San Marcos held off a furious late rally by Ventura to post a 64-58 road win at Bob Tuttle Gymnasium on Tuesday.

The Royals were led by the stellar perimeter play of Nick Marquez ,who posted a team-high 23 points, including four three-pointers. Frank Nordin chipped in 17 points to go along with his 12 rebounds. The win vaults the Royals (18-7, 4-3 in Channel League) into a second-place tie with Ventura (17-8, 4-3). San Marcos owns the tiebreak advantage by winning both games this season against the Cougars.

Both teams battled back and forth in the opening period before Ventura ended the scoring at 14-13 behind a couple of free throws by James Ennis. Ennis led all scorers with 27 points.

The Royals responded in the second quarter with Nordin hitting a three-pointer and scoring three baskets inside on a variety of moves, while Marquez scored in transition, including a half court alley-oop layup from Trevor Hopkins. Marquez, who scored 11 points in the quarter, also hit a three-pointer from NBA range while being fouled by Ennis, and he hit the free throw to complete the rare four-point play.

Ventura standout and leading scorer James Staniland hit a three-point shot late in the quarter to cut the lead to 38-28 at intermission. The Cougars employed a variety of single and double screens to get Staniland open but Scott Moll held him to four field goals in 12 attempts without fouling him once. Staniland finished with 10 points, nine under his season average.

The Royals surged ahead by 15 points in the third quarter after a Brian Pearson three-pointer off a pass by Moll, but Ventura would not go away on its home court. With Staniland struggling to find his rhythm, the Cougars looked to run their offense through Ennis. He drove repeatedly into the lane and was met with a gaggle of Royals defenders, but was still able to get off his shot. When he wasn’t able to hit the shot, he was fouled and sank 15 of 18 free throws on the night.

Ventura’s 2-2-1 press helped it get back into the game in the fourth quarter with the Royals committing a few costly turnovers. Nick Zavala hit a three-pointer with 2:30 remaining to cut the lead to six. After a San Marcos timeout, the Royals turned the ball over and Ennis scored a layup in transition to pare the lead to four, but that was as close as Ventura would get. The Royals hit just enough free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

Jarrod Bradley coaches San Marcos’ boys’ basketball team.