HOLLAND, Mich. - In a game fitting of the 200th edition of the storied Calvin-Hope men's basketball rivalry, Calvin secured an 82-80 victory in front of a sold-out crowd of nearly 3,600 fans at DeVos Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
The victory allowed Calvin to sweep the regular season series from Hope for the first time since the 2015 MIAA season. It also marked the first time since 2001 that Calvin has won the first meeting between the two rivals in Grand Rapids and then traveled to Holland to win the return matchup.
More importantly it bumps Calvin into sole possession of fourth place in the MIAA standings at 5-4 in conference play. The Knights are now 10-10 overall heading into a Monday night conference contest at Alma.
The Knights fought off the home crowd early behind a three-point barrage by junior Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS). With only 14 three-point field goals to his credit heading into Saturday, Bos connected on four three-point field goals in the opening 4:01 of the game to stake Calvin to stake Calvin to a 14-8 lead.
Hope (11-9 overall, 4-5 MIAA) answered with a 9-2 run to take a 17-16 lead. A dunk by Calvin senior Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian HS) put the Knights back on top 18-17. The game then featured a series of runs. Hope vaulted into a 26-20 lead but the Knights responded with 12 unanswered points to build a 32-26 advantage with senior Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez (Wyoming, Mich./Wyoming HS) scoring six of Calvin's 12 points in the spurt.
Hope responded with a 10-4 run to tie the game at 36 with under a minute to play. A jumper by junior Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian HS) put the Knights back on top 38-36 with 11 seconds remaining in the half and after a Hope three-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer, Calvin carried a two-point lead into halftime.
Calvin opened the second half on a 10-2 scoring run to take a 48-38 lead with 16:24 still remaining on the clock.
Hope then mounted a series of runs with Calvin mounting a series of counter-punches.
The Flying Dutchmen pulled to within three at 63-60 on a three-point shot by senior Jason Beckman. The Knights then rattled off a 10-2 run to build a 73-62 lead with 4:41 remaining. Bykerk was a catalyst in the run, connecting on back-to-back shots to give Calvin a double-digit lead.
Hope refused to fold and used a pair of three-pointers by junior Riley Lewis to claw back into the game. DeVries connected on the first of two free throws to give Calvin an 82-80 lead with 4.6 seconds remaining. His second was off the mark and Hope pushed the ball up the floor. Beckman attempted a well-defended shot that was off the mark and after the buzzer, giving the Knights their ninth-ever win over Hope at DeVos Fieldhouse including their second in the last three years.
"It was another classic Calvin-Hope game," said Calvin men's basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "It was two very evenly-matched teams playing incredibly hard in a physical game. I thought we did a good job of executing at the end other than missing a free throw or two. The other thing I would say is that we got out to a quick lead and once Hope came back to take the lead, we didn't crumble. We stayed focused, kept the game close and maintained our poise."
After being held in check for most of the first half with double-teams, DeVries came alive in the second half to finish with a team-high 18 points to go with nine rebounds. DeVries led a balanced Calvin scoring attack as five Knights hit double-digits in scoring. Bos notched a career-high 17 points while Bykerk had 16, Amoros-Gutierrez 14 and senior Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich./Coloma HS) 12 points. Hope was led by Lewis with 24 points while sophomore center Preston Granger had 23 and Beckman 19.
According to Vande Streek, the game was one of constant adjustments for both sides. "There was a lot of strategy throughout the course of the game on both sides," said Vande Streek. "It was how people were defending and how they were reacting to it. Hope chose to run two guys at Derick (DeVries) for awhile. Alex Bos stepped up and made some shots but he was also open because of the double-teams on Derrick."
Vande Streek also cited the strong play of Bykerk, particularly in crunch time in the second half. "When it gets spread out and the defense is hugging your guy, you need someone to put the ball on the floor and take it to the basket," said Vande Streek. "I thought Austin was great with that today. Just great. He had a nice floater at a key point. It was a strong take to the basket and he was just determined to get it done."
Hope outrebounded Calvin 35-34, marking only the fifth time in 20 tries that the Knights have been outboarded this season. Calvin shot 49.2 percent from the field however and were 17 of 27 (.630) at the free throw line. Hope shot 50.8 percent from the floor and was 10 of 11 (.909) at the charity stripe.
After turning the ball over 17 times in a 74-70 win over Hope on January 9, Calvin turned the ball over time just eight times Saturday.
After 200 meetings, Hope leads the all-time series 103-97 but Calvin has now won five of the last seven meetings. Seven of the last 10 meetings have been decided by five points or less.
Calvin's game at Alma on Monday is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Art Smith Arena.
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