HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Calvin University defeated Hope College as the rivals faced off on the basketball court Wednesday night.
The Knights, determined to find a victory after losing three games against the Flying Dutchmen last year, won 81-49.
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The game at DeVos Fieldhouse in downtown Holland marked the 208th between the two schools, with only 98 points separating the two teams going into the game.
“You always expect (the crowd) to be loud no matter what, just a game of back and forth battles. I’d be lying to you if I said I was honestly expecting to have us play the way we played,” Calvin guard Uchenna Egekeze, who scored 23 points for the Knights, said after the game.
The two teams will next battle it out on Wednesday, Feb. 15.
“No team is where they want to be right now. And we fully anticipate them coming back in a couple of weeks at our place and … making it a war for sure,” Calvin head coach Bill Sall said.
Before the game, News 8 spoke with Sall and Hope head coach Greg Mitchell about what they expected from the rivalry game.
“You have huge connections with the two schools, and both fan bases come out, so it always makes it so unique,” Sall said.
For freshman players who haven’t experienced the rivalry yet, “I don’t think there’s anything you can truly show them until they see it,” Mitchell said.
“I think it’s going to be a possession battle, we got to win the possession battle,” Mitchell said. “It’s a really good rebounding team, Calvin has great size, so we got to take care of the ball, we got to do a good job defending internally.”
Mitchell is now 9-11 against Calvin.
“I’m going to put my money on the tougher team wins,” he said.
Bill Sall is now 3-4 as coach against Hope, and was 7-3 when he was a player at the school.
“They’ve just been the more physical team this last year, and I think we just have to match that physicality. Very, very good offensive rebounding team,” Sall said.