By Mark DeHaan
ADRIAN - The Calvin men's basketball team traveled to Adrian College for an early season conference contest against the Bulldogs. With both teams entering with 2-0 records, the matchup was also a battle for first place as the Knights and Bulldogs were the only two teams with unblemished records in the MIAA.
With five minutes to go in the game, Calvin led by just three points. But, with the game winding down, the Knights went on an 11-2 run to close out the game and claim a 61-49 victory.
The teams fought evenly over the opening minutes, and on a three-pointer by freshman Connor VanderBrug, the Knights tied the game at 8-8.
A 7-0 run by Calvin then gave the Knights a 15-8 lead. Calvin's largest lead of the first half came at 21-13 with 6:38 to go.
In the closing minutes of the opening half, Adrian held the Knights to a single field goal, cutting Calvin's lead to 25-23 at halftime.
At the break, senior Tyler Dykstra had six points for Calvin while Ben Rodak had nine for Adrian. The Knights shot just 37.5% in the first half, but also held the Bulldogs to 34.6%.
Out of the half, after Adrian tied the ball game on a layup, back-to-back threes and a layup from the Knights put Calvin ahead 33-25.
Nine straight points by the Bulldogs then gave the hosts the lead for the first time since the opening minutes at 34-33 with 13:33 remaining in the game.
The teams then fought back and forth, and with 4:36 to go, Calvin held a three point advantage at 52-49.
Over the remaining minutes, the Knights held Adrian to 0-for-7 shooting from the field, all the while hitting 5-of-6 free throws from the line, icing the game and earning a 61-49 victory.
Calvin hit 43.5% of its field goals for the game, holding the Bulldogs to 38.9% shooting. The Knights out-rebounded Adrian 39-21.
Individually, junior Austin Parks was the only Knight in double-figures with 10 points. Dykstra, senior Jordan Brink and junior Jordan Daley each added nine points while VanderBrug and sophomore Cameron Denney contributed seven.
For Adrian, Justin Webster scored 13 points and Ben Rodak added 12.
"I'm really proud of our guys. I thought that the second half, we really adjusted to the physical play and moved the ball better, cut harder, and made some big shots – just enough to get ahead five or six, then make big free throws down the stretch" said head coach Kevin VandeStreek. "A variety of guys made big plays and big shots, and that's why we had the balanced scoring."
With the win, Calvin improves to 3-0 in the MIAA and 10-4 overall. Adrian falls to 4-10 overall and 2-1 in conference play.
The Knights now look forward to Saturday when they welcome Kalamazoo College to Van Noord Arena. The weekend contest is scheduled to tip-off at 3:00 p.m.