Men's Basketball Edged In Overtime By Calvin In 195th Rivalry Game

The 16th-ranked Hope College men's basketball team had an opportunity to achieve a rare feat in Saturday's regular-season finale.

A longtime rival foiled that attempt.

The Flying Dutchmen were looking to become only the third team in school history to go 14-0 in the MIAA play, but fell short in their bid after a 65-62 overtime loss to Calvin College at DeVos Fieldhouse.

Hope, which had the chance to join the 2011 and 1959 teams as the only ones to go unbeaten in MIAA play, managed only one field goal in overtime. The loss in the 195th game of The Rivalry snapped a 13-game win streak this season.

They Flying Dutchmen (20-5, 13-1) still won the MIAA outright and will be the top seed in next weekend's MIAA Tournament. They will face fourth-seeded Alma on Friday at 7:30 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse.

Tickets will go on sale Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Hope College ticket office, 100 East Eighth Street.

Second-seeded Calvin and third-seeded Trine will meet in Friday's 5:30 p.m. semifinal Friday.

"I'm very proud of the 13-1 record these guys have put together and this stings, but as we talked about in the locker room, it's about resiliency and resolve and I know we will bounce back and learn from it and be stronger," Hope coach Greg Mitchell said. "Right now it's a hurting bunch because of how hard they played and how bad they wanted it. It did not go our way today."

In a game that included 22 lead changes, an extra 5 minutes was needed after Hope Dante Hawkins' drive and shot didn't fall.

The game was deadlocked 60-60 after regulation. It was the 12th overtime game in the series with each team winning six times.

A dunk by Cam Denney gave the Knights (15-10, 10-4) a 63-62 lead. A pair of free throws extended it with 18 seconds left.

Senior Chad Carlson, of Rockford (Rockford HS), launched a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer that rimmed out.

"The shot was rushed, but I felt like I could've made it," Carlson said. "It was a tough loss, but time to move forward. We get to play some more, and not many teams get to say that. We have an opportunity to play, and hopefully we can start another run."

A glaring stat was offensive rebounding. Calvin recorded 20 offensive rebounds, and took advantage of its second chances.

"I congratulate Calvin on a good effort and the difference in the game was very simple, it was rebounding," Mitchell said. "The stats don't lie. We gave up 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and another 10 in the second half. To me, that was the key stat."

Calvin coach Kevin Vande Streek, whose team gained redemption from an 87-67 loss to Hope on Jan. 25, agreed. 

"Twenty offensive rebounds determined the outcome of the game," he said. "I tip my hat to Hope. They are the conference champion and they deserve it. It was a grinding of a game and somehow we got ahead and made a play and made some free throws. We're really thrilled."

The game was knotted 30-30 at the half, but the second-half featured several runs and momentum changes.

The Knights went on top 41-34, but Hope responded with a 13-3 to grab a 47-44 lead.

Then, Calvin scored eight consecutive points before the Flying Dutchmen answered with another spurt, capped by Keith Brushwyler's 3-point play that gave Hope a 56-54 lead with 4 minutes remaining.

"I'm proud of these guys for battling and finding a way to scratch and claw and get it to overtime because we probably didn't play our best game," Mitchell said. "That had a lot to do with how hard Calvin played and the plays they were making.

"We've had games where we've lost momentum, but these guys make plays. We had that run and ignited the crowd and ourselves."

Senior Harrison Blackledge, of Canton, Ohio (Hoover), led Hope with 17 points, while Carlson had 12 and Cody Stuive, of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Hope still leads the all-time series 101-94.

"It never feels good to lose, but the one thing I know about this team is we stick together through thick and thin and I know we are going to stick together through this," Blackledge said. "I think this is going to give us a little more fuel as we get ready for the conference tournament. We can't forget this taste, especially for us seniors because our time is very limited."

— Story by Dean Holzwarth