November 9th, 2014
VIU men drop No. 1 Langara on the road
Ross Armour / Daily News
November 10, 2014
The VIU Mariners men's basketball team won back-to-back games on the road Friday and Saturday, including an historic win over a team seeded No. 1 in Canada.
Friday night saw head coach Matt Kuzminski's troops defeat the Douglas College Royals 89-85 and then Saturday, the Mariners won 77-70 over the top-ranked Langara Falcons. Kuzminski said the succesful Lower Mainland road trip will do wonders for the team's confidence as they look to go all the way to the national championship long term.
"My coaching staff has been around for three years and this is the first time we've beaten Langara," said the head coach. "They are traditionally a fast break team so we had to contain that.
"It's nice to finally beat them."
Kuzminski described the win over Langara as the Mariners' best offensive display of the season.
"It was a great effort," he said. "We had to play with a little bit slower tempo in this game to try and slow them down a bit. But we got into great positions so were able to hit our high percentage shots. They get up and down very well but I thought we controlled the game."
But despite that momentous win over the Falcons, Kuzminski says the Mariners still have work to do and will watch a lot of film of the two games to work on improvements.
He said the Royals game was a scrappy one and reckons the Mariners should have won by more than they did.
"The Douglas game wasn't our best performance," he said. "It turned out to be a lot closer than I though it was going to be. They competed hard and created some matchup problems for us."
Kuzminski said his team needs to get better on the defensive end in terms of stopping dribble penetration.
"We weren't able to contain that of theirs so gave up a lot of fouls," he said. "Their dribble penetration also drew our guys in when we were rotating and they were able to find the open man and hit their three pointers."
On the night, the Royals scored 42 points of their 85 from the free throw line.
But nevertheless, they won back-to-back games away from home giving Kuzminski and co. the belief of achieving the dream.
"Our goal is to make nationals first, which is a difficult task," Kuzminski said. "Then it's a new season. We want to try and win a national championship. I'm always optimistic, we have a very talented team which is heading in the right direction."
The head coach says his team hasn't reached full potential yet.
"It's only November, so that's not a bad thing. You want to be doing that in February or March. We've got five new guys this year and it's a great group," said Kuzminski."