points, while DeVries and Walter contributed nine points apiece. Luke Morrison and Wilks posted eight points each, and Morrison posted a team-high 10 rebounds.
The Knights are back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Olivet to face the Comets in another MIAA matchup. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.