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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo mall hosting ‘dance up to bullies’ event on Pink Shirt Day

Aunti Bobbi the Clown organizing song-and-dance fundraiser

Astrophysicist to explain how new telescope turns stars into rainbows

Guest speaker describes 11.25-metre aperture Maunakea Spectral Explorer program Feb. 27 in Nanaimo

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: NRGH needs additional disability parking stalls

Hospital has greater need of disability parking than the mall, for example, says letter writer

VIU hoops teams head into provincials on winning note

Vancouver Island University women’s and men’s teams have first-round byes

VIU Mariners add provincial championship to undefeated season

Vancouver Island University women’s team defeats Camosun in PacWest final

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

City of Nanaimo looks at corporate names for civic facilities

Finance and audit committee recommends approving plan to create policy around facility naming rights

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

UPDATE: Two missing scout leaders found near Sooke after swollen creek traps troop

Third leader and scouts located, prior to search for two leaders who’d gone for help

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of sex crimes in landmark #MeToo trial

The cases against the Hollywood mogul started the #MeToo movement

CRA puts focus on paper returns as tax-filing season opens

The federal tax collector expects to handle about two million paper returns this calendar year out of roughly 26 million filings

Most Read