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Hope men's basketball wins in OT, reaches MIAA Tournament final

by Carolyn Binder

The Hope College men’s basketball team rallied for a 65-62 overtime win against Trine University on Wednesday to advance to the championship game of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.

The top-seeded Flying Dutchmen rallied from a 10-point deficit midway through the second half to force overtime, then won by outscoring fourth-seeded Trine 6-3 during the extra five-minute period.

“It was a gritty win for the Flying Dutchmen,” Hope coach Matt Neil said. “I thought our guys fought hard in the overtime, hit some free throws when we needed to hit them.

“It was a big win for us in a game I didn’t think we played particularly well, but fought hard. I think good teams find a way to win.”

Hope (20-6 overall) will host second-seeded Calvin College in the tournament championship game on Saturday at 3 p.m. at DeVos Fieldhouse. Calvin defeated third-seeded Albion College 64-55on Wednesday in Grand Rapids.

It is the eighth consecutive MIAA Tournament championship game appearance for Hope. The Flying Dutchmen are seeking their sixth tournament championship in that stretch. They are 11-3 in MIAA Tournament title games.

Hope fans can purchase tickets for Saturday’s men’s game beginning at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, at either Hope College ticket office at 222 Fairbanks Ave. or 100 East 8th Street. The ticket offices are open until 5 p.m. Tickets can be ordered by calling (616) 395-7890. There are no online sales scheduled at this point.

Freshman Cody Stuive of Hudsonville (Hudsonville HS) scored a career-high 18 points to lead the Flying Dutchmen in front of a DeVos Fieldhouse crowd of 1,265.

Senior center Nate VanArendonk of Grand Haven (Grand Haven HS) added 16 points and a season-high 12 rebounds for Hope. It was his fourth double-double of the season.

Sophomore point Ben Gardner of Carmel, Ind. (Carmel HS), chipped in 11 points.

The Flying Dutchmen overcame a game-high 26 points from Trine guard Will Dixon. The Thunder finished with a 15-11 record.

The 20-win season is the third in four seasons under Neil.