Mariners Squeak by EOU in game 1

October 18th, 2015

Scott Mckenzie - Nanaimo Daily News
Oct 16, 2015 at 10:00 PM

In their first college basketball exhibition game of the 2015-16, the VIU Mariners welcomed some top competition from the U.S. to help them get ready for PacWest play.

And led by some new faces — Americans Josh Ross, John Thompson and Victoria’s Kaz Kobayashi — the Mariners beat the Eastern Oregon University Mountaineers 107-105 in the first of back-to-back games with EOU.

The teams play again at noon today at VIU.

“I’m glad we won, but the most important thing we’ll have to try to learn from that was, there were a lot of instances where we weren’t doing our jobs,” said VIU head coach Matt Kuzminski, not overly impressed with his team’s play in the win.

With last year’s PacWest MVP now playing professionally in Australia, the Mariners turned to last year’s sixth man, Chris Parker, to lead the way.

Parker finished with a game-high 27 points.

Thompson, his partner at guard, made big plays down the stretch in the game and the two Americans combined for a late steal that sealed the win.

Thompson had 20 points in the win, while Ross had 24.

Without King, former point guard Kadeem Stewart and local guard Harrison Stupich on the roster, it was a different looking VIU squad but also one Kuzminski is looking forward to watching grow.

“I’m really excited about the roster this year,” he said.  “I think we have a ton of potential.

“But we have a long way to go. We have to get to the point where guys are doing what they’re supposed to do on every single possession. If that doesn’t happen, we won’t be as good as we can be.”

Today, when the Mariners play the Mountaineers again, Kuzminski said he simply wants to see more effort out of his team.

After today’s game, the Mariners continue their run against U.S. competition with two games against the Northwest University Eagles in Washington State.

They will begin their defence of the PacWest conference championship on Oct. 30 when they host the Camosun Chargers at VIU to open the regular season.