The Tigers faced 2011 USCAA National Champion Andrews University at Berrien Springs Tuesday night and prevailed in a thriller, 70-69. Senior captain, Cory Jamieson (Wayland), calmly sank two free throws with 2.2 seconds on the clock and Ryan Dame knocked down the Andrews desperation in-bounds pass to seal the win.
The Cardinals were fresh off a 13 point victory over Kuyper College who defeated the Tigers just a week ago. It appeared for awhile that Andrews was going to hold the home court advantage as they built a double digit lead late in the second half. But the Tigers made some defensive moves and rode the three point shooting of senior John Oostema (Grand Rapids Christian) and senior Matt Kurtz (Lowell) as they mounted a comeback to take the lead with two minutes to go. Oostema finished with 18 points on 6/10 shooting from behind the arc. Kurtz also finished with 18 points on 4/7 on three pointers.
But it took a total team effort to defeat the Cardinals. Junior Ryan Dame (Wayland) was huge for the Tigers with 12 rebounds, two dunks, 3 blocked shots, and 9 points. Senior Ryan Krombeen (Calvin Christian) had 15 points, 8 rebounds and season high 9 assists. The Tigers had their best game of the season from the free throw line, 93% on 14/15 and held a 38-20 advantage on the boards.
“At times we looked great tonight,” said Coach Gary Bailey, “and other times we were horrible.” But the Cardinals had a lot to do with making the Tigers look bad. “They have a very good team and an excellent coach,” said Bailey. The Tigers looked good when it counted down the stretch. “I’m proud of the guys for not giving up and digging deep in the character bank,” commented Bailey, “but we need to start playing like that from the opening tip.”
The Tigers improved to 17-8 with tonight’s victory. Grace is back in action on Saturday afternoon, February 4, at 3:00 PM in a special home game at Calvin Christian High School against Indiana University Northwest.