Hope faced Calvin again this past Friday but will have a run in post-season action
In another tight game, the Flying Dutchmen fell to the Calvin Knights in the MIAA tournament title game. The final score was 86-83 at the end of regular play. Hope College had a 12-point lead over the Knights at the half, but Calvin came out strong to dominate the score 52-37 in the second half enabling them to beat out the Dutchmen by a three- point win. Hope was ranked third in the Great Lakes Region before the MIAA tournament, but Calvin gave Hope two frustrating losses. The Knights stopped Hope’s chances of having an unbeaten record in the MIAA at their first meet-up. Unfortunately, Hope was not able to get their revenge this past Friday.
Despite the loss, Dante Hawkins (’18) had his career- high scoring game which put 31 points on the board and led the team. Chad Carlson (’17), who also added 10 points to the game, now is the leading three-point scorer for Hope with 86 in a season.
To start off the game, Harrison Blackledge (’17) made a layup with Dante Hawkins putting in a three. Cody Stuive (’17) followed Calvin’s two free throws with another three. Hawkins then made the next five points for Hope. Calvin trailed behind the entire half. Cam Denney of the Knights led in points,rebounds and assists for the game. Three of Hope’s players had six rebounds of the game: Cody Stuive, Harrison Blackledge and Dennis Towns (’19). Hawkins led in points and assists for the game with his 31 points and four assists. To start off the second half, the Knights scored a two-point jump shot bringing the score up to 46-36. The only point Hope scored in the first few minutes of the half came off of a free throw by Blackledge. The Knights came out aggressively in the second and began closing in on the Flying Dutchmen. Hope held the lead up until the 7:12 mark in the second. At this point, the score was tied at 64. From then on, the game was back-and- forth. Calvin took their first lead of the game with 6:29 to go when Michael Wilks sunk two free throws to give them a one-point lead. A few more made shots by the Knights to pull them up by four points with 2:27 left on the clock. Calvin was able to hold the lead for the last couple of minutes in the game and edged out the Flying Dutchmen in another upset.
Calvin now moves on to the NCAA DIII tournament, but Hope’s season didn’t end with their loss. The 64-team field for the NCAA DIII tournament was announced this past Monday, Hope was selected to take on Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the first round of the tournament. Hope, now 21-6, will make their 26th tournament appearance.
Hope has had a strong season thus far and now has a chance to do well in the tournament. The Flying Dutchmen should be able to beat out the Titans on Friday, March 3 as Hope is taking on a team ranked below the top 25. It is only the Titan’s seventh appearance in the tournament. Looking at the rest of Hope’s spot in the bracket future games may face teams like Washington-St. Louis who are the top team in assists and their assisted turnover ratio as well as being a two-time national champions. Ripon is in the tournament for the first time since 2002 and Hanover making their first appearance since 2011.
Hope will host Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the first round of the tournament as they fight for a post-season run this Friday March 3. Time is TBA.