The Vancouver Island University Mariners alumni team, showed they have a few lessons to give to the current men's basketball squad on Saturday.
The alumni beat the M's 84-77 in an exhibition game at VIU, led by former all-Canadians Tyler Olsen with 24 points and Andrew Kaban with 20.
This year's edition of the Mariners were led by veterans Harrison Stupich with 16 points and Jason Fortin with 14.
Despite the loss, second year head coach Matt Kuzminski was happy with what he saw from his players, but knows they still have a lot of work to do before the Pacific Western Athletic Association season starts on Nov. 2. "I thought the guys battled hard, we were able to play in stretches to where we want to be, but we just weren't able to sustain it," he said. "The team that we played, if they were in this league they would probably be the best team."
Kuzminski was impressed particularly with the effort of Fortin, a six-foot-four, third-year forward out of Dover Bay.
"I'm not sure I've been around a guy that plays as hard as Jason. .. he doesn't seem like he gets tired and he's always giving maximum effort," said Kuzminski.
However, the game provided a reminder of the kind of talent that they have had to replace over the last few years, including Jacob Thom, Olsen and Kaban. Olsen looked as dominant as he ever did last year when he helped lead VIU to a surprise Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship.
He is still around the program, helping coach this year's group of forwards.
"Tyler in his fifth year he really started to figure out the game, and obviously now is a very good player who might still be able to go play some where if he checks out his options," said Kuzminski.
The Mariners are off for the Thanksgiving weekend, but return to action with an exhibition road trip against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack and UBC-Okanagan Heat on Oct. 19 and 20, respectively.
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