angara’s win over VIU on Saturday lifts them up in this week’s rankings. – Brian Jones Photo
Only one change in this week’s Power Rankings, but it’s a major one.
VIU, who held the number-one spot in the rankings for the first four weeks of the season, has dropped to the number-two spot, trading places with Langara after the Falcons beat the Mariners 102-85 at home in Vancouver on Saturday.
VIU didn’t look as strong as usual against Douglas the night before, escaping with an 83-79 win, and then had a lot of trouble trying to keep up with the surging Falcons the following afternoon.
Langara has been on a terror since shedding their only loss to Quest in week two. The Falcons have eclipsed the 100-point mark in each of their last five bouts, and in six of eight total games so far this season.
“I would say we’re right on track. We’re just now figuring out how to use our bench effectively,” said Langara’s head coach Paul Eberhardt. “We had a much better idea how to use our bench last year than this year, but we’re starting to get good rotations and guys are figuring out how to play with each other. I’m happy where we’re at, but we still have a long way to go.”
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.
Elliot Mason, the 6-6 Langara sharpshooter, earned PacWest Player of The Week honours for his 16-point, 11-rebound performance versus Douglas on November 22. – Brian Jones Photo
With only a single game of basketball for each team this past weekend and no resulting upsets, the rankings haven’t budged since Week 3.
VIU hammered Camosun 93-51, urging me to completely disband the term ‘island rivalry’ from my vocabulary for the rest of the season. I’m upset to have even mentioned it in that last sentence.
Brandon Jones, third in PacWest scoring at 19.3 points per game, had a rather quiet offensive outing but still managed to put up an impressive stat line, tallying nine points, seven rebounds and 13 assists. The frontcourt duo of Jason Fortin and Seth Goodman led the Mariners in scoring at 19 and 14 respectively. Goodman and Fortin are currently the top-two rebounders in the league, with the former slightly edging out the latter 9.2 to 8.5.
VIU is torching the rest of the Lower Mainland, scoring 25.4 more points on average than their opponents so far.
But the lull in movement throughout the rankings may be short lived.
Brandon Jones looks to lead VIU back to the national stage in 2014. – Brian Jones Photo
Regular-season record: 16-5
Provincial tournament: Silver medallists
National tournament: Gold medallists
Key returning players:
Brandon Jones (4th year)
Clayton Billett (5th year)
Evan Verdel (5th year)
Jason McKee (3rd year)
Harrison Stupich (4th year)
Jon Bethell (injury)
Last March, after the Vancouver Island University Mariners conquered the CCAA’s best and took home gold in Montreal, they were awarded a plethora of hardware: a banner, individual medals and trophies, and customary championship rings.
But if you search for distinguishing jewelery on head coach Matt Kuzminski’s hands, you’re only going to be able to tell that he’s married, and not a national champion.
He doesn’t want to flaunt it. He doesn’t want to show it off. In fact, he doesn’t even want to think about it.
“We got our ring and everything, but I put all of that stuff away,” said Kuzminski. “I don’t really look at it and I don’t really think too much about the championship. I’m conscious of taking the approach where you have stay hungry and keep trying to get better. Any time you get content, I think that’s where you have a chance to slip up and people are going to pass you by.”