VIU basketball gets early tipoff

NANAIMO – VIU's men’s and women’s hoops teams tip off their winter semesters on Friday (Jan. 4) with PacWest games against Camosun.

Basketball is in session, even if classes aren’t.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s and women’s hoops teams tip off their winter semesters on Friday (Jan. 4) with Pacific Western Athletic Association games against the Camosun Chargers.

It’s a strange scheduling quirk to have league games starting before students are even back at classes. The Mariners coaches don’t necessarily like it, but they’ll try to make the best of things and hope for some fan support.

The VIU Mariners players will, at least, be in b-ball mode as both had exhibition action at the end of December. The women’s team participated in Camosun’s tournament in Victoria, while the M’s men travelled across the border to face Washington’s Whatcom College Orcas on Saturday.

The Mariners had a slow start and lost that matchup, but coach Matt Kuzminski called it a “good tone-setting” game.

“It lets the guys know that we need to get back really committed and serious about practices,” he said.

Camosun will challenge VIU. The Mariners  won both meetings against their Island rivals during the fall, 83-78 and 90-76, but the coach saw areas for improvement in those victories.

“Both games Camosun’s played us really tough. They’re an aggressive, scrappy team,” said Kuzminski. “We’ve gotten up big on them and they’ve always managed to come back … We’ve got to do a better job of putting them away when we have the opportunity.”

GAME ON … VIU’s women’s basketball team plays Camosun at 6 p.m. Friday at the Vancouver Island University gym. The men will follow at 8 p.m. It’s the start of a homestand for the Mariners, who will also play at VIU next weekend (Jan. 11-12) and the weekend after that.