The VIU Mariners are making sure the basketball never stops bouncing.
Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team got in another tough game this past weekend as part of an extremely long and challenging pre-season schedule.
VIU fell 91-78 to Whitman College on Saturday at the university gym.
The Whits, an NCAA Div. 3 team out of Walla Walla, Wash., are much further along in their pre-season than the M’s, but the Nanaimo men gave their U.S. neighbours a test.
“The game was close the whole way and then they kind of wore us down down the stretch,” said Tony Bryce, VIU coach.
Brandon Jones led the Mariners with 21 points, Richard Townsend scored 19 and Jacob Thom had 18.
The coach was happier with the “compete level”, he said, than in the Mariners’ previous exhibition against the Ball State Cardinals. Having a game under their belts helped.
“We’re going to have quite a few new faces and I think it’s going to take a little time getting used to playing with each other,” said Bryce. “I like the looks of our team and when we do start to come together we’re going to be very, very good.”
The M’s will scrimmage against Trinity Western University, the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria in September, then host a pre-season tournament in mid-October.
“I try to build a very competitive pre-season,” said the coach. “It’s not just preparing us for the season, it’s preparing us to be a national championship-type team.