GRAND RAPIDS, Mich - The Calvin men's basketball team welcomed the Tigers of Grace Bible College to Van Noord Arena on Wednesday night for a nonconference matchup.
The Knights entered the game with a 2-4 overall record.The Tigers stood at 6-6 prior to the contest, having faced a mix of NAIA, NCAA Division II and National Christian College opponents.
Last season, Grace Bible claimed a 92-88 victory over the Knights at Van Noord Arena.
Calvin bounced back from last weekend's loss at Oshkosh, using an 11-0 first half run to earn a 46-35 halftime advantage. The Knights pulled away in the second half, outscoring the visiting Tigers 46-35 to claim a 92-70 victory.
"I thought the focus today was really good," said Calvin men's head basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "Saturday was tough. The guys responded really well Monday and Tuesday and we had some really good days in practice. They were determined to play better. I thought we carried that from practice to the game today."
Grace Bible senior Jared Bradford knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to put the Tigers on the board first. Behind five points from Brandon Winchester-Jones, the Tigers took an early 12-7 lead. The Knights used a 4-0 run to chip away at the Tigers' lead. The two teams exchanged points, and with 13:19 remaining in the first half, Calvin freshman Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich./Calvin Christian HS) hit a three-point field goal to give the Knights their first lead of the game.
On the other end of the court, Winchester-Jones answered DeWitte's three-pointer, making a triple of his own. DeWitte responded, draining another three to make the score 23-22 in favor of Calvin.
After some back-and-forth scoring, the score was knotted at 29 for over a minute. With just under seven minutes left before halftime, Calvin junior Tony Canonie knocked down a three-pointer, breaking the dry spell and kicking off a 11-point run for the Knights.
With 3:36 left in the first half, the Tigers would score for the first time in nearly five minutes. The visitors would cut the deficit to five points, but Calvin would score the last six points of the half to possess a 46-35 lead heading into the locker room.
The Knights carried their momentum into the second half, scoring the first five points to take a 16-point lead. With 15:36 left to play, Cam Denney (Bluffton, Ind./Norwell HS) hit a three that commenced a 7-0 Calvin scoring streak. The scoreboard read 60-39 in favor of the Knights.
The Tigers were unable to answer the Knights' well-balanced scoring effort, and Calvin rolled to a 92-70 win.
Four players scored in double-digits for the Knights.
Cam Denney led all scorers with 15 points, also recording a team-high six assists and seven rebounds. Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich./Unity Christian HS) and Matt Trewhella (Grandger, Ind./Penn HS) followed with 13 points; Bykerk posted a team-high 8 boards. Michael Wilks (Hudsonville, Mich./Unity Christian HS) chipped in twelve points. Calvin's bench contributed 37 points in the victory.
Calvin shot 47.8% (33-69) from the floor while Grace Bible shot 39.4% (26-66). Calvin scored 17 of its points off of free throws, shooting 89.5% from the line.
The Knights outrebounded the Tigers 44-31.
"Defensively we were much stronger than we were on Saturday, said Vande Streek. "Tonight we moved the ball and were more patient on offense."
"I thought Tony Canonie (South Haven, Mich./South Haven HS) had an outstanding defensive game, noted Vande Streek. "Jared Bradford is a really talented player, and he did a great job on him."
Grace Bible's Jared Bradford, averaging over 18 points per game prior to Wednesday night's contest, finished with 12 points for the Tigers. Brandon Winchester Jones led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points.
"Tonight was really fun, but tomorrow it will be behind us," said Vande Streek. We have to get back it tomorrow as this weekend we have Wheaton who's as good as we've seen yet. We have to do it again."
Calvin will prepare for a trip to Wheaton College (Ill.). The Knights will face the Thunder on Saturday night at 8 p.m.