Calvin defeats Hope in 200th matchup

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33 miles, 99 years, 200 games and a lifetime of excitement.

February 2, 2019 marked the 200th meeting between the men’s basketball teams of Calvin and Hope, a rivalry that has been featured in Sports Illustrated, the New York Times and on ESPN.

The historic rivalry can be traced all the way back to the Christian Reformed Church’s split from the Reformed Church in America in 1857, which eventually led to the creation of both Hope (1866) and Calvin (1876).

Only separated by 33 miles, the schools decided to officially begin the rivalry in 1920. Since then, the matchups have been full of close contests, raucous fans and a mutual respect for one another.

The rivalry has been so close that a mere 0.5 points per game separates the two teams over the 99 years of play, according to the rivalry’s official website. Fittingly, only two points separated Calvin and Hope on Saturday as Calvin pulled away victorious, 82-80.

Calvin junior Alex Bos started the historic game on a hot streak, knocking down four three-pointers in the first four minutes of play. However, Bos’ output wasn’t enough to hold off Hope, as the Flying Dutchmen took a 17-16 lead in the middle of the first half.

This lead grew to as much as six points before Calvin fought back to gain a six-point lead of their own with just under three minutes remaining in the first half. Tied with 30 seconds before halftime, junior Derrick Devries put back a rebound for his second field goal of the game, giving Calvin a 38-36 lead at the mid-way point.

After a halftime ceremony that honored the best players from Calvin and Hope throughout the course of the rivalry, Hope came out cold, making only one of their first seven shots from the field. Calvin took advantage of Hope’s poor performance, jumping out to a 10-point lead only four minutes into the second half.

True to the history of comebacks and close games in the rivalry, Hope narrowed the gap to two after an eight-point streak that took fewer than two minutes. Calvin managed to hold on to the lead, and gained an 11-point lead (the biggest of the day) with 5:22 left to play.

Once again, it seemed as if the 200th matchup between the two schools was destined to be a nail-biter. After a double-technical foul was given to members of both teams, Hope clawed their way back to a four-point deficit with 22 seconds remaining in the game.

Two Derrick Devries free throws and a Hope three-pointer later, Devries found himself at the line once again, this time with eight seconds on the clock and a three-point lead.

Throughout the 99-year history of the rivalry, which was suspended for three years in the 1920’s because of unruly fan behavior, the crowd has always been very involved. The 200th matchup was no different, as Devries’ opportunity to essentially end the game was met with near-unbearable screams from the thousands of Hope fans in attendance.

Much to the delight of the screaming Hope fans, Devries failed to convert on either of his attempts.

Calvin senior Carlos Amoros-Gutierrez quickly fouled Hope guard Jason Beckman before he had a chance to tie the game. After Beckman sank both of his free throws, Calvin found themselves with a one-point advantage and five seconds to kill.

Immediately after the ball was inbounded, Hope fouled the Calvin player that caught the ball. It was Derrick Devries.

Devries stepped up to the line, once again taking the brunt of thousands of screaming fans. He connected on his first free throw, before missing the second.

Hope pulled down the rebound, and Flying Dutchmen-star Jason Beckman raced down the court. The four seconds he had proved to be too little, as Beckman failed to get a shot off before the clock expired.

After a basketball game that felt more like a boxing match, Calvin came away with a tight two-point victory, bringing the all-time series total to 103-97 in favor of Hope. The victory also marks the first time since 2014-15 that Calvin has swept Hope in the regular season.

In a rivalry that has spanned 200 games over 99 years, the fans have made it clear: beating Hope will never get old.

Men’s basketball will head to Kalamazoo on February 9 before returning to Calvin to face Albion in the final home game of the season.