GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Calvin came up with crucial plays down the stretch to claim a 74-70 victory over rival Hope Wednesday night in front of more than 3,200 fans at Van Noord Arena.
The victory bumps the Knights to the 7-7 overall and more importantly to 2-1 in league play heading into a key conference contest at Trine Saturday afternoon.
Wednesday's rivalry victory came in the 199th meeting between the two schools in men's basketball. It marked Calvin's first victory over the Flying Dutchmen at Van Noord Arena since 2015.
Junior Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian HS) tallied a game-high 29 points including 21 in the first half to lead the Knights to the win. DeVries converted a layup with 24 seconds remaining and added two more free throws with seven second left to give Calvin a 71-68 lead. After Hope junior Riley Lewis connected on a pair of free throws with five seconds left to bring the Flying Dutchmen within one, the Knights were fouled and went back to the line with three seconds left.
Calvin missed the front end of a bonus opportunity at the line but freshman Carson Meulenberg (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian HS) was able to tip the rebound to teammate Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian HS). DeWitte was fouled with a second left and swished both free throws. Hope turned the ball over on the inbounds and was forced to foul again. Senior Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian HS) then sealed the win with a free throw with three-tenths of a second remaining.
"The game was like so many Calvin-Hope games," said Calvin men's basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "It was very evenly matched. I thought Hope played really hard, competitive and tough and I thought our guys did as well. We got a little bit of a lead early and then it was a game of countering back and forth."
Calvin hit seven of its first nine shots in racing out to a 17-6 lead. DeVries had 10 of Calvin's initial 17 as he started the game out with a bang.
Hope (8-6 overall, 1-2 MIAA) chipped back into the Calvin lead, trailing 22-19 and later 28-27. Calvin stretched its lead back to six at 37-31 on a driving layup by sophomore Thad Shymanski (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) but Hope senior Jason Beckman nailed a three-pointer at the first half buzzer to bring the Flying Dutchmen within three at the break.
Calvin never trailed in the second half but could never shake the Flying Dutchmen. The Knights led 56-46 on a baseline dunk by Meulenberg with 10:46 left but Hope rattled off six unanswered points to trail by four.
DeWitte nailed a clutch triple in transition to gie Calvin a 63-54 lead with 5:26 left but Lewis was able to connect on a pair of three-pointer shots as well as a pull-up two in the lane. The second three-pointer by Lewis came with nine seconds left from the left wing with a defender in his face. DeVries was then fouled with seven seconds remaining to set up the frantic final finish.
"Free throws are something we practice a lot," said DeVries. "It was a matter of taking a deep breath and knocking a few in. We also had some key offensive rebounds in the final minute."
Calvin finished the game with 15 offensive rebounds and held an overall 41-26 rebounding edge. DeWitte joined DeVries in double figures in scoring with 12 points while Shymanski had eight points and Bykerk seven points. Senior Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich./Coloma HS) gave the Knights a big boost off the bench with six points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Calvin's bench outscored Hope's reserves 13-3.
Saturday's game at Trine is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.