VIU’s Brandon Jones had on off-night against Douglas, but still led all scorers with 19 points. In the throwback above, Jones goes to the bucket during the 2012 PacWest championship semifinals. – Brian Jones photo
The Vancouver Island University Mariners had everything to lose on Friday night.
They had an undefeated record. They presented perfection dating back to last season’s national title. They came in ranked third in the CCAA’s national rankings. And, they had something a little more tangible to lose – their pride and confidence.
But it’s those last two that mattered most. Those two crucial facets of VIU’s identity, the building blocks of their genetic makeup that make them so good in the first place, were what helped them walk out of their battle with the Douglas College Royals not quite unscathed, but still undefeated.
VIU left New Westminster with an 83-79 win over Douglas last night, though the outcome was in question up until roughly 19 seconds left in the game.
Langara Falcons point guard, and PacWest player of the week, Brody Greig. – Brian Jones Photo
Two questions have hung over the Langara College Falcons like a cumulus Vancouver cloud for over a month:
Are they as good as they were last year?
And, can they beat VIU?
The answer to the first question is subjective. They’ve lost big pieces from last year’s historical provincial championship run, but their best players have gotten better and the supporting cast is still one of the best second units in the PacWest.
They addressed the doubts that any skeptic (including myself) had about their depth last night, as the Falcons bench contributed 43 points in a 101-80 win over the Douglas College Royals at Langara’s campus.
Four of the starting fourth-years posted double-digit scoring numbers, and Maple Ridge’s Max Neumann had his best game of the adolescent season, adding 10 points, eight rebounds, three emphatic blocks and went a perfect two of two from distance in 17 minutes off the pine.