Men's basketball team takes OEC opener in dramatic fashion

Courtesy of On My Game Photography
Courtesy of On My Game Photography

Freshman guard Daniel Chatman made a tough driving layup over two defenders with 4.3 seconds to play to help lift the Irvine Valley men's basketball team to a dramatic 63-62 win over Orange Coast in an Orange Empire Conference opener on Wednesday night at home.

The Lasers, who hadn't led the entire game until Chatman's make, still had to hold on. OCC's Joshua Davis had a good look at the buzzer, but his bank from the left side caromed off the rim and away.

Irvine Valley trailed by as many as 18 points in the contest.

The Lasers, ranked 15th in Southern California in the latest coaches poll, improved their record to 12-6 overall. Orange Coast's record fell to 9-7 overall.

Irvine Valley struggled in the opening 20 minutes. They were down by as many as 18 points in the first half and were behind, 31-18, going into the break.

IVC shot just 26.1 percent (6 of 23) from the field in the first half and had 15 turnovers.

Orange Coast continued to lead big early in the second half. A basket by Kupaa Harrison gave the Pirates a 41-24 lead with 14:09 to play.

And it was 45-28 for OCC after a layup by James Pendergrass with 12:45 left.

The Lasers finally got the Coast lead under 10 points after a basket by freshman guard Kevin Olsen. His layup made it a 45-36 game with 10:34 left.

But Coast scored the next five points. A jumper by Harrison gave OCC a 50-36 advantage with 8:27 to go.

And it was a 17-point lead once again for the Pirates at 54-37 after a layup by Nixon with 7:35 left.

Irvine Valley rallied after that.

The Lasers scored six straight and made it a 54-43 game after a jumper by sophomore guard Daniel Hernandez with 6:00 remaining.

And later, freshman forward Jake Linsky made a basket inside and then Hernandez made another jumper to move IVC within 56-49 with 4:04 to go.

Joshua Davis answered with a basket inside for OCC, but freshman guard Geoff Salas knocked down a three-pointer to bring IVC wo within 58-52 with 3:24 to play.

Laser sophomore forward Parker Sims sank two free throws with 3:02 remaining to make the score 58-54.

Davis made a layup for OCC to push the Pirate lead back to 60-54 with 2:55 to play.

Sims scored inside off a pass by Salas, was fouled and sank the layup to move Irvine Valley to within 60-57 with 2:35 left.

But Davis once again created space inside and scored to put OCC up, 62-57, with 2:19 to play.

However, those were the Pirates final points of the contest.

An offensive rebound and tip-in by Chatman moved IVC to within 62-59 with 1:21 to go.

The teams traded turnovers and then Orange Coast missed a free throw with 50 seconds to go.

Salas scored on a layup after an offensive rebound and assist by Sims to bring Irvine Valley within a point at 62-61 with 34 seconds to play.

Orange Coast turned the ball over on its next possession, setting up Chatman's heroics.

Salas missed a three-pointer for IVC with 14 seconds left, but Sims, who was a force on the offensive boards, grabbed the rebound.

IVC called its final timeout with eight seconds to go.

The ball came in to Chatman. He charged to the hoop and banked the ball high off the glass and in from a difficult angle with 4.3 seconds to play.

After an IVC delay of game warning on the OCC inbounds, the Pirates had one more chance. They threw the ball into Davis near midcourt. He raced up court and had a chance, but his shot was just off the mark.

Irvine Valley responded in the second half, shooting 48.7 percent (19 of 39) as a team.

The Lasers also out-rebounded Orange Coast, 48-33, in the game. And they grabbed 18 offensive rebounds.

Linsky, who had just three points in the first half, finished with 15 points for the game to lead IVC. He also contributed eight rebounds and two steals.

Sims ended up with 13 points and 16 rebounds for IVC, including seven offensive boards. Sims has 30 rebounds in his last two games.

Chatman ended up with 13 points and three assists and Hernandez contributed eight points and two steals.

Orange Coast was paced by Davis with 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks. Lloyd Wright had 12 points and eight rebounds and Harrison finished with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals for the Pirates.

Irvine Valley plays again on Friday, traveling to Saddleback for a 5 p.m. conference game.

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