The college basketball season is upon us!
The PacWest kicked off regular season play this weekend with each team playing one game apiece, and while there were no thrilling victories or buzzer-beater finishes, it gave everyone a chance to crank it up a notch from the preseason.
Here is a recap of what went down across the league:
Kwantlen Eagles 100 – CBC Bearcats 89
In a rematch of last season’s opener, Kwantlen utilized a newfound emphasis on defense and saw four of their starters score double digits as they led CBC from start to finish.
The Eagles are completely revamped this year, and they showed that they’re not going to be completely reliant on the production of fifth-year centre Ali Bosir.
Third-year guard Aaron Ram had a game-high 38 points for Kwantlen, while CBC’s Marcio Juk led the Bearcats with 26 – including four threes.
“Our chemistry on offence was good, we went inside more in the second half, but we have to guard that three,” said head coach Stefon Wilson after the game.
CBC played scrappy and didn’t mail it in after being down as much as 18 points in the third quarter, and actually outscored the Eagles in the fourth. If they settle in and play a consistent 40 minutes, they’re likely to provide a few upsets this year.
Kwantlen looked impressive, but they’ll see their first real test as they head to the island next weekend to play VIU and Camosun.
Langara Falcons 100 – Douglas Royals 65
Langara picked up where they off last season, cruising to a 35-point victory over a young Douglas team who played without the services of starting point guard Andrew Baron.
The Falcons saw five players score 10 or more, including four of their starters. Brody Greig led the way with a triple double of 19 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in just 26 minutes of play.
After amounting the large lead, Langara was able to give their bench huge minutes, which is going to end up being crucial – as they don’t look to be as deep as they were just a year ago.
Both teams head north next weekend to play Capilano and Quest in their first set of double headers.
Capilano Blues 85 – Quest Kermodes 76
Fueled by a raucous crowd, Capilano jumped out on Quest early, and used a strong second quarter to build enough of a cushion to hold off the Kermodes the rest of the way.
Blues guard Tony Rowe poured in 30 points and went five for eight from long range, while the duo of Lukas Wera and Daniel Dubois chipped in 15 and 10 respectively.
Quest’s explosive point guard, Cartiea French-Toney, dropped 42 points and attacked the rim enough to go 10-11 from the free throw line.
The Kermodes kept chipping away as the game went on, but couldn’t close the gap each time they brought the deficit within single digits.
“Cap is going to be in the upper-echelon of the league this year,” said Quest head coach Sean Shook.
I expect the Kermodes to rebound from this and fight for one of the top-four spots in the standings, but Capilano, as Shook mentioned, has quickly established themselves as a serious contender.
VIU Mariners 77 – Camosun Chargers 66
The defending national champs travelled down the Malahat Saturday night for their season opener against Camosun, and proceeded to beat down on their island rivals in a match that didn’t feature many surprises.
The Mariners led by as much as 28 points in the third quarter, but Camosun fought back in the fourth, outscoring VIU’s bench 22-8 in the final frame – but too little was indeed too late.
Mariners point guard Brandon Jones led the way with 32 points, including four of eight from deep, while fifth-year guard Clayton Billet chipped in 19 and third-year forward Jason Fortin added eight points and 12 boards.
James Giuffre paced the Chargers with 18 points on 75 per cent shooting from the field, while forward Trevor Scheurmann contributed 16.
Camosun is still one of those middle-of-the-pack squads that can heat up and make things interesting against any team, but their roster doesn’t go deep enough to compete with a powerhouse like VIU.
The Mariners, on the other hand, were able to completely control the tempo, and remain one of the most dominant forces in the PacWest.
With Jones, French-Toney, Rowe, Ram, and Greig putting up massive numbers in the opening weekend, it looks as though B.C. players will be a staple on the CCAA statistical leader boards in 2013-14. Granted, three of those five are imports from down south, but the influx of American talent is clearly elevating the play of PacWest.
VIU and Langara still retain their positions atop of the food chain, and Quest should join them as they find their groove, but Capilano may be on the road to reclaim some lustre that they lost once star James Lum and coach Jordan Yu left two seasons ago.
The bottom line is that the PacWest is going to be more competitive than it was last year, and while there probably isn’t going to be another Langara-like run at perfection, their isn’t likely to be a team that goes 0-21.
Week 1 Power Rankings
- VIU Mariners
- Langara Falcons
- Capilano Blues
- Quest Kermodes
- Kwantlen Eagles
- Camosun Chargers
- CBC Bearcats
- Douglas Royals