The VIU Mariners were faced with some early-season adversity and responded.
Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team came back from a 19-point deficit and beat the Douglas Royals on the weekend as part of a two-win road trip.
The M’s defeated the Royals 79-71 on Friday, then handled the Capilano Blues 90-74 the next day in North Vancouver.
Mariners coach Matt Kuzminski said his team had its “ups and downs” on the trip. He said the Royals were playing well and executing their full-court press from opening tipoff and managed to build the big lead.
“In those situations, sometimes guys will think they need to get it all right away and start speeding up and shooting threes, but the guys were talking about chipping away one possession at a time,” the coach said. “I think it gives them confidence that they can come back when they’re down. Hopefully we don’t get comfortable in those situations – over the last couple games, I don’t think our effort from the jump ball’s been great, so we need to improve in that area.”
John Thompson led VIU with 18 points and six steals in Friday’s win, while Josh Ross had 16 points and 16 rebounds and Bryson Cox added 15 points.
The next day it was Ross leading the way with 22 points, 11 boards and eight assists, while Jason Fortin, with 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Curtis Wilson, with 13 and 10, also had double-doubles. Cox had another 15-point outing.
Meanwhile, the Mariners women started strongly with a 72-51 win over the Royals, but were edged 60-59 the next day against the Blues.
In the win, Sienna Pollard had 20 points and nine rebounds and Lanae Adams had 17 points. Pollard had 19 and 15 the next day while Sara Simovic was VIU’s top scorer with 20 points.
GAME ON … The Mariners basketball teams are on the road again next weekend (Nov. 13-14) to face the Kwantlen Eagles and the Columbia Bible College Bearcats in PacWest action.