The Irvine Valley men's basketball team won maybe its most important game of the season and also captured the President's Cup title for the second year in a row.
The Lasers defeated Saddleback on the road, 72-64, in an important Orange Empire Conference contest last Friday night.
The President’s Cup is a friendly wager between the two college presidents about who has the superior basketball programs.
Irvine Valley and Saddleback split the four total men's and women's contests during the conference season.
But based on Friday night's results where Irvine Valley's men team won by eight points and the Laser women's squad won by 13 points, IVC captured the tiebreaker and retained the President’s Cup trophy for a second year.
The Gauchos (16-8, 7-2) had trouble stopping Irvine Valley sophomore guard Ramon Mejia, who tallied a game-high 21 points.
Sophomore point guard Kalob Hatcher added 10 points, three assists and three steals. In all, 11 players scored for the Lasers in the game.
Sophomore forward Chris Taylor had eight points and four rebounds and freshman forward Christian Scott and sophomore center Austin Loeb each contributed seven points. Scott also tallied a game-high eight rebounds for IVC.
The Lasers (18-6, 5-3) had trouble making three-point shots (1 of 10) but had little trouble at the foul line, making 72 percent of their shots (23 of 32). Irvine Valley led the entire game, building a seven point lead in the first half and extending that lead to 11 points in the second half with 6:02 to play.
Saddleback was able to cut its deficit to five points but didn't get any closer as the Lasers' lead again ballooned up to 10 points (66-56) on a free throw by Hatcher with 3:26 to play.
Saddleback shot under 50 percent from the foul line (17 of 35) in the game.
Irvine Valley plays two more games on the road this week.
The team is at Orange Coast on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and plays at Riverside at Cal Baptist University on Friday at 8:30 p.m.