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Hope College Weekend Roundup

by Carolyn Binder

Flying Dutchmen Go 1-1 At Select Bank Hall of Fame Classic

Center Nate VanArendonk scored a season-high 16 points for the Hope men's basketball team in a 79-73 loss to Cornerstone Saturday at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic.

The Flying Dutchmen tied for second at the two-day tournament at Calvin with a 1-1 record, while Cornerstone finished first.

Sophomore point guardBen Gardnerof Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS), topped Hope (1-3 overall) with 17 points. He made the all-tournament team.

"We had some great play in the paint. We kept going at them inside. They didn't have an answer," Hope coach Matt Neil said. "Then they went to their zone. We've got to be better taking at what they give us. The best thing is we've got four days to work on this stuff."

The Flying Dutchmen return to Calvin next weekend for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association-College Conference of Illinois-Wisconsin Challenge. Hope plays Wheaton (Ill.) at 6 p.m. Friday and Carthage (Wis.) at 1 p.m. Saturday.

VanArendonk, a senior from Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS, shot 7-of-8 from the field and 2-of-3 from the foul line as he scored in double figures for the fourth consecutive game.

VanArendonk also grabbed a game-high eight rebounds and recorded a season-high four blocks. He had one apiece in each of the three previous games.

Sophomore forwardSam Ottoof Wheaton, Ill. (Wheaton North HS) added a career-high 10 points off the bench for the Flying Dutchmen.

Flying Dutchmen Beat Aquinas On Friday

The Hope men's basketball team made sure head coach Matt Neil enjoyed his 53rd birthday.

Sophomore guard Ben Gardner of Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS), buried the go-ahead layup with six seconds remaining lifted the Flying Dutchmen to their first victory of the season on Friday at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic.

The Flying Dutchmen (1-2 overall) beat Aquinas 69-67 at Calvin in a game that featured 11 lead changes and five ties.

Gardner's last of a team-high 18 points gave Hope a 68-67 lead and came after sophomore forward Brock Bensonof Willowbrook, Ill. (Hinsdale South HS), swiped the ball away from Aquinas guard Anthony Williams with 16 seconds remaining.

Hope chose not to a call time out and got the ball in Gardner's hands.

"Ben is capable of making good choices. At that point, I feel pretty good with the ball in his  hands," Neil said. "We set a ballscreen. That's what we would have drawn up anyway. Rather than letting them set their defense or get in a flow, we were taking the chance. We were able to go with the flow. Ben found an angle to the basket and had a great score.."

Gardner said he did not want to wait too long to shoot.

"Driving always has been my game," Gardner said. "I didn't want to wait until the last second just in base I happened to miss. I took it to the lane and was pretty happy."

Hope scored the final five points of the game to answer a 3-pointer from Aquinas senior Kolin Kazen with 1:03 remaining.

Senior centerNate VanArendonkof Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) put down a wide-open dunk 20 seconds after Kazen's 3 to cut the Flying Dutchmen's deficit to 67-66.

After Gardner's basket, Aquinas committed a turnover on an inbounds feed to center court that senior forwardGrant Neilof Holland (West Ottawa HS) retrieved. He went to the line and split his foul shots, making the first.

Aquinas (3-4 overall) could not get a shot off before the final buzzer.

The Flying Dutchmen rallied from being down seven points three times over the final 8:52, including the last with 6:40 remaining.

"I'm proud of the way we hung in together," Matt Neil said. "It was a gritty game. Aquinas was everything we thought they were — tough, physical (and) aggressive. " 

Three other Hope players scored in double figures — junior guardCorey McMahonof Glenview, Ill. (Glenbrook South HS) and Benson with 11 apiece and VanArendonk with 10.