« Anchored In Hope

Hope College sports roundup

by Carolyn Binder

Flying Dutchmen Down Calvin 83-65, Take Over MIAA Lead

Add 26 more points to the Hope ledger following a staggering sweep this season.

The Flying Dutchmen routed the Knights, 83-65, Wednesday night in front of 3,517 fans at DeVos Fieldhouse to complete a regular-season sweep and claim sole possession of first place in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association standings. Hope improved to 14-6 overall and 8-1 in the MIAA.

Calvin (15-5, 7-2) occupies second place alone in the league standings. Click here to see the MIAA standings.

The Dutchmen, who lead the all-time series 98-89, improved to 10-4 against the Knights this decade.

It also extended their season-high win streak to six games.

“I thought tonight was a great atmosphere for Division III basketball, for sure. We had 650 students or more here and that created an atmosphere that was just absolutely awesome. I think that fueled our guys,” Hope coach Matt Neil said. “I think we got off to a great start defensively and they got some run-outs, and the basket Eddy (shooting guard Alex Eidson) had to start the game was quite remarkable.

“I thought our starting five got us off to a phenomenal start in this game.”

Eidson, a sophomore from Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS), stole the opening possession and drove to the basket. He finished it off with a blind, reverse layup that set the tone for a stampede the remainder of the night.

Hope raced to a 7-0 lead, increased the margin to double digits soon thereafter and stretched it to 30 points in the second half. It was such a dominating performance that Neil used 14 players and 10 of them found the scoresheet.

“Looking at tonight, it looks like everybody scored. It's tough to stop when everybody's playing together,” Eidson said.

He led the Dutchmen with 17 points and three steals.

Nate VanArendonk, a senior center from Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS), finished with his second consecutive double-double against the Knights by scoring 13 points, including three dunks, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking a pair of shots.

He recorded his first career double-double vs. Calvin with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the Jan. 11 meeting at Van Noord Arena.

“Senior year, to get double-doubles in both games, that's pretty special,” VanArendonk said.

Corey McMahon, a junior guard from Glenview, Ill. (Glenbrook South HS), scored 12 points off the bench. Ben Gardner, a sophomore guard from Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS), had 10 points and five assists, while Cody Stuive, a freshman forward from Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS), and Brock Benson, a sophomore center from Willowbrook, Ill. (Hinsdale South HS), added nine points apiece.

“We tried to keep our energy and intensity the same as in the first half,” Gardner said of his team's complete effort.

Tyler Kruis scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Knights.

The perimeter defense, especially the starting backcourt of Gardner and Eidson, dictated the physical style of the game early, according to Neil. He praised both sophomores for setting the tempo from the start.

“Our guys started the game tough defensively,” Neil said. “I don't think (Calvin sharpshooter) Jordan (Brink) got many good looks in the first half. We just came out with the mentality we were going to shut them down.”

Brink was limited to 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.

Hope had a commanding 35-19 halftime advantage.

VanArendonk finished the first half the same way he began both halves of the first showdown of the season between the Dutchmen and Knights – an emphatic two-handed slam that shook the basket support.


Flying Dutch Sink Season-High 15 3s In Win At Kalamazoo

The unbeaten and top 5-ranked Hope College women’s basketball team rolled to a 96-54 win at Kalamazoo College on Wednesday night while making a season-high 15 3-pointers.

The Flying Dutch improved to 20-0 overall and 12-0 in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association play. It is the 16th consecutive 20-win season for Hope under coach Brian Morehouse.

“Fantastic team win,” Morehouse said. “Our defense was consistent and with great effort. I am very happy with the number of assists we had.”

The MIAA-leading Flying Dutch collected 27 assists — its second-highest number of the season.

Hope received a game-high 15 points from sophomore forward Maura McAfee of Midland (Midland HS) in 18 minutes.

Junior guard Melissa LaReau of Bradley, Ill. (Bishop McNamara Catholic HS) scored a season-high 13 points off the bench for the Flying Dutch. She did not miss a shot, hitting a team-high three 3-point attempts and all four her free throws.

Senior guard Megan Kelley of Rockford (Rockford HS) made both of her 3-point attempts and finished with 10 points.

Hope shot 68.2 percent from 3-point range (15-of-22). The Flying Dutch made 11-of-12 3-point attempts during the first half as they raced out to a 62-27 halftime lead.

“It was the best 3-point shooting half I’ve seen since I’ve been the coach,” Morehouse said.

It was Hope’s second-highest scoring half of the season. The Flying Dutch had 71 on Nov. 16 during a 126-56 win at North Central (Ill.).

All 14 players scored for Hope, which is ranked No. 2 in the USA Today NCAA Division III coaches poll and No. 4 in the d3hoops.com rankings.