Irvine Valley's men's basketball team came away with a disappointing 95-94 Orange Empire Conference loss in overtime in its first trip to Copper Mountain on Wednesday night.
The Lasers traveled the 122 miles to get to the college, which is located in Joshua Tree. It is the first year of the Copper Mountain program.
The Lasers were down most of the contest, but tied it up on the final play of the game. Sophomore forward Jake Linsky missed a shot, but sophomore guard Daniel Hernandez was there for the offensive rebound and putback at the buzzer to tie the score at 77-77.
Irvine Valley took control early in the overtime session and led by five points with 1:44 to play.
But the Fighting Cacti battled back and took the lead. It was back and forth over the final minute of action.
Two free throws by freshman guard Daniel Chatman put Irvine Valley ahead, 94-93, but Copper Mountain came back with a basket to go up, 95-94.
Chatman had one last chance with a drive to the basket, but his shot was off the mark.
Chatman led Irvine Valley with a career-high 31 points. Hernandez chipped in 17 points, Linsky had 12 points and sophomore forward Omeed Kargozan and sophomore forward Zane Paddon each had eight points.
Irvine Valley's record slipped to 12-8 overall and 1-2 in conference.
Copper Mountain, which was ranked No. 15 in the state and No. 8 in Southern California this past week in the coaches poll, improved to 15-5 overall and 2-1 in conference.
Irvine Valley plays again on Friday, hosting Santa Ana at 5 p.m.