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)

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)

VIU wins exhibitions, excited for more basketball in new year

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

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

Victoria-Swan Lake MLA Rob Fleming moves to the role of transportation minister in the NDP’s new cabinet. (B.C. government file photo)
Vancouver Island MLAs claim key roles in new cabinet

Key ministries headed by veteran and rookie Island MLAs in Horgan’s new team

Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue will be lit up until January 15. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith’s 1st Avenue all aglow

Although the tradition Light Up this year was cancelled, folks can still enjoy the holiday lights

Christmas will look a bit different in Cumberland this year, not only because of COVID restrictions but due to changes from BC Hydro about hanging decorations on the poles. Record file photo
Snowflakes left out in the cold for Island town

Holiday season tradition a no-go for Cumberland’s power poles

Karl Ablack, chair of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force, says visitors should steer clear of the community after the second wave of COVID has begun to hit across the province. (Black Press Media file photo)
Port Renfrew, Pacheedaht First Nation asks visitors to steer clear of community again

Tight-knit community of 400 has yet to report single case of COVID

The old home at 785 Island Rd. is coming down as the developer was unable to find a feasible business case to save it. (Black Press Media File Photo)
With no takers to move old Oak Bay home, teardown begins

‘We tried a last hurrah,’ developer says

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Police in Nanaimo are looking for a suspect who wore a black-and-white striped hoodie and rode a yellow mountain bike when he allegedly stole three children’s backpacks from a daycare facility. (Photo submitted)
VIDEO: Thief steals children’s backpacks from Nanaimo daycare

Suspect rode a yellow mountain bike and made off with backpacks hanging on fence

The Klahoose First Nation village on Cortes Island is under lockdown until further notice due to a positive COVID-19 test. Photo courtesy Kevin Peacey.
Cortes Island First Nation community locked down due to positive COVID-19 test

Klahoose First Nation has had one positive test, one other potential case

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney has spoken out about some veterans losing their Dimished Earning Capacity income. (Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror photo)
Blaney pens letter to minister about veteran supports

Concerned about veterans losing some income

The baby boy born to Gillian and Dave McIntosh of Abbotsford was released from hospital on Wednesday (Nov. 25) while Gillian continues to fight for her life after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
B.C. mom with COVID-19 still fighting for life while newborn baby now at home

Son was delivered Nov. 10 while Gillian McIntosh was in an induced coma

No face-offs until at least Dec. 8 after the BCHL shuts down pre-sesason play. (Citizen file)
BCHL cancels remainder of the pre-season

Island teams see their exhibition season cut short

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

B.C. Premier John Horgan, a Star Trek fan, can’t resist a Vulcan salute as he takes the oath of office for a second term in Victoria, Nov. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
Horgan names 20-member cabinet with same pandemic team

New faces in education, finance, economic recovery

Most Read