VIU basketball teams tip off seasons with victories

Vancouver Island University’s basketball teams both had successful starts as they began defences of their championships.

Vancouver Island University’s basketball teams both had successful starts as they began defences of their championships.

The Mariners men and women travelled to play the Camosun Chargers on Saturday in Victoria, where the men won 77-66 after the women won 57-43.

Matt Kuzminski, coach of the M’s men, said his team was up by around 25 points with six or seven minutes to go before Camo’s depth players closed the gap.

“Our starters and first few guys off the bench really played well,” said Kuzminski. “We set the tone defensively, we were very aggressive and we got good shots.”

Brandon Jones shot the ball well from all over the floor and finished with 32 points. Clayton Billett added 19 points and Jason Fortin pulled down 12 rebounds.

“As far as our offence, we’re trying to slowly piece in everything to get to where we want to be,” said the coach, adding he’s satisfied with where the offence is at this early stage of basketball season.

VIU’s game, in many ways, centres around its attention to the defensive end of the floor, and Kuzminski said that was the case in the season opener.

“We were able to dictate the tempo of the game and I thought, at least for the first half, [we] really controlled them and took away what they were trying to do.”

The VIU Mariners men’s and women’s basketball teams will play their Pacific Western Athletic Association home openers this weekend, as they host the Columbia Bible College Bearcats on Friday (Nov. 8) and then the Kwantlen Eagles on Saturday afternoon.

Friday’s women’s game at the Vancouver Island University gym starts at 6 p.m., with men’s action to follow at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the women play at 1 p.m. and the men go at 3 p.m.