Sam Vree Stands Tall, Helps Men's Basketball Top Carleton In OT at RDV Sportsplex Classic

Sam Vree poses for a portrait. by Alan Babbitt

Sam Vree needed to fill some big shoes for the Hope College men's basketball team with two starting post players fouled out Wednesday night.

Fortunately for the Flying Dutchmen, his size-13 sneakers sprung into action.

The 6-9, 220-pound Vree scored a career-high 14 points off the bench to help power Hope past Carleton College (Minnesota), 94-88 in overtime, at the RDV Sportsplex Classic in Orlando, Florida.

Vree, pictured, scored four points, grabbed three rebounds and blocked one shot during the extra five minutes of play when the Flying Dutchmen outscored their foe, 12-6.

The junior from Lansing, Illinois (Illiana Christian HS) finished the game with a career-high nine rebounds. He shot 58.3 percent from the field (7-of-12).

"The game ball goes to Sam Vree. When Sam stepped in, we couldn't go any farther down the bench for a 5. We didn't have anyone," head coach Greg Mitchell said. Starting post players Preston Granger, who scored a career-high 32 points, and Ryan Gamm had fouled out for Hope. 

"Sam took to the challenge and made so many big plays. I'm really excited for him."

Hope rallied for its second and final RDV Sportsplex Classic win in as many days and improved its record to 6-3 overall.

The Flying Dutchmen forced overtime after junior guard Calvin Hackert of Ludington, Michigan (Ludington) split his trip to the foul line with two seconds remaining in regulation and tied the score at 82-82. He made his second free-throw attempt.

Hope never trailed during overtime, After Carleton (3-5) tied the score twice, sophomore guard Tyler George of Ada, Michigan (Forest Hills Central) sank two go-ahead free throws with 2:55 remaining in overtime for an 86-84 lead.

Two Vree layups within a span of 26 seconds to extend Hope's lead to 92-87 with 55 seconds remaining. He eclipsed his previous career best of nine points. 

The overtime game was the first for the Flying Dutchmen in nearly two years — since an 88-84 victory at Trine on January 27, 2018.

Granger's 32 points surpassed his previous high of 23. The junior from Lansing, Michigan (Lansing Christian) shot 85.7 from the field (12-14) and 81.8 percent from the foul line (9-11). In 33 minutes of play, Granger also grabbed nine rebounds. 

Hackert chipped in 13 points. Freshman point guard Clayton Dykhouse of Zeeland, Michigan (Zeeland East) added 10 points in his second consecutive game reaching double-digits.

All but two of Carleton's points came from its starting five. Forward Jeremy Beckler topped Carleton with 32 points.

"I'm absolutely thrilled with the moxie and the toughness we showed, finding a way to win that game in overtime," Mitchell said. "We knew Carleton runs really good action that puts us in tough situations. We knew it was going to be tough. They're a well-coached team."

Hope returns to action on Friday-Saturday, December 27-28 at its Russ DeVete Holiday Classic at DeVos Fieldhouse.

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