ANGOLA, Ind. - The Calvin men's basketball team produced an improbable 78-71 comeback win at Trine University Wednesday night at the MTI Center.
Facing a 24-point deficit at 36-12 with 5:23 left in the first half, Calvin (13-9 overall) could have folded. Instead the Knights dug down to close out the half on a 17-2 run to pull back into the game, trailing just 38-29 at the break.
The Knights methodically chipped away at the Trine lead in the second half. The Knights still trailed 54-42 with 12:37 left in regulation but a 14-3 Calvin run over the next four-and-a-half minutes allowed Calvin to creep within a point at 57-56. Moments later, senior Derrick DeVries (Grand Rapids, Mich./Covenant Christian HS converted a jump shot to tie the game at 58 and junior Sam LaDuke (Ludington, Mich./Ludington HS) followed with a steal and breakaway layup to give Calvin its first lead of the game at 60-58 with 6:51 remaining.
Trine (13-9 overall) regained the lead once at 61-60 but senior Alex Bos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) delivered a clutch three-point shot with 4:58 remaining to give the Knights a 63-61 advantage. Calvin never trailed again.
DeVries proceeded to hit a series of free throws down the stretch while Bos and junior Thad Shymanski (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) added key three-point shots in the closing minutes of play to cap off the incredible comeback win.
With the win, Calvin moves into a tie for second place in the MIAA standings with Trine at 7-4 in league play, one game ahead of Adrian and Alma who are close behind in a tie for fourth with 6-5 league records.
The Knights featured a balanced scoring attack led by DeVries who dropped in 19 points to go with 14 rebounds and four assists for his eighth double-double of the season and the 13th of his career.
He also boosted his career scoring total to 1,471 points, moving past Tom Snikkers and into ninth place on the Calvin career scoring list.
DeVries was one of four Knights to hit double-digits in scoring as Bos had a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds which included a 4 of 6 shooting performance from three-point range. Shymanski popped in 18 points to go with four assists. Junior Emmett Warners (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian HS) had a big game with 14 points and six rebounds. Senior Tony DeWitte (Grandville, Mich./Grandville Calvin Christian HS) had five points which included a key three-pointer and a pair of crucial free throws in the second half. LaDuke had five points and four boards while providing key defense.
Trine was led in scoring by Langston Johnson with 32 points.
COACHES COMMENT: "It was just a very gritty effort by our guys and kudos to them for not backing down and fighting their way back into it," said Calvin head men's basketball coach Bill Sall. "Trine got out to the fast start but then we started to get some defensive stops. Then we made a few shots and our confidence continued to build. I thought it was real key to make it a manageable game by halftime. To get it down to single digits was huge. At halftime the focus in the eyes of our players was there and I had confidence that they could make a second half run. I've been a part of some big comeback wins from large deficits but never like this on the road. This was a great team victory. It was awesome to see the balanced scoring and I thought Sam LaDuke in particular was a real key with his energy and defense off the bench. We have a lot to play for over the next few weeks. The goal is to remain focused and play it one game at a time."
NEXT GAME: Calvin will host Alma on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Van Noord Arena with the Scots just one game behind the Knights in the league standings.