Calvin Men's Basketball Holds Off Albion Comeback Bid in 71-67 Win

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By Gina de Haan

On Wednesday evening the Calvin men's basketball team hosted the Britons of Albion College in the first matchup this season between the two MIAA teams. Despite a late second-half comeback by the Britons, it was the Knights who were victorious, defeating the visitors 71-67.

Jordan Brink hit the first shot of the game, a three-pointer, to give the Knights an early lead, but Albion was reluctant to let that lead grow. The two teams remained within three points of one another for just under three-fourths of the first half.

With 8:05 remaining in the half, Calvin began to pull away. A jumper by Jordan Daley tied the score at seventeen and another bucket from Daley would give the Knights the lead. Brad Visser (Grand Rapids/Calvin Christian HS) contributed to the run with a three-pointer. Brink followed, earning a steal and finishing on a fast-break layup.  Visser then hit another three to cap off the Knights run, giving his team a 27-17 lead late in the first half.

Albion battled back, but with twelve seconds remaining in the first half, Jordan Brink sunk another three to give Calvin a fourteen-point lead. The Knights played solid defense in the final seconds of the half; Dan Stout swatted away a last-second layup attempt by Albion's Robert Ryan, and the Knights headed into the locker room with a 35-21 advantage.

Jordan Brink recorded twelve points in the first half. Dan Stout added seven points, shooting 3-5 from the floor and 1-2 from the line, while Jordan Daleychipped in six and was 3-3 from field goal range. Stout finished the first half with five rebounds while Daley snagged four.

The Knights came out of the break with their first half momentum. Early in the second half of the contest, Stout hit a jumper and Daley made two free-throws to give the Knights a sixteen-point lead, their largest of the game.

However, the Britons weren't willing to give the Knights an easy win. With 15:59 remaining, Zach Hurth hit a three-pointer, cutting Calvin's lead to ten (43-33). The Britons continued to chip away, and with 3:52 left in the game, a three-pointer from Robert Ryan made the score 59-53.

Calvin's Michael Welch quickly answered Ryan's bucket, capitalizing on a three-point play.

With just over a minute remaining in the game and Calvin up 64-54, the Britons made one final attempt at a comeback. Albion's Robert Ryan and Corey Wheeler both hit three-pointers, followed by a pair of free throws from Dakota Kazen to cut Calvin's lead to three points (65-62).

Jordan Daley responded for the Knights, swatting away an attempted layup by Albion's Zach Hurth with twenty-one seconds left on the game clock.

In the final seventeen seconds of the game, the Knights went 6-6 from the free throw line to hold off the visitors, despite their late scoring efforts. Although Albion outscored their hosts 46-36 in the second half, it was not enough to overcome Calvin's first half lead.

"We did a nice job to get up nine or 10 but then made a few mistakes down the stretch but I have to give Albion credit for battling back," said Calvin men's basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "Overall I thought we did a good job. This was a big game because we knew Albion would be tough. To come out on top feels good."

Jordan Brink led the Knights in scoring with nineteen points. Jordan Daley recorded a double-double, contributing twelve points and ten rebounds to the Knights' effort. Daniel Stout also had a solid all-around game, finishing with twelve points, six boards, three blocks, and two steals.

Connor VanderBrug added eleven points and Austin Parks dished out five assists.

Zach Hurth and Travell Oakes led Albion in scoring with thirteen points apiece; Hurth also had seven rebounds, while Oakes finished with six.

On Saturday, the Calvin men's basketball team will travel to Alma College to take on the Scots (5-13 overall, 3-4 MIAA), the second meeting between the two MIAA teams this season. Tip-off is set for 3:00 p.m.