The Hope men's basketball team (23-6) used the fuel of home-court advantage as well as standout team and individual efforts to advance to the Round of 16 in the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Flying Dutchmen started with their 87-85 win over UW-Oshkosh March 3, as Harrison Blackledge powered Hope with a team-best 19 points, one of six players in double figures scoring. Leading 44-41 at the half, Hope held off a second-half rally by the Titans. Cody Stuive drained what proved to be the game's decisive free throws with 22 seconds left in regulation to vault the Flying Dutchmen in front of their home crowd of 2,744.
Stuive followed up his clutch performance with a game-best 37 points thanks to 10-of-11 three-point shooting to energize the Flying Dutchmen in their 94-80 NCAA Tournament Second Round win over Washington-St. Louis March 4. Stuive, who also added team-bests of seven rebounds and three steals, helped #18 Hope take a 52-37 lead at the half that was too much to overcome. Teammate Dante Hawkins was also impressive with 26 points in the win.
Hope will host the Regional rounds and will now face Hanover (25-3) Friday, March 10 at DeVos Fieldhouse. Also in the regional are Augustana (21-8) and Wartburg (21-9), with the Regional Final slated for Saturday, March 11.
Calvin (17-11), the MIAA Tournament champions, saw their 2016-17 campaign come to an end with their 83-66 setback at #7 Marietta in the NCAA First Round. Michael Welch led the Knights with 12 points while Tony Canonie and Cam Denney each tallied 11 points in the loss.