Men's basketball team can't get past Santa Monica in semis

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Irvine Valley's men's basketball team dropped its first game of the season and lost out on a chance to win a fourth Irvine Valley Classic tournament title in a row on Friday.

Santa Monica defeated the Lasers, 74-66, in a semifinal game of tournament.

The Corsairs were ahead most of the way and their lead was double digits much of the second half. Santa Monica's biggest lead was 19 points.

Irvine Valley scored the first five points of the game - on a jumper by sophomore guard Zuri Williams and a three-pointer by Lance Coleman II.

But Santa Monica scored the next six points. A three-pointer by Brandon Russell put Santa Monica ahead, 6-5, with 16:08 left in the first half.

Coleman made the next basket to put Irvine Valley back up by a point.

The Corsairs went on an 8-0 run after that and never looked back. Two free throws by Dwight Murray gave the Corsairs a 14-7 lead with 13:48 left in the half.

Santa Monica increased its lead to 30-19 and then went ahead, 34-20, with 3:30 left after two free throws by Jhamad Norwood.

The Corsairs led, 38-29, at the half. Santa Monica went 13 of 15 from the line in the first half.

Irvine Valley made a run early in the second half, scoring the first four points. Coleman sank two free throws and sophomore forward Zach Harvey made a layup to bring the Lasers to within 38-33 a minute into the half.

But Santa Monica went on an 8-1 run to take back control.

A layup by Terrell Waiters pushed Santa Monica's advantage to 48-36 with 15:02 to play.

Santa Monica took its biggest lead of the game at 61-42 on a three-pointer by Joe Robinson with 8:40 left in the game.

Irvine Valley closed the gap in the final minutes but it wasn't enough. Williams made a three-pointer to bring the Lasers within 72-66 with 23 seconds to play.

Santa Monica's Isiah Ajiboye sank two free throws with 15 seconds left to seal the victory.

Santa Monica shot just 35.7 percent (20 of 56) for the game, but more than made up for that at the free throw line and on the boards. Santa Monica was 31 of 38 from the free throw line. The Corsairs also out-rebounded the Lasers, 43-28. Santa Monica had twice as many offensive rebounds than Irvine Valley (18-9).

Norwood led the way with 20 points and 16 rebounds. Ajiboye added 12 points, Waiters and Murray each had eight points for Santa Monica.

Irvine Valley shot 44.9 percent (22 of 49) for the game. The Lasers were just 6 of 22 (27.3) percent from three-point range, however.

Coleman finished with a game-high 26 points. It was his third 25-plus point game of the season. He also added six rebounds.

Sophomore guard Mike Turner had 12 points and two blocks and Williams finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Irvine Valley will take on Canyons in the third-place game on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Santa Monica will face off with Cerritos in the championship game at 4 p.m.

2016 Irvine Valley College Classic

Nov. 18 - Second Day Results

Cuyamaca def. Imperial Valley, 60-58 (consolation game)

Ventura def. Long Beach City, 85-67 (consolation game)

Cerritos def. Canyons, 64-51 (championship semifinal)

Santa Monica def. Irvine Valley, 74-66 (championship semifinal)

Nov. 19 - Final Day Schedule

Cuyamaca vs. Ventura at 12 p.m. (consolation final)

Canyons vs. Irvine Valley at 2 p.m. (third-place game)

Cerritos vs. Santa Monica at 4 p.m. (championship)

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