GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's basketball team opened its season with a 76-62 win over Grace Christian University on Thursday night at Calvin's Hoogenboom Gym.
The Knights took a quick lead and held it for the remainder of the game to start the year 1-0.
A member of the National Christian College Athletic Association conference, the Tigers had played four games prior to facing the Knights and fall to 3-2 on the season.
The Knights posted a 50.9% field goal percentage in the winning effort. Calvin outrebounded Grace Christian 40-28 on the evening.
Calvin built an early 8-2 lead as junior Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian) scored six early points. The Tigers cut the deficit to three before sophomore Thad Shymanski (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) went on a five-point run to give the Knights a 15-7 lead just over five minutes into the game.
As the midpoint of the half neared, Grace Christian's Brandon Winchester-Jones hit a three to make the score 19-15, still in favor the Knights. The two teams exchanged points until senior Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian) knocked down a three to put Calvin up by seven. Winchester-Jones answered with a triple for the Tigers, but Calvin responded with a seven-point run to early an 11-point advantage.
In the final five minutes of the first half, Grace outscored Calvin 12-6 to trail 37-32 at the break. The Tigers' Winchester-Jones and Austin Jackson combined for 27 of Grace's points.
The Knights heated up to drain nine three-point field goals in the second half, shooting 60% from behind the arc.
DeVries kicked off the second half by sinking a three, but the Tigers responded with back-to-back buckets. DeWitte and senior Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) answered with two straight Calvin threes to give Calvin a 46-37 lead.
The Tigers used a run to make it a five-point game, forcing a Calvin timeout with just under fifteen minutes remaining. Shymanski delivered a timely three-pointer out of the break to put the home team up 51-43.
Calvin built a fifteen-point lead as Calvin connected on a trio of threes, courtesy of DeWitte, DeVries and Bos. The Tigers chipped the lead to ten points, but Shymanski continued to carry the Knights' offense, sinking his fourth three-pointer before laying one in minutes later. With just under five minutes left to play, Calvin held a 69-57 lead and Grace Christian called timeout.
The Knights maintained their double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest as the Tigers were unable to stage a comeback effort, and Calvin rolled to its first victory of the season.
DeVries led the Knights with 23 points, also collecting six rebounds and four assists. Shymanski finished with 16 points and four boards, while DeWitte posted 14 points. Bos led the Knights with 10 rebounds, also chipping in eight points.
The Knights are set to play Davenport in an exhibition game next Monday. Calvin is back in regular season action next Friday, November 16, when it hosts Illinois Wesleyan at 7:30 p.m.