GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's basketball team claimed a decisive 94-72 victory over the Adrian College Bulldogs. Leading by three at halftime, the Knights used a strong offensive effort to outscore the Bulldogs 54-35 in the second half.
With the win, Calvin improves to 7-12 overall and 3-5 in MIAA play, only two games out of first place. Adrian falls to 14-5 with a 5-3 conference mark. Saturday's game marked the beginning of the second half of the MIAA schedule. In the first meeting of the year between the two teams at Adrian, the Bulldogs defeated Calvin 76-67.
"I think we guarded the ball way better today than the first time around," said Calvin head coach Kevin Vande Streek. "We tried to do it with five guys. Individually, they are much quicker than we are, so we really tried to crowd the ball and keep them out of the lane."
Calvin shot 50% from the field in the victory, including 53.1% from behind the arc. The Knights broke a school record on Saturday, firing off 32 three-point attempts.
The Bulldogs scored first, but sophomore Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) responded with a three-pointer. After another Adrian bucket, DeVries answered with two more points. Sophomore Tom Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) followed by draining a deep triple before DeVries added a three of his own. After the Knights' eight-point run, the scoreboard showed 11-4 and the Bulldogs were forced to call a timeout less than four minutes into the contest.
Out of the break, the Bulldogs responded with an eight-point run to take a one-point lead. Senior Tony Canonie (South Haven, Mich./South Haven) earned back the Knights' lead, scoring a layup and three-pointer. After a Bulldogs bucket, freshman Luke Morrison (Bristol, Ind./Northridge) knocked down a triple to make the score 19-14 with just over 12 minutes left in the half.
After free throws on both ends, the Bulldogs strung together five straight points to knot the score at 21 with just over nine minutes remaining before halftime. Buckets by junior Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian) helped the Knights earn and maintain a three-point advantage. With 6:30 left in the half, a free throw by freshman Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich./Coloma) made the score 28-24, but a four-point run by the Bulldogs tied the score once again.
The Knights responded with six unanswered points, courtesy of Bykerk and senior Michael Wilks (Hudsonville, Mich./ Unity Christian). The Bulldogs responded, tying the score at 34 with just over two minutes left in the half. DeVries hit a three to give the Knights the lead, but Adrian answered with a three-pointer of its own to even the score again. With under a minute to go, another three by DeVries gave Calvin a 40-37 lead that they would take into the halftime break.
Calvin came out the break strong, scoring five quick points to lead by eight. Adrian responded with a three-pointer, but the Knights continued to roll as DeVries added five more points to give the home team a 50-40 lead. After an Adrian three-pointer, a pair of free throws by Bykerk and a triple by Canonie widened Calvin's advantage to 12. The Bulldogs pushed back, using an 8-2 run to cut the deficit to six points.
The two teams exchanged points until the midpoint of the half neared and Calvin's offense found its groove. Junior Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez (Wyoming, Mich./Wyoming) kicked off a 12-2 Calvin run, cutting down the lane for a layup. Bykerk followed with a big dunk before Adrian knocked down a three. The Bulldogs had no answer for the Knights' offense, as buckets by Luke Morrison, Walter and DeVries put Calvin up 71-56 with just under seven minutes left to play.
With just under five minutes remaining Wilks went off for seven straight points, converting on an old-fashioned four-point play and then hitting a three to give the Knights a 21-point lead.
Calvin's bench maintained the Knights' momentum in the final minutes of play. Junior Isaiah McLaughlin (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) added a point, while freshmen Forrest Bouyer (Lansing, Mich./Lansing) and Emmet Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) each hit three-pointers as the Knights rolled to a decisive 24-point victory.
DeVries led all players with 29 points, including a career-high seven three-pointers. Bykerk had a strong game with 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
"I thought we handled the double team in the post much better," said Vande Streek. "Austin Bykerk was outstanding today, not only in scoring, but he also had a bunch of good passes that led to baskets."
Canonie and Wilks posted 11 points apiece, and Canonie had a team-high seven assists. Luke Morrison finished with eight points, while Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) snagged six rebounds. The Calvin bench contributed 28 points in the winning effort. Calvin outrebounded Adrian 37-23.
The Knights are back in action on Wednesday when they welcome Alma (7-12, 4-4 MIAA) to Van Noord Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.