Aquinas Calvin Colleges Cornerstone

Black Friday plan: GR Sports Hall of Fame Classic 2017

What time will you be getting in line on Friday?

If you’re headed out to the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic at Aquinas College, we suggest arriving early. Tip-off of the first game is at 6 p.m. between Hope College and Cornerstone University and the second game, Calvin College vs. host Aquinas, tips afterward.

On Saturday, Calvin and Cornerstone tip at 6 p.m. and Aquinas hosts Hope afterward.

The annual event has been around since 1996 and pits West Michigan’s men’s basketball teams in a showcase held over Thanksgiving weekend every year. Tickets are $10 for each night at the door. 

The host Aquinas Saints come in to the weekend on a high note after beating Lawrence Tech by 29 points and having won two of their last three games, all in conference play.

Aquinas Saints logo

Aquinas is scoring just over 70 points per game and is shooting the ball at 46.5% from the field, but their three-point shooting (33.3%) and free throw percentage (61.2%) are in need of some work. The team is grabbing five more rebounds than opponents, but is also turning it over 13 times per game.

Arsenio Arrington, a 6-foot-9 senior forward leads the team with 12.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. 6-foot-3 junior guard TJ Hunter adds 8.9 points. AJ Atwater (8.4) and Deric Murray (7.9) also contribute on the offensive end. Opeyemi Sholesi (6-5) and Frank DeVos (6-6) each grab over five rebounds per game.

The Saints will play in the second game on each night and play host to the Calvin Knights on Friday.

After losing the first two games on their regular season schedule, the Calvin Knights turned things around on Tuesday with a 96-86 win over Wheaton (IL) to move to 1-2 on the year. The Knights score 82.3 points per game and have shooting numbers similar to Aquinas (48/34/83) except from the free throw line, where they average over twenty percent better than the Saints.

Freshman Luke Morrison leads the Knights with 14.7 points per game. Austin Bykerk adds 12.7 points and pulls down a team-high 5.7 rebounds. Five other players score at least 8.3 points per game. Senior guard Tony Canonie hands out 7.7 assists. Coach Kevin Vande Streek has 10 players in the rotation averaging 10+ minutes. 

Calvin tips off Saturday’s festivities at 6 p.m. against local powerhouse Cornerstone University. The Golden Eagles are on a 6-game winning streak after losing their first two games of the season.

Cornerstone logoKyle Steigenga, a favorite for NAIA D-2 Player of the Year, leads the team with 21.5 points per game. He’s also clearly the team’s leader, as his work on the boards (8.8 rpg) shows. Sam Vander Sluis is averaging 16.1 points and 12.0 rebounds. Senior Michael Bradshaw is averaging 12. 4 points and remains a deep threat.

Freshman Christian Rodriguez (Godwin Heights) has fit in nicely as the team’s new point guard, replacing Micheal McLaughlin. Rodriguez is playing 30 minutes per game and has started all eight. He’s giving the Eagles 9.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. His steady handle at the point and ability to lead a star-studded group, something he did in high school, are going to be key over the weekend.

Cornerstone plays host to Holland’s Hope College in the opening game on Friday night. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m.

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