M's men miss gold, but get another chance
The province's top two college basketball teams matched each other basket for basket, but in the end the Langara Falcons hit a couple more than the VIU Mariners.
Vancouver Island University's men's basketball team earned silver at the Pacific Western Athletic Association championships, losing 78-74 to Langara on Saturday night in Victoria.
"Throughout the game our guys played hard enough. We did everything we could to win but at the end of the day we couldn't make enough offensive plays," said Matt Kuzminski, VIU coach.
The Falcons started faster and built up a double-digit lead at one point in the first quarter, but then Mariners guard Brandon Jones got hot. He scored 29 first-half points and had his team up by four at recess.
In the second half the Falcons plugged up some of those lanes. The Mariners hit just enough shots to keep pace but not enough to take back the lead.
"We got stagnant at times because of their zone – the ball kind of stopped moving," Kuzminski said.
Jones finished with 42 points and was chosen as tournament MVP and Ryan Davidson scored nine points in the final and was also selected as a tournament all-star.
Kuzminski said his players are upset about the loss and said it's natural, but the M's get a fine consolation prize – a berth at nationals. The Canadian Colleges' Athletic Association championships will be contested in Montreal starting March 14.
"Our ultimate goal is still alive and that's something you can be happy about in this situation," said Kuzminski. "We are not going into an off-season right now with this feeling."
COURT SHORTS … The Mariners won their semifinal game Friday 81-51 over the Quest Kermodes. Jones scored 32 points, Clayton Billett scored 12 and Evan Verdel added 11 … To read about the VIU women's basketball team, provincial champions, please click here.