Canadian and American college basketball teams were well matched this weekend at the VIU gym.
The Vancouver Island University Mariners split a pair of exhibition games against the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers on Friday and Saturday at the VIU gym. The M’s were 107-105 winners the first night, but the Mounties won the following afternoon’s rematch 96-84.
“I love having these kind of teams up,” said Matt Kuzminski, coach of the VIU men. “We have a really tough exhibition schedule, and bringing these guys up is a really good early test. They’re physical, big.”
He said his team has a long way to go defensively. He was concerned that some of the defensive shortcomings were due to a lack of effort.
“We’ve got a really talented team this year, we’ve got a lot of potential to be really good, but … you can’t even talk about X’s and O’s and anything else if the effort isn’t there and I thought for stretches, it wasn’t,” Kuzminski said.
The Mountaineers, meanwhile, said the games provided a good pre-season challenge. Eastern Oregon guard Tate De Laveaga said VIU played tough, so his team needed to play tough as well.
“We started off slow, but I think as the game went on we started picking it up and getting used to the style of play here in Canada,” he said after Friday’s matchup.
In the first game, Chris Parker led VIU with 27 points, Josh Ross added 24 points and 13 rebounds and John Thompson scored 20. For Eastern Oregon, Trell Washington had 21 points and 11 rebounds and De Laveaga had 20 points and six steals.
The next day it was Ross leading VIU’s offence with 27 points while Parker added 18 and Jason Fortin had 11 points and 13 boards. For Eastern Oregon, Washington had 24 points and 16 boards and Case Rada scored 20 points.
GAME ON … The M’s men play another National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics team, the Northwest University Eagles, this Friday (Oct. 23) and Saturday in Washington.