Although rallying from a 15-point deficit to within three late in the game, the Loyola Marymount University men’s basketball team fell short in its quest for the College Basketball Invitational title, losing 56-47 to South Florida in the CBI semifinals on March 28.

The Lions (22-12) nonetheless achieved the third-best season victory total in school history, tying the 1948-49 team and trailing only the NCAA Tournament teams of 1987-88 (28 wins) and 1989-90 (26 wins). The 22 wins was double then previous season’s total and the best won-lost mark in coach Mike Dunlap’s four years.

Against South Florida, LMU — plagued by cold shooting and one-sided free-throw shooting (the Bulls attempted 23 to the Lions’ six) — scored the first basket of the second half to break a 22-22 tie, but saw South Florida score 17 of the next 19.

Then, trailing 44-29 with 11 minutes remaining, the Lions went on a 13-1 tear over the next five minutes with Zafir Williams tallying six of the 13. But South Florida regrouped and pulled away.

Offensively, no Lion reached double figures for the first time all season. James Batemon, Mattias Markusson and Erik Johansson each scored nine points, Dameane Douglas had five assists, and Douglas and Markusson each had seven rebounds.

Mike Nelson is the former editor of The Tidings (predecessor of Angelus News).

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