Irvine Valley's men's basketball team played tough against another tough team in the state, but came up short on Friday night.
The Lasers fell to Fullerton, 56-51, in an Orange Empire Conference game on the road.
Fullerton was ranked sixth in the state and fourth in Southern California in this week's rankings.
Fullerton improved its record to 19-6 overall and 8-1 in conference. The Hornets are tied for first in the OEC standings with Saddleback.
Irvine Valley's record slipped to 12-12 overall and 3-6 overall.
The game got off to a slow start with Fullerton taking a 5-4 lead at the 13:45 mark. The Hornets turned it on at 7:39 when Ian Fox gave them an 18-7 lead on a slashing to the basket for a layup.
By halftime, Fullerton owned a 30-17 lead.
The Hornets came out blazing in the first part of the second half, taking a 20-point lead at 13:41.
But the Lasers came storming back.
Fullerton went more than five minutes without scoring. It allowed the Lasers to get back into the game at 52-47 with 1:23 left to play after a three-pointer by sophomore guard Anthony Hernandez.
And with just over a minute left in the game, IVC sophomore guard Zuri Williams scored on a layup to get the Lasers within 52-49.
With only nine seconds left in regulation, the Lasers were forced to foul and sent Kendall Lauderdale to the line. He made both free throws to seal the win for the Hornets.
Fullerton shot 52.4 percent from the field to Irvine's 36.6 percent.
Freshman forward Lance Coleman II led Irvine Valley with 16 points. Williams was the only other Laser in double figures with 10 points.
Irvine Valley hosts Cypress on Homecoming Night next Wednesday at 5 p.m.