Junior center Mattias Markusson (pictured) notched nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the Lions' 47-56 loss to South Florida on Thursday in the semifinal round of the College Basketball Invitational. 

The LMU men’s basketball team (22-12, 8-8 WCC regular season) fell to the Bulls of South Florida (22-13, 8-10 AAC regular season) on Thursday, 47-56, in the semifinal round of the College Basketball Invitational in Tampa, Florida. The game marks the end of the Lions’ 2018-19 season. Here are three major takeaways from the team's loss.

3. South Florida out-rebounds LMU, leading to extra opportunities for Bulls

While both teams secured 18 rebounds heading into halftime, LMU struggled to get rebounds over their Floridian opponent in the second half. The Lions recorded just 11 in the final twenty minutes to USF’s 19, bringing the Lions’ total to just 29 across all forty minutes to USF’s 37. The Bulls excelled on the offensive glass, securing 11 offensive boards to LMU’s seven. USF was able to convert those rebounds into points, notching 10 second chance points in the game to LMU’s five. The bulk of the team’s rebounding efforts came from junior center Mattias Markusson and freshman guard Dameane Douglas, both with seven.

2. Free throws keep USF in control, LMU at bay

While the Bulls gained a 15-point lead in the second half, the Lions eventually cut it to one possession after a strong layup from sophomore guard Eli Scott to make it 42-45 with 6:34 remaining in the game. The Bulls, however, never allowed the Lions to overtake the lead down the stretch, as USF proceeded to go to the free-throw line 10 more times before the final buzzer sounded. While they made only five of those 10 attempts, it made a significant difference as neither team made significant strides from the field in the final minutes, with LMU making only two of their final six shots with three turnovers and USF making 3-of-6 with three turnovers as well. The Bulls’ 10 free throws helped secure them a lead over the Lions, who only went to the line three times in the final 6:34.

The Lions went to the line only six times across all forty minutes, contributing to their low point total of 47 — a significant contrast to the team’s averages of 19 free throws and 67 points per game. The squad only converted on two of their six opportunities against their opponent. The Bulls fouled just 13 times to the Lions’ 17 total fouls, which led to USF’s 23 attempts, of which they made 17.

1. Despite loss, Johansson shines from deep

Junior guard Erik Johansson checked into the game at the 10:45 mark in the first half and immediately made an impact. Johansson quickly knocked down back-to-back three pointers to help give the Lions their largest lead of the game at 17-10. Johansson would go on to drain another three-pointer with 7:11 remaining in the second half. The Swedish native finished the game with 9 points in 15 minutes, going 3-for-5 from deep and 3-for-6 from the field overall. The junior averaged 2.0 points off 9.9 minutes a game this season.

This is the opinion of Jameson O'Neil, a freshman English major from Boston, Massachusetts. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to mthomas@theloyolan.com.

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