November 29th, 2015
By Greg Skaki
Nanaimo News Bulletin
When the VIU Mariners play a complete game, they can compete at the next level.
Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team won one of two exhibition games this past weekend at the VIU gym against the Northwest Christian University Beacons.
The M’s won Saturday’s contest in overtime, 100-97, but were defeated Sunday by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics squad from Eugene, Ore.
“It’s nice to see that we can play with good quality NAIA teams,” said Matt Kuzminski, M's coach, whose team is now 3-3 this fall against opponents from that league.
Saturday’s game was one of momentum swings, as the Mariners built a lead, but then had trouble handling the Beacons’ pressure and gave the lead back.
“Our guys showed a lot of composure to stick with it and stay together when things were going bad for for us, which is a big stride…” said Kuzminski. “So we’re making progress.”
Down by three points in the dying seconds of regulation, point guard John Thompson was fouled on a three-point attempt, and so he went to the free throw line and knocked down all three to force OT.
“We were the aggressors in overtime, I thought,” Kuzminski said.
Jason Fortin, VIU forward, said when the game went to overtime, his team was out to win it.
“The game isn’t going to count for our record or anything, but I think guys need to have the mindset that we’re always trying to get better, so we should be excited for any game, any time we get a chance to play,” he said.
Thompson scored 26 in the win, with Josh Ross adding 19, Bryson Cox scoring 17, Fortin scoring 15 and Chris Parker with 14. The next day, Thompson led the M’s with 22 points. Ross had 14 and Fortin scored 13.
GAME ON … The Mariners will play two more exhibitions against NAIA teams this fall, visiting Warner Pacific and Concordia on Dec. 18-19.