One of the nation’s best defensive teams showed their skills — especially their quick hands — at Gersten Pavilion March 25 as the Loyola Marymount University men's basketball team defeated Brown, 81-63, in the quarterfinals of the CBI Tournament.

The Lions (22-11) matched their season-high with a dozen steals, and forced 20 Brown turnovers plus a season-high 56 deflections. "When we brought the pressure up full court, it changed the complexion of the game," said Coach Mike Dunlap.

Offensively, LMU made 30 field goals against Brown, the most against a Division I opponent this year. James Batemon led the Lions with 20 points, Joe Quintana added 12, and Mattias Markusson and Zafir Williams each had 11.

The teams exchanged the lead several times in the first half before LMU closed out the half on an 11-3 run to take a 44-37 halftime lead. The Lions extended the lead to 13, and built it as high as 23 late in the game.

Having now doubled their season victory total of year ago, LMU advances to the CBI semifinals March 30 to play South Florida in Tampa (4 p.m. PDT). The winner will advance to the best-of-three final round against the winner of Wednesday's Coastal Carolina vs. DePaul game.

“At the minimum," said Dunlap, “we can say that we took a big step forward this year, and that's really important to us. Now, we play a very tough South Florida team. We've seen them in the Jamaica Classic, so we're excited about that opportunity.”

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

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