GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Calvin men's basketball team defeated Albion College 76-65 in an exciting conference contest on Wednesday night at Van Noord Arena.
This was the second meeting between the two teams this season as the Knights fell to the Britons 69-60 in January.
Both teams came out competitively as they took turns exchanging points. With the Knights leading by one, seniors Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez (Wyoming, Mich. / Wyoming) and Jason Walter (Coloma, Mich. / Coloma) knocked down back to back triples to pull ahead 13-7. Albion's Dylan Bennett and Calvin's junior Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich. / Calvin Christian) battled back and forth as they both recorded two three-pointers. With Calvin up by 10 points, Albion began to fight back to tighten the Knights lead to within two. The Knights once again pulled ahead going on a 13-0 run including three triples from DeWitte, junior Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Grand Rapids Christian) and Walter to lead by 15. The Britons knocked down a three as the half closed out with the Knights leading 44-32.
As the second half began, both teams rallied back and forth. The Britons began to tighten the Knights lead, but Bos knocked down a triple to put Calvin up by 10. Albion looking to once again close the gap, went on a 7-0 run to narrow Calvin's lead to within one point. Albion took over the lead 57-54, but Bos answered with a triple to tie it up, followed by a triple from junior Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich. / Covenant Christian) to take back the lead 60-57.
The two teams continued to rally back and forth keeping it a tight contest. Calvin was able to maintain its lead as Amoros-Gutierrez connected for four free throws and Bos threw down a dunk to close out the contest as the Knights claimed the 76-65 win.
Leading the Knights was DeVries with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. Bos collected 16 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Amoros-Gutierrez had 11 points, and six assists. Walter put up 11 points. DeVries scored eight of his 21 points inside the final five minutes of play.
"It was a hard-fought team win and I'm proud of our guys for playing tough in a really physical game," said Calvin men's basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek. "I thought Derrick DeVries was outstanding down the final stretch. He made strong moves to the basket and made great decisions to pass out of the double-team when he needed to. Now our focus is on to the next game. We have a lot to play for on Saturday with so many spots in the league tournament still undecided. All we can control is the game in front of us and that will be our focus."
Prior to the game, four Calvin seniors were recognized tonight for their hard work and dedication; Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez, Jason Walter, Austin Bykerk (Jenison, Mich. / Unity Christian) and Isaiah McLaughlin (Shelby Township, Mich. / Eisenhower).
The Knights close out the regular season on Saturday as they travel to Olivet on Saturday night to take on the Comets at 7 p.m.
Calvin is tied with Hope for third place at 8-5 in the league standings, one game behind 9-4 Albion.
Calvin has clinched a spot in the upcoming six-team MIAA Tournament. Trine (10-3 MIAA) has clinched a share of the MIAA regular season title and the top spot for the league tournament. Calvin could finish in the second, third, fourth or fifth seed for the tournament, depending on the outcome of Saturday's MIAA games.
In addition to Calvin's game at Olivet, Saturday play has Alma at Trine, Hope at Albion and Kalamazoo at Adrian.