Men's basketball team stuns Saddleback for first OEC victory

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

Irvine Valley's men's basketball team stunned Saddleback for its first Orange Empire Conference win Wednesday night at home.

The Lasers out-scored Saddleback, 21-8, over the final 12:24 of the game, including going on a 5-0 run to finish the game and win, 51-47.

The victory put an end to IVC's 11-game losing streak.

Irvine Valley improved its record to 4-15 overall and 1-2 in conference. Saddleback's record went to 11-8 overall and 2-1 in conference.

Sophomore guard Geoff Salas was the difference for IVC down the stretch. He scored Irvine Valley's final 16 points of the contest and finished with a game-high 21 points.

Salas went 5 of 11 from the field, including 4 of 8 from three-point range. He also connected on 7 of 10 free throws.

He was the only IVC player to score in double figures.

Sophomore guards Isaiah Mahmud Kevin Olsen and freshman guard Tylan Lassiter each added six points. Mahmud also had six assist and two steals for the Lasers.

Irvine Valley trailed, 39-30, with 12:24 to play after a basket by Saddleback's Arash Poorsina.

But the Lasers went on a 11-2 run capped by two free throws by Salas to tie the score at 41 with 3:30 left.

Captain Whitlock answered with two free throws to put Saddleback back in front, 43-41.

IVC then took a 44-43 lead on a three-pointer by Salas with 2:31 to go.

A jumper by Whitlock pushed Saddleback in front, 45-44 with 1:56 left.

It was back and forth from there. A layup by Salas gave Irvine Valley a 46-45 lead and then a basket inside by Poorsina put Saddleback ahead, 47-46, with 1:21 to play.

Neither team scored on their next possessions.

But Salas got fouled going to the basket with 24 seconds to play and sank both free throws to give Irvine Valley a 48-47 advantage.

Saddleback missed a shot the next time down and was forced to foul.

IVC failed to make either free throw, but Saddleback's Shawn Stith was called for charging with two seconds to play.

Salas finished the game with a three-pointer at the buzzer for the final score.

Saddleback got 15 points and 12 rebounds from Poorsina and 14 points and 11 rebounds from Stith in the game.

Irvine Valley won despite shooting just 30.6 percent (15 of 49) from the field as a team. However, Irvine Valley did make eight three-pointers in the contest and committed only 12 turnovers to 18 by the Gauchos.

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

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