Late-game heroics by Mattias Markusson boosted the Loyola Marymount University men’s basketball team to a 56-55 victory over Cal Baptist in Riverside March 20 in the first round of the College Basketball Invitational.

With 31 seconds remaining and LMU trailing 55-53 after leading much of the game, James Batemon found Markusson in the post, and the 7-foot-3 junior center from Sweden scored on a hook shot, was fouled and converted the free throw. Two Cal Baptist shots in the final five seconds were unsuccessful, and the Lions had their first post-season victory since beating Cal state Fullerton and Weber State in the 2012 CIT Invitational.

Markusson finished with a team-high 13 points and added six rebounds. Eli Scott and Dameane Douglas each scored 10, and Scott had nine rebounds as both teams displayed good defense with LMU shooting just 37 percent and Cal Baptist 32 percent from the field.

Next up for LMU (21-11) is a quarterfinal game March 25, 7 p.m. at Gersten Pavilion, against Brown University (20-11), the Ivy League school from Providence, Rhode island. The 16-team College Basketball Invitational, won in the past by Santa Clara (2013) and Loyola of Chicago (2015), features a best-of-three finals format; semifinals are March 27 and 28.

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

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