The Irvine Valley men's basketball team held on to beat Cypress, 86-81, Wednesday night at home to remain in second place in the Orange Empire Conference standings.
Irvine Valley improved its record to 21-6 overall and 8-3 in conference. They are a game behind Saddleback for first place. Riverside is one game back of IVC.
The Lasers were at their best in the first half, shooting 51.4 percent from the field (19 of 37). They took a 50-36 lead into the break.
Irvine Valley built its lead to as many as 17 points early in the second half. Sophomore guard Ramon Mejia hit a three-pointer to put IVC ahead, 57-40, with 16:39 to play.
But Cypress rallied in the second half behind guard Andre Winn. Winn, who tallied 41 points in a win last week against Santa Ana, scored 24 points in the second half and brought Cypress within 85-81 with nine seconds left after he made three free throws.
Mejia made one free throw for the Lasers with eight seconds to play to help Irvine Valley escape.
Mejia and sophomore forward Chris Taylor led IVC with 14 points each. Taylor also had four assists and Mejia added four steals. Sophomore center Austin Loeb and freshman forward Michael Bolden each chipped in 12 points. Loeb, Bolden and freshman center Kirill Sergeyev led the team with six rebounds each.
IVC shot 46.7 percent from the field (28 of 60) for the game, but was just 9 of 23 from the floor (39.1 percent) in the second half.
Meanwhile, Cypress shot 56.0 percent in the second half (14 of 25) to get back in it. Winn finished with 28 points. Montel Taylor had 15 points and nine rebounds and Kourtney Maxim added 14 points and six rebounds.
Cypress hurt itself with 24 turnovers in the game. The Chargers did our-rebound the Lasers, 36-27.
Irvine Valley finishes the regular season at Fullerton on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.
An IVC win combined with a Saddleback loss (Saddleback plays Riverside) and the Lasers can tie for the conference title.