The Irvine Valley men's basketball team dug itself too deep of a hole to climb out of.
Irvine Valley found itself down by 20 points at halftime and even though the Lasers got close in the final minutes it wasn't enough in a 62-59 Orange Empire Conference loss to Riverside at home on Wednesday night.
The defeat dropped Irvine Valley's record to 15-5 overall and 2-2 in conference.
Riverside improved to 9-7 overall and 3-1 in conference. Riverside is tied for first place with Saddleback.
IVC trailed, 39-19, at the end of the first half after shooting just 24.0 percent from the floor (6 of 25) and getting out-rebounded, 24-11. Riverside shot 50.0 percent in the first half (15 of 30).
Riverside scored the first four points of the second half and took its largest lead at 43-19 on a jumper by Keenan Braden with 18:51 left in the game.
Irvine Valley got its offense going after that.
The Lasers went on a 15-0 run over the next nine minutes. A three-pointer by sophomore guard Kalob Hatcher made it a 43-39 contest with 9:32 left.
But Irvine Valley never got closer than three points the rest of the way. Riverside put the game away with key free throws made by Corey Walker and Jacob Straley down the stretch.
IVC ended up shooting 36.8 percent for the game (21-57). The Lasers were 15 of 32 (46.9 percent) in the second half. But IVC made just 7 of 24 three-pointers (29.4 percent) for the contest.
Irvine Valley was led by Hatcher with 16 points and five assists. Sophomore center Austin Loeb had his best game as a Laser with 12 points and six rebounds.
Sophomore guard Ramon Mejia added 10 points and three steals.
Riverside, which shot 46.8 percent for the game (22 of 47) and out-rebounded IVC, 35-29, was paced by Staley, who finished with 13 points, Walker, who had 10 points and Stephan Shephard, who added nine points.
Irvine Valley plays at Cypress on Friday at 5:30 p.m.