The Irvine Valley men's basketball team was up to the challenge of its biggest test so far this season in the first round of its own Irvine Valley Classic.
The Lasers, ranked 10th in Southern California and 18th in the state, dominated College of the Canyons, 72-52, Thursday night at Irvine Valley.
Both teams were undefeated with records of 3-0 heading into the game. Canyons was ranked 15th in Southern California.
"Our shot selection and ball movement was the best its been in four games," Irvine Valley Coach Jerry Hernandez said. "And I was real pleased with our preparation defensively. We really challenged their shooters and contained their drivers."
Irvine Valley played its best basketball of the season in the first half against Canyons.
Canyons scored the first basket of the game. Then the Lasers scored the next 12 points in a row. Sophomore forward Max Carrier made a jumper, sophomore forward Durrell Norman had a steal and a layup, Norman drilled a jumper, freshman forward Joe Eberhard made two free throws, Norman had another steal and a layup and a layup by Carrier capped the run.
IVC led, 12-2, just three minutes into the contest.
The Lasers continued to increase their lead. A jumper by freshman point guard Christian Mack made it 19-5 with 14:38 left in the half.
And a three-pointer by sophomore guard Andrew Arnold gave IVC a 22-8 lead with 13:53 to go. IVC stretched it to a 20-point lead at 33-13 when Eberhard made a layup with 6:10 to go in the opening half.
A 5-0 run toward the end of the half pushed IVC's advantage to its largest of the game at 40-15. Irvine Valley led 44-21 after two free throws by guard Isac Stalzer with 46 seconds to play in the half.
The Lasers shot 55.2 percent (16 of 29) in the opening half and limited Canyons to just 33.3 percent (7 of 21).
Irvine Valley was never threatened in the second half and cruised to the victory.
For the game, the Lasers shot 49.1 percent (27 of 55) to Canyons' 38.5 percent (20 of 52). Irvine Valley also had 20 assists on its 27 baskets and committed just 10 turnovers in the game.
Carrier led the way with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks and two steals. Eberhard had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists, Norman added 11 points and four steals and freshman forward Travis Fulton and Mack each contributed eight points in the victory.
"I am really pleased so far with the attitude and dedication of this team," Hernandez said. "The players are competing hard and trusting each other out there. It has been great."
The Irvine Valley Classic wraps up on Saturday with games at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.