Irvine Valley's men's basketball team held the lead at half and was up early in the second half, but Santa Monica came back in the end to beat the Lasers, 67-63, in their opening game in the Don Johnson Classic at Cypress College.
IVC's record slipped to 3-7 overall with the defeat. Santa Monica improved to 6-4.
The Lasers took a 29-25 lead into halftime. And IVC led by as many as six points early in the second half when sophomore guard DeVon Lamar made a jumper to put Irvine Valley ahead, 31-25.
A jumper by sophomore guard Geoff Salas kept Irvine Valley in front, 42-39, with 11:15 to play.
But Santa Monica scored the next six points, getting three-pointers by Chijindu Egeonu and Dakari Hughest to take a 45-42 advantage.
IVC freshman guard Tylan Lassiter nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 45 with 9:47 to go.
It was back and forth from there. A three-pointer play by Salas gave Irvine Valley a 48-47 lead with 8:52 left.
But Santa Monica went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes. A layup by Hughes put the Corsairs in front, 56-48, with 6:07 left.
The Lasers fought back and tied the score at 56 after a three-pointer by Salas with 4:48 to go in the game.
Santa Monica turned it around and scored six more points in a row to take the lead for good. A dunk by Daniel Hayes put Santa Monica up, 64-58, with 2:33 to play.
Irvine Valley couldn't get closer than three points the rest of the way.
Irvine Valley plays again on Friday in the two-day tournament, taking on Moorpark at 1 p.m.