posted March 22, 2008

Hope Men's Basketball Finishes Third in NCAA Division III

The Flying Dutchmen capped a most successful season by winning the consolation title game of the NCAA Division III men's basketball championship by defeating Ursinua, Pa. 100-86.

With the win, coach Glenn Van Wieren's Dutchmen tied a school record for wins in a season (28-4).

The Flying Dutchmen were making their third trip to DIII's final four.  Hope was second in 1996 and 1998.

Senior Derek Van Solkema was voted to the all-tournament team.

Washington, Mo. defeated defending champion Amherst, Mass. in the title game, 94-68. Hope lost to Washington in the semi-finals, 89-74.

Consolation Game Summary
Marcus Vanderheide led three Hope College players above the 20-point plateau with a game-high 24 points as the Flying Dutchmen made amends for Friday's loss with a 100-86 win over Ursinus College to claim third place in the NCAA Division III men's basketball championship series.  Hope caps its season with a 28-4 record while the fourth place Bears end their season with a 29-4 record.

"We had two great halves," explained Hope head coach Glenn Van Wieren.  "Our team was very emotional today.  I'm so happy for them, the seniors, the last game of their collegiate career ended in a win.  These guys are friends for life because they have respect for each other, the joy and fun they have together."

Vanderheide scored 15 of his 24 points in the first half as Hope commanded as much as a 15-point advantage in the first half. 

Long-distance shooting was the weapon of choice for both squads throughout the game.  Hope's Derek VanSolkema knocked down 6-of-10 from beyond the arc as the Flying Dutchmen connected on 11-of-24 three-pointers.  John Noonan, who shot 9-of-11 from the field in the first frame, made six of his seven tries from deep to lead Ursinus with a game-best tying 24 points.

"Coming into today's game we were very disappointed in the outcome of yesterday's game," explained Hope's Tyler Wolfe.  "We were all disappointed, we all felt bad.  We just wanted to work hard today and play Hope Basketball."

Ursinus opened up an early 8-4 lead and maintained a two-point edge through the first five minutes of the half.  Hope responded with a 16-2 run over the next five minutes to move out to a 26-14 lead with 10:30 to go in the half.

Vanderheide and VanSolkema kept the pedal down as the Flying Dutchmen moved out to a 15-point lead with 3:40 to play in the half.  Ursinus mounted a run of its own, outscoring Hope 11-0 over the next 2:25 to pull to within four at 46-42 with 1:15 to go.  Hope managed a few extra buckets to stretch its lead to 50-42 going into the half.

Hope opened the second half with a 26-12 run to move out to a 76-54 advantage with 12:41 to play.  Ursinus again caught itself and slowly worked back to within 12 points on several occasions including with 3:46 to play, but the Bears couldn't draw any closer with both teams shooting 50-percent from the field in the latter frame.

Vanderheide added eight rebounds and five assists to his 24-point effort.  VanSolkema finished with 22 points and eight helpers, and Tyler Wolfe added another 22-point marker accompanied by eight rebounds.  Jesse Reimink dropped in 18 points to go with seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Noonan added seven boards and two steals to his 24-point outing.  Matt Howell notched 13 points and six rebounds.  Remy Cousart, Sean Butkus and Eric Burnett each tallied 10 points for Ursinus.  Cousart recorded a double-double, adding a game-high 10 caroms.

"Hats off to a really outstanding Hope team," said Ursinus head coach Kevin Small.  "I thought they were very terrific on the floor.  I'm proud about the way our kids battled here."

Semi-Final
Troy Ruths dropped in 30 points and Aaron Thompson put together a personal 13-point scoring run Saturday evening as Washington University in St. Louis moves one step further than a season ago in defeating Hope College, 89-74, for the chance to play for the NCAA Division III men's basketball championship.

 Washington U. (24-6), playing in its second-straight NCAA D-III championship series after finishing third in 2007, meets up with Amherst College in the national title game on Saturday afternoon. The Lord Jeffs (27-3) are looking for back-to-back D-III championships while the Bears are in search of their first men's basketball national crown. Hope (27-4) takes on Ursinus College (29-3) in the consolation game to decide the third place finisher. "I thought that was quite a Division III game," explained Wash-U head coach Mark Edwards. "I thought both teams were alike, but I felt the difference really came down to experience. I think coming here last year helped us, not only on the resolve of wanting to win, but also how to win." Ruths scored 19 of his game-high 30 points in the second half as the Bears shot 65.4-percent in the second half in knocking off the current top-rated Flying Dutchmen. Ruths made 11-of-15 shots from the field and another 8-of-9 from the charity stripe to go with six rebounds. Aaron Thompson helped the Bears open up the game in the second half with a 13-point run. At the 15:02 mark, Thompson dropped in a lay-up to give Wash-U a 46-42 lead. Hope came back to tie the score with lay-ups on its next two possessions, but Thompson responded with a three-pointer to give the Bears the lead for good at 49-46 with 13:19 on the clock. He went on to hit two more three pointers and a jumper to push the Bears out to a six-point edge at 57-51 with 11:38 to play. "At halftime, Coach Edwards told me to keep looking for my shot and to keep being aggressive," said Thompson. "I got the first one in, and after that it kind of just steamrolled.  It felt really good." Hope continued to battle as it worked its disadvantage down to two points, but an 11-3 Bear run highlighted by seven points from Danny O'Boyle catapulted Washington U. to a 68-58 lead with 7:10 to play. Hot shooting kept the Bears a leg-up as Hope fought to get back into the contest. Wash-U's lead increased to as much as 17 points with 1:47 to play. "I think we were just hitting on all cylinders," explained Ruths when asked about the Bears' performance in the second half. "I think Aaron Thompson's run put us in the lead and then we used our experience to keep it there." For the game, Washington U. shot at a 55.8-percent clip (29-of-52), connecting on 8-of-19 from beyond the arc. Hope shot 40-percent from the field and cropped in 11 makes in 26 tries from deep. Tyler Nading and Thompson each notched 15 points for Washington University while O'Boyle chipped in 12 markers. Thompson hit 3-of-6 from three-point territory. Moss Schermerhorn matched Ruths with a team-best six boards. Derek VanSolkema led the Flying Dutchmen with 19 points including a 5-for-11 showing three-point range. Jesse Reimink added 15 points, five rebounds and six assists, and Marcus Vanderheide notched 100 tallies. Zach Osburn pulled down a game-best nine rebounds. "I thought we played hard. I thought Washington University played hard," explained Hope head coach Glenn Van Wieren. "They had exceptional shooting."