The VIU Mariners showed they plan to be a tough team to play against in the new year.
Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team defeated the Camosun Chargers 75-60 on Friday night in a hard-nosed defensive effort as the Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule resumed.
The M’s allowed the Chargers only 16 first-half points, and only 27 points through three quarters. The fourth quarter was bombs away at both ends, but the Mariners’ lead was never threatened.
Coach Matt Kuzminski said the holiday break gave he and his coaching staff ample time to prepare for Camosun.
“We knew what was coming from them, so that helped a lot, and the effort was great from our guys,” he said.
He asked his players to pressure the ball outside against the Chargers.
“We know they like to shoot threes, so just the ball pressure and making them put the ball on the floor was a big thing for us,” said Brandon Jones, VIU guard.
Clayton Billett was the Mariners’ top scorer with 21 points, Jones scored 20 and Jason McKee chipped in 10.
Kuzminski said the win sets a tone for the winter semester. It was an important one for the Mariner men (7-2) as they were starting off a homestand bright and early in January before classes had even resumed.
“It’s weird playing when school’s not in, but we knew it was the start of the second half so we wanted to start it off right,” Jones said. “That was the main motivation for us.”
The Mariners women (5-4) were also winners to start the new year, defeating the Chargers 57-42. The M’s had five different players score in double digits in the game – Jocelyn Jones led the way with 13 points, Jami Oliver had 12 points and eight rebounds, Shayna Worthington had 11 points and eight boards, Heather McCarthy scored 10 points to go with eight steals and Erin Vekic also dropped in 10.
GAME ON … The Mariners play the Douglas Royals on Friday (Jan. 11) and the Langara Falcons on Saturday. On Friday the M’s women take the court at 6 p.m. followed by the men at 8 p.m. Saturday’s tipoff times are 1 p.m. for the women and 3 p.m. for the men.