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The Cornerstone Golden Eagles and Aquinas Saints each won their opening matchup in the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic on Friday.GRSportsHOF

 

The Golden Eagles kicked off the weekend of games by defeating Holland’s Hope College 88-61 to record their seventh victory of the year. Five different players scored in double-figures for the No. 1 ranked team in NAIA D-2.

The Saints trailed the Calvin Knights for most of the nightcap but found themselves leading with three minutes left in the second half. Arsenio Arrington led five Saints in double-figures with 19 points.

Cornerstone logoCornerstone, winners of seven straight games, was terrific from deep early and the backcourt built a big lead for the Golden Eagles in the first half before big men Sam Vander Sluis and Kyle Steigenga went to work in the paint. The lead was 45-28 in favor of the Golden Eagles at the half.

Cornerstone continued the onslaught after the break, including a 51-20 rebounding advantage for the game. Vander Sluis and Michael Bradshaw each scored 17 points to lead Cornerstone. Kyle Steigenga finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds and Riley Coston and Tyler Baker each scored 11.

“We came out right from the start and played our game together and imposed our will. We suffocated them on defense and it helped get us going,” Cornerstone assistant coach Travis Wells told the press.

Jason Beckman, who led the Flying Dutchmen with 21 points, was the lone Hope player in double figures.

In the late game, Aquinas used an 18-9 run to close out the game and defeat the Knights 78-73 after trailing for most of the contest.

Luke Morrison Calvin Knights basketball
Calvin’s Luke Morrison gets to the basket against two Aquinas defenders at the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame Classic 2017.

Calvin used a 22-point first half from freshman Luke Morrison to take a 37-31 lead into halftime. Calvin held off a furious Aquinas effort to regain the lead throughout the second half and it wasn’t until the 4:18 mark that the Saints finally broke through. Opeyemi Sholesi got the hoop-and-the-harm, converted the free throw and helped Aquinas tie the game at 66. Senior Austin Clements, who scored 10 points off the bench, gave the Saints their first lead with a layup to make it 68-66. Clements then hit a key three-pointer that put Aquinas ahead for good with 1:48 to go.

The Aquinas bench outscored their counterparts 35-15. Morrison led Calvin with a career-high 29 points. Sophomore Alex Bos, the only other Calvin player in double-figures, scored 13 points.

 

Calvin now gets to look forward to a matchup with Cornerstone at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Aquinas hosts Hope in the second game of the night, scheduled for 8 p.m.

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