HOLLAND, Mich. - Despite a 14-point deficit early in the game, the Calvin Knights rallied to defeat top-seeded Hope 86-83 in the championship game of the 2017 MIAA Men's Basketball Tournament at DeVos Fieldhouse. It was the second time this season Calvin defeated Hope on the road, with Saturday night's win giving the Knights an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Calvin 86, Hope 83 | PDF Box Score
Calvin (17-10) showed its mettle not only coming back from a 14-point deficit but by shooting 27-of-31 from the free throw line to defeat Hope in the third meeting of the two teams in the MIAA Tournament championship game. The Knights' gritty performance included a team-high 21 points by Cam Denney, 10-of-10 free throw shooting by Michael Wilks, and Michael Welch's 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Knights held Hope without a field goal for a stretch of over five minutes in the second half, taking a one-point lead with 6:29 to play. From there, neither team led by more than four points in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 2,835 people at DeVos Fieldhouse. Denney's three-pointer with 2:27 to play gave Calvin that four-point cushion as the Knights shot 6-of-6 at the free throw line to seal the contest.
Hope (21-6) was led by Dante Hawkins, who turned in 31 points on 11-of-24 shooting, including 5-of-8 from three-point distance. Cody Stuive chipped in 17 points with six rebounds in the loss.
The NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament selection show will air live on ncaa.com Monday, Feb. 27 at 12:30 p.m.