Blues downed by first-place Mariners

Point guard Brenden Bailey drives hard to the hoop against VIU. Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures
Point guard Brenden Bailey drives hard to the hoop against VIU. Photo Paul Yates / Vancouver Sports Pictures

The Capilano University Blues men’s basketball team held tough against the #2-ranked team in the CCAA, but fells short against the Vancouver Island University Mariners on Saturday afternoon in North Vancouver.

CapU played catch-up right from the start, as VIU again got off to a quick start. The Blues continuously pushed back and kept the game within striking distance over the 40 minutes, but the Mariners always had an answer to maintain a double-digit advantage.

The away side led 27-17 after the first period of play, and while CapU tightened up their defense in the second quarter, the Mariners led by 11 heading into halftime. Fourth-year guard Hassan Phills helped spark the aggressive play from the Blues, as he tallied 17 points, five rebounds, and five fouls drawn over the opening 20 minutes.

Capilano’s offense continued to progress in the third quarter to the tune of 23 points in the frame, but VIU again used a third period push to respond with 26 of their own and maintain their comfortable lead.

The fourth quarter saw the Blues ramp up their full court pressure, which created turnovers and forced the Mariners into foul trouble. CapU was able to cut the lead to 11 thanks to a couple three-pointers from Denver Sparks-Guest and some tough play in the paint, but that was as far as they got. The Blues couldn’t convert on several other good looks down the stretch, and they ultimately fell 90-76.

Phills had a career best 31 points off the bench on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor and a 9-of-10 mark from the free-throw line, while Sparks-Guest added 22 and eight rebounds. As a team CapU shot well below their season average with a 34.2% mark, while VIU converted at a 50.8% success rate.

Capilano falls to 5-5 on the season and slips to fourth place in the PACWEST, while VIU remains in first at 10-0. The Blues are back in action next weekend when they travel up to Squamish to take on the Quest University Kermodes on January 19 and 20, and they’ll be back home on January 26 and 27 when they host the 6-4 Camosun College Chargers.