But it wasn't quite that close. Necessarily. The Knights seemed to play much of the second half with a lead of 8ish (it fluctuated), and they lead by 11 with 1:35 to play but give the Comets credit for not giving up. The game was never really in doubt, but some dubious free throw shooting (a stretch of 5-9) allowed Olivet to close the gap to two. Jordan Brink put the game away with two freebies with about two seconds on the clock. The Comets were never allowed to possess the ball with only a one-possession deficit.
Calvin really came into the game with a good defensive game plan. Coach Vande Streek elected to use Tyler Kruis (when he was in the game) on Michael McClary, and I have to say, the plan worked magnificently. First of all, it protected Brent Schuster from probably getting into excessive foul trouble. Secondly, it allowed Brent to shift to guard Nathan Jennings and use his length to bother his shots. And third, Tyler was pretty darn good on defense tonight.
He wasn't without help though. Calvin quickly brought the double team with McClary caught the ball, and they often forced him into passing or taking a tough shot.
A quick glance at the box score may not make it look like they defended McClary and Jennings well, as they each scored 22 points, but it took Big Mike 25 shots and Jennings 18 to get their respective points. Both players ended the day with effective shooting percentages right around 42%. Not efficient at all.
I've decided that I like it a lot better with Calvin makes their three pointers than when they miss them.
A tip of the hat goes to Jordan Brink, who showed more assertiveness in trying to score. He wasn't rewarded with his first two drives to the bucket, but they were the types of plays that I think he'll get points on more often than not. He didn't give up though, and later knocked down a triple, a layup, and three free throws.
This is the Bryan Powell that I love. Sure, he jacked up a bad three point attempt or two, but he didn't just settle for the outside shot. He looked to take his man into the lane, and he showed a nice finishing touch. He received some kind rolls, but that's what happens when you're making plays at the rim. And when he wasn't scoring, he was setting his teammates up to score. Five assists and zero turnovers. I think Trent's return may take some pressure off of Bryan as a ball handler, so he doesn't have to dribble around/through defenders as often.
I think all the Knights looked to get into the painted area more often than they have in previous games. Even Brian Haverdink(!) looked to take his guy on the dribble, and his efforts were rewarded with a pair of free throws.
Nice to see Rodts and Schuster combining for 4-8 from distance. That's more like it. I don't know what the deal was on Saturday, but whichever fieldhouse employee set up the rims that day should replaced (just kidding, but seriously, someone else should do it).
The eleven man rotation is too big. Not because you can't play eleven guys, but because Brink and Schnyders can, and should, play more than they did tonight.