VIU wins exhibitions, excited for more basketball in new year

Mariners men sweep past Mohawk Mountaineers in CCAA action Dec. 29-30

VIU Mariners player Usama Zaid gets past Mohawk Mountaineers opponent Frank Benneh for a layup during Saturday’s CCAA exhibition game at the Vancouver Island University gymnasium. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

The schedule gets a shakeup after the break, and the VIU Mariners plan to handle whatever comes their way.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team takes an undefeated record (6-0) into the second half of the Pacific Western Athletic Association season starting in the new year.

VIU ended 2017 with two more victories, sweeping exhibition games Friday and Saturday against the Mohawk Mountaineers by scores of 85-69 and then 88-58 at the Vancouver Island University gym.

“We had our ups and downs, but I think altogether, we showed that we stayed where we were at when we left off, which is a good thing…” said Tyus Barfoot, VIU forward. “Things are looking very positive and we’re looking forward to the new year.”

Taking on an out-of-conference opponent, the Mariners were able to use the games to get better, Barfoot said.

“We like to focus on our basics and our defensive and offensive principles are important, because those will apply to every single game that we play,” he said.

Taking on the Mountaineers back-to-back was also a preview of how PacWest play will look starting in January, as the schedule switches to back-to-back games against the same opponent. Matt Kuzminski, M’s coach, said it’s difficult to defeat an opponent twice in a row, but he’s looking forward to the challenge.

“We spend so much time with video, with making adjustments, I think we’ll have some strengths there making adjustments from night to night,” he said. “But it’s the same thing for other coaches in the league – they’ll have a chance to see what we do the first night and try to make changes.”

As for the team’s undefeated record and pursuit of the top seed, those are in the background as the Mariners keep their focus on getting better, the coach said.

“Those kind of things are out of your control – the standings, what other teams do,” Kuzminski said. “It’s us. What can we do to put ourselves in the best position?”

The team added point guard Isaiah Solomon at mid-season, a player with CIS experience who can be “dynamic” and add depth to the position, Kuzminski said. The coach added that the team’s younger players are in a position to make great strides in a short amount of time.

“From week to week, we’ve made significant improvements,” he said.

Barfoot said the team has the right family atmosphere and chemistry and the second half of the season will be about working on the little things.

“We know where we can be at and we’ve just got work extra hard now over the next semester to get where we want to be,” he said.

In Friday’s win, Barfoot led VIU with 21 points and Usama Zaid scored 18. Roman Calero was the Mountaineers’ top scorer with 20. On Saturday, Zaid led all scorers with 25 points and Barfoot dropped in 24. Frank Benneh scored 18 to lead Mohawk.

GAME ON … VIU takes on the Langara Falcons in PacWest action Jan. 5-6 at the Vancouver Island University gym. The men’s games are at 8 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, and follow women’s games at 6 p.m. and 1 p.m.



sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo losing forest, farm lands

Growth strategy report shows mixed results relative to regional district’s goals

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Land commission should have supported Nanoose eatery

Letter writers weigh in on closure of Rusted Rake Farm

It’s game on as new hockey exhibit fills Nanaimo Museum

Canadian Museum of History travelling exhibit on display until November

Family safe after early-morning garage fire in Nanaimo’s Buttertubs Marsh area

Nanaimo Fire Rescue called out to fire 2 a.m. on Saturday

Nanaimo company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs

Salvation Botanicals granted a controlled drugs and substances dealer’s licence

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Seven buildings proposed for waterfront development in Parksville

IAG Developments hosts second public open house to gather feedback

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

Most Read