By Mark DeHaan
Looking to rebound from their first loss of the season, the Knights men's basketball team hosted the Spartans of Manchester University on Tuesday evening.
Despite an even opening to the game, Calvin busted the game open in the first half, seeing its lead grow to as much as 19 points. A strong surge from the Spartans in the second half then threatened the Calvin lead, but the Knights held Manchester at bay to claim a 74-56 win.
The teams fought evenly through the opening six minutes of the contest, with Calvin gaining just a single-point advantage with 14:06 to go in the first.
The next five minutes was all Knights. An 18-0 run for Calvin, with seven Knights contributing points, allowed Calvin to build a 29-10 lead.
Holding on to the double-digit advantage through the rest of the half, the Knights led 42-26 at the break.
Sophomore Brad Visser had nine points at the break to lead Calvin, while senior Jordan Brink added eight in the opening stanza.
In the second half, a 7-0 run out of the half saw the Knights build its largest lead of the game at 47-26.
Manchester then began to slowly chip away at Calvin's lead. With 14:27 to go, the Spartans cut their deficit to 50-35.
Ninety seconds later, back-to-back threes by Manchester's Brody Kirby brought the Spartans to within ten at 51-41 with 12:59 remaining.
A three-pointer from Brink brought Calvin's lead back up to 62-43 with 9:50 to go, but Manchester still wouldn't go away.
Playing strong defense, the Spartans held the Knights more than six minutes without a field goal. In that span, Manchester drew to within six, bringing the score to 62-56.
A three-pointer by junior Austin Parks broke the dry spell with 3:13 to go, and Calvin regained a double-digit lead at 66-56.
The Knights then scored the final eight points of the contest, closing out a 74-56 victory.
Calvin played strong defense all game long, holding the Spartans to 34.5% shooting. The Knights shot 38.2% themselves, also out-rebounding the Spartans 46-39.
Calvin was led on offense by Brink who scored 23 points. Junior Jordan Daley added a near triple-double with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists, while Visser was also in double figures with 12 points.
Matt Brown led the Spartans with 14 points while Brody Kirby chipped in 11.
"It was great to get back in the win column. When it was all said and done, we won by 18, and you have to feel really good," said head coach Kevin VandeStreek. "I thought defensively we were better. That is a good offensive team and a hard team to guard."
The Knights improve to 3-1 with the win while the Spartans fall to 1-3.
Calvin now looks forward to this weekend when it will take part in the annual Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Tournament. The Knights will face off with the Aquinas College Saints Friday evening at 8 p.m., then play the Cornerstone College Golden Eagles on Saturday at 6 p.m. All games will be played at Aquinas College.