The Irvine Valley men's basketball team saw its record fall to 2-2 on the season after a disappointing loss in its opening game of the Irvine Valley Classic on Thursday evening.
The Lasers let a second-half lead slip away and fell to Long Beach City, 65-63.
Irvine Valley was led by freshman guard Ramon Mejia, who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and three steals. Sophomore forward Joe Eberhard added 11 points and seven rebounds before fouling out late and sophomore center Ephraim Ekanem had 10 points and four rebounds before also fouling out.
No other player scored more than six points for Irvine Valley.
IVC hurt itself by missing 10 free throws (15 of 25 for the game) and committing 20 turnovers. IVC was also out-scored by Long Beach City on second-chance points, 17-9.
"We are at a state where our inexperience is really a factor," IVC Coach Jerry Hernandez said. "We are just making too many stupid mistakes. We have to play with more of a sense of urgency and with greater detail. The bottom line is that we have to play smarter. We have to improve and we have to do it quickly."
IVC led, 32-29, at halftime and was up, 55-51, with 5:35 to play after two free throws by Ekanem. But Long Beach City went on a 9-2 run and swent ahead, 60-57, with 1:43 left on two free throws by Stephan Heard.
Irvine Valley tied the game, 60-60, on a three-pointer by Mejia with 1:32 left, but Ronald Nezey put his team back up by three points after nailing a three-pointer with 1:15 to play.
IVC pulled back even at 63-63 on a three-point play by sophomore guard Marcus Walters with 1:05 left. But those were the Lasers' final points of the game.
A free throw by Mandingo gave the Vikings a 64-63 edge with 35 seconds to go.
Irvine Valley had its chances down the stretch, but Eberhard and sophomore forward Sean Donovan each missed shots in the closing seconds.
Mandingo missed and made a free throw to put Long Beach City ahead, 65-63 with four seconds left.
Irvine Valley freshman guard Kalob Hatcher raced down the floor and tried a layup as time expired, but it fell off the rim.
Mandingo led Long Beach City with 14 points, six rebounds and four steals off the bench.
Stephan Heard added 12 points and five rebounds, Stephen Armstrong contributed eight points and seven rebounds and Devonte Norton had six points, six assists and three steals for the Vikings, who improved their record to 1-0 on the season.