Irvine Valley's men's basketball team won its second game in a row in conference and moved within striking distance of one of the top four spots in the Orange Empire Conference with a 83-69 win over Orange Coast on Friday night at home.
It was Pink Night for IVC in support of Coaches vs. Cancer. Proceeds from ticket sales at the game will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
IVC improved its record to 14-12 overall and 5-6 in conference. The Lasers have just one game left in the regular season - a conference game at Riverside next Thursday at 5 p.m.
With Friday night's victory, Irvine Valley moved within a half game of fourth-place Cypress. The Chargers lost to Saddleback Wednesday and play at Riverside and at Santa Ana next week.
Irvine Valley got a big night on Wednesday from sophomore point guard Zuri Williams. He had maybe his best games as a Laser, finishing with an IVC career high 24 points to go along with eight rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Freshman forward Lance Coleman II added 20 points and 12 rebounds and freshman guard Daniel Hernandez came up with 17 important points off the bench, including a bunch when IVC took the lead for good in the second half.
Irvine Valley led 33-28 at the half, but Orange Coast picked up the pressure and made its move early the second half.
Orange Coast opened the second half on a 17-6 run. The Pirates took a 35-34 lead on a three-point play by Deandre Hawkins with 18:27 left.
And the Pirates were up, 45-39 (their biggest lead of the night) after a jumper by Tim Pena with 13:58 left.
But Hernandez answered for Irvine Valley, scoring nine points in a row to get IVC back in it.
He knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to tie the game at 45 with 13:09 left. His three-point play with 11:41 to go gave IVC a 48-47 lead.
The game was tied at 49-49, but IVC took the lead for good shortly after.
Williams made two free throws, Coleman scored inside, Hernandez made a layup and then nailed a jumper as part of a 8-0 run to put IVC ahead, 57-49 with 8:39 to play.
Orange Coast didn't get closer than six points the rest of the way.
IVC took its largest lead of the second half with 1:09 left at 83-64 when Hernandez capped his night with two free throws.
Irvine Valley also got nine points and seven rebounds from sophomore forward Zach Harvey and nine points from freshman forward Zane Padden. Sophomore guard Jack Taylor contributed a game-high five assists for the Lasers.
Irvine Valley out-rebounded Orange Coast, 42-33, and shot 47.3 percent (26 of 55) from the field as a team.
Orange Coast (8-19, 1-10) got 24 points, four assists and four steals from Kamar Reese, 16 points and four rebounds from Tim Pena and nine points and seven rebounds from Ryan Fusco.