Basketball exhibition vs team from Utah

October 12th, 2014

American talent to visit Mariners

VIU men's team welcomes Westminster College of Utah tonight, tomorrow for exhibition games

Scott McKenzie / Daily News

Nanaimo college basketball fans will be treated to some American talent twice this weekend as the VIU Mariners men's hoops squad gets set to welcome to Westminster College Griffins of Utah.

The Griffins play in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and went 11-5 last season in conference play; 19-3 overall.

"It's a great opportunity any time we can get any American school up to play us, we'll take it," said Mariners third-year head coach Matt Kuzminski, who set up the two-game exhibition last Christmas.

The Mariners will take on Westminster this Friday at 7 p.m., and again Saturday at 12:30 p.m., at the campus gym.

They are coming off two preseason losses, once against their alumni (85-76) and another against the UFV Cascades (88-70), who play in Canadian Intercollegiate Sport.

Kuzminski said he would like to see some of the mistakes made in that game cleaned up this weekend.

"We competed well in spurts," he said of the loss at UFV, "But it all came down to unforced errors and little things like not jump-stopping and turning the ball over because we're off balance. We really tried to improve on our execution for that."

The two-game set with Westminster is part of what has been a stiff schedule for the Mariners, one that was put together to intentionally challenge the team.

For us, we don't want to play teams in our league for preseason," Kuzminski said.

"We liked to play someone outside our league. I specifically (put together) a really tough schedule for us this year because I think we have a chance to be pretty good."

Before opening the PacWest conference schedule Oct. 30 with a home game against the Camosun Chargers, the Mariners will travel to Seattle next weekend for another two-game set with an NAIA team, this time against Northwest University.

"We're usually able to compete really well with (American schools)," Kuzminski said.

"A lot of it comes down to the things that we're trying to get better at - discipline, execution, and concentrating on doing your job. They're usually disciplined in those areas, and it makes us try to get to their level and it gives us kind of a benchmark for where we're trying to get to."