By Mark DeHaan
KENOSHA, WI - The Knights faced the host Red Men of Carthage College on Saturday afternoon in each squads second matchup of the CCIW/MIAA Challenge.
Both teams were looking to get back into the win column on Saturday, with Calvin dropping a 70-66 decision to Wheaton on Friday evening and Carthage falling 73-55 to Hope College.
Against the Red Men, senior Jordan Brink hit a go-ahead jumper with 2.2 seconds to go while a Carthage shot at the buzzer was off the mark as the Knights claimed a 75-73 win.
For the second game in a row, Calvin started the game off slow as Carthage jumped out to a near double-digit lead at 17-8.
A 12-2 run by the Knights, including five points from freshman Connor VanderBrug, swung the game into Calvin's favor at 20-19 as the Knights saw their first lead of the ballgame.
The Red Men responded to see their lead back up to as much as eight at 30-22.
Again, the Knights chipped away at the Carthage advantage, and behind VanderBrug and senior Jordan Brink, the Knights were able to take a 37-35 lead at the break.
At the half, VanderBrug led the Knights with 15 points while Brink added 13 points.
In the second half, Calvin opened up play with five straight points to open up its largest lead of the ball game at 42-35.
The lead didn't last long for the Knights, and with 13:40 to go, the Red Men retook the lead at 46-45 on a jumper by guard Reese Herth.
Calvin then attempted for the second time in the half to pull away from Carthage as the Knights built a 59-52 advantage with 8:16 to go.
The Red Men would not go down without a fight however, and continued to stick with Calvin. With 3:59 to go, Carthage got to within one on a layup at 64-63.
After a trio of free throws from the Knights to put Calvin up 67-63, a 5-0 run from Carthage gave the Red Men their first lead in eight minutes, and with only 1:49 remaining in the game.
A triple by Brink put Calvin ahead with 0:35 to go, but Carthage tied the contest at 73-73 on a three-pointer of its own from Mike Kjeldsen.
With the shot clock turned off, Calvin put the ball into the hands of Brink for the go-ahead shot. With under ten seconds remaining, Brink worked his way to the free-throw line, putting up a fade-away jumper which found the bottom of the net for a 75-73 lead with 2.2 seconds to go.
With one last chance, Carthage guard Donte Logan put up a shot from just outside the three-point line which went off the backboard, then off the rim and fell harmlessly to the hardwood as Calvin escaped with a two-point victory.
Calvin shot 60% from the field, including 9-of-15 three-pointers, also for 60%. The Knights out-rebounded Carthage 30-26, but had 18 turnovers compared to just nine for the Red Men.
Individually, Brink led Calvin with 26 points while VanderBrug added a career-high 23. Senior Tyler Dykstra was also in double-digits with 10 points.
For Carthage, Mike Kjeldsen had 26 points while Reese Herth and Donte Logan each chipped in 14.
"We didn't get the result we wanted last night, and we were upset. The good thing about good players is they come back after games like last night with a chip on their shoulder, and Brink really showed up today," said head coach Kevin Vande Streek. "Today's game was officiated much more closely than yesterday's game. The defense had to give a little more space, and tonight, it helped us with our freedom to move."
Calvin improves to 5-3 with the win while Carthage falls to 3-5.
After scoring 19 points in Friday's loss to Wheaton and adding 26 Saturday, Brink moved up four spots on the Calvin career scoring list. Brink now has 1,134 career points and moved past Kim Campbell, Jim Timmer Jr., Dan Davis and Kyle VanderBrug – father of Connor VanderBrug – over the weekend.
The Knights now have a break of two weeks before returning to Wisconsin for another pair of non-conference games. Calvin will play at Ripon College on Friday, November 19 and at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday, November 20.