By Mark DeHaan
OSHKOSH, WI - After falling to the Redhawks of Ripon College on Friday evening, the Knights rebounded against the Titans of University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Saturday to get back on the winning track.
Behind 21 points from senior Jordan Brink and a 12-for-12 effort from the free throw line that allowed the Knights to ice the game in the closing minutes, the Knights earned a 75-63 victory.
Both teams entered with 5-4 records, looking to avoid dropping to .500 on the season.
In the first half, the teams played evenly as the game saw 11 lead changes.
The Titans jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind a pair of threes from guard Alex Olson. Calvin responded with seven straight to grab a 7-6 advantage.
The teams then traded the lead back and forth, and with 1:49 to go, a three from junior Austin Parks saw the Knights take their largest lead of the first half at 29-24.
Calvin then settled on a 31-29 advantage at the break. Sophomore Brad Visser led Calvin with 8 points at halftime, while AJ Mueller had 14 for the Titans.
Out of the break, a triple from Olson gave Wisconsin-Oshkosh a 36-33 lead minutes in to the second period.
A 16-3 run by Calvin, including a run of four minutes where the Titans were held without a field goal, then gave the Knights a double-digit lead at 49-39.
Back-to-back threes from Olson cut Calvin's advantage to 49-45.
With 7:13 to go, another three from Wisconsin-Oshkosh again cut the Knights lead to four at 53-49, but a 10-0 run for Calvin, with five points provided by Brink, saw the largest margin of the game at 63-49.
With 1:40 remaining, a three-point play by Olson brought the game to 67-58, but that is as close as the Titans would come as Calvin made 8-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to ice the game and earn a 75-63 win.
The Knights shot 52.8% from the field, also hitting 12-of-12 shots from the free throw line. Wisconsin-Oshkosh shot 40% and just 32.1% from three-point range. Calvin out-rebounded the Titans 38-23.
Individually, Brink scored 21 and added six rebounds to lead the Knights. Brink's 21 points move him into 14th on the career scoring list, moving him past former teammate Tyler Kruis. Visser added 13 points, freshman Connor Vander Brug scored 11, and Parks chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
For Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Olson finished with 24 while Mueller added 20.
"We weren't in the bonus until the last three minutes or so, but a lot of clutch free throws; Jordan Brink had two, Tyler Dykstra had two, and Austin Parks had four," said head coach Kevin Vande Streek. "It's been a good semester for us in that we've continued to get better, and hopefully this is a team that continues to build throughout the whole season."
The Knights improve to 6-4 with the win.
Calvin now looks forward to the final non-conference matchup of its season when the Knights make the long road trip to Hancock, Michigan to face Finlandia University on December 31.
The New Year's Eve contest against the Lions is scheduled to tip-off at 1:00 p.m.