It wasn't quite as easy as the first time the Irvine Valley men's basketball team defeated Orange Coast this season. But the Lasers will take the victory just the same.
Irvine Valley, ranked 17th in the state, defeated Orange Coast, 68-52, Wednesday night in an Orange Empire Conference game at OCC.
The win improved IVC's record to 19-6 overall and 6-3 in conference. The Lasers are currently in third place in the conference standings - one game behind both Saddleback and Riverside for first place.
Irvine Valley takes on Riverside at Cal Baptist University on Friday at 8:30 p.m. IVC led Orange Coast just 29-27 at the end of the first half.
But the Lasers out-scored the Pirates by 14 points (39-25) in the second half. Irvine Valley pushed its lead up to 15 (56-41) with a little more than five minutes left before a 9-0 OCC run over the next three minutes cut the deficit to 56-50. But that was as close as the Pirates (8-17, 3-6) would get as the Lasers closed the game out with a 12-2 run.
Freshman forward Zach Mills led Irvine Valley with 21 points and 10 rebounds in just 20 minutes off the bench. Mills shot the ball well, going 7 of 11 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
He added 10 rebounds. Sophomore guard Ramon Mejia added 13 points and sophomore center Austin Loeb chipped in 10 points.
Sophomore guard Kalob Hatcher had seven points and four assists and sophomore forward Chris Taylor contributed seven points and three steals.
Irvine Valley shot 48.1 percent from the field (26 of 54) and out-rebounded Orange Coast, 40-31.