Bigger, better Ball State beat VIU, but in the pre-season there aren’t really any winners and losers.
Both the Ball State Cardinals and the Vancouver Island University Mariners used Sunday’s exhibition to try to get better.
The touring NCAA Div. 1 team from Indiana defeated the M’s 101-67.
“It’s tough because they’re bigger, stronger and more athletic and we’re just playing; we haven’t really practised or anything,” said Tony Bryce, VIU coach. “When you get a team that’s that big and talented and they’re running stuff, it’s not easy to stop.”
B.C. college basketball’s defending champions competed gamely, trailing by only 11 points at halftime. But the Cards came out after the break and went on a 20-3 run.
“We played real well,” said Randy Davis, Ball State point guard. “We knew it was our last game and we wanted to end on a good note. Everyone was in it and we had a lot of people make good plays.”
Clayton Billett, VIU guard, said his team did well considering it hasn’t practised sets and schemes. Mostly the Mariners appreciated the experience.
“To play against better players always helps,” Billett said. “They’re bigger dudes, more athletic. They play against the best college players in all of America.”
The Cardinals said despite the lopsided score, the Mariners provided a challenge.
“They were really well coached, played real well and very disciplined,” said Davis. “It really helps us because we know the teams that we’re going to be playing are disciplined, just like this team.”
Ball State shooting guard Jauwan Scaife said VIU has “a few players who were very diverse,” pointing to veterans Jacob Thom and Patrick McCarthy and newcomers Brandon Jones and Richard Townsend.
“We had trouble at times keeping up with them on the breaks and losing our men in transition,” said Scaife. “They got open shots and they made tough shots as well.”
He said his team did a good job adjusting “on the fly” to what they saw from the opposition.
“The main thing is just sticking to our game plan, playing hard, playing defence first, getting stops and then run outs,” Scaife said. “And that opens up our offence a little bit more.”
The game capped an undefeated trip for the Cardinals. They started with a 101-61 win over Squamish’s Quest Kermodes, defeated Trinity Western 114-71 in Richmond and edged the Victoria Selects all-stars 88-82 before heading to Nanaimo.
Scaife said his team built chemistry on the trip, and also enjoyed seeing B.C.
“It’s beautiful,” Scaife said. “Coming here was really nice, being able to experience everything and meet new people. It was just a really good trip overall.”
COURT SHORTS … Scaife scored a game-high 21 points Sunday, Chris Bond had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Matt Kamieniecki added 11 points and 15 boards. Davis scored 14 points to go with 10 assists. For VIU, Jones had 16 points and four steals, Thom scored 15 points and Townsend added 12. McCarthy led his team with eight rebounds.