It was a back and forth affair on Friday night as the Riverside City College men's basketball team played host to the Irvine Valley College Lasers in Orange Empire Conference (OEC) action. In a game that started with a low offensive rhythm from both sides, both teams cranked up the heat in the second half. Riverside held the edge with a strong defensive presence leading to a 61-46 victory.
Defense was the factor for the Tigers as they held Irvine Valley to a 37.3 shooting percentage. They halted the Lasers to a mere 13.3 shooting percentage from downtown. Furthermore, the Lasers struggled to get anything going down low. Sophomore center Justin Motley was the catalyst to the protection in the paint. He was responsible for four of the teams seven blocked shots.
Riverside protected the rock as they only committed 10 turnovers, marking the third-lowest total on the year. Furthermore, Riverside's bench played outstanding as they contributed 26 points.
Freshman guard Zekiah LoVett jumpstarted the Tiger offense with under seven minutes remaining. He surveyed the court, drove the lane, rose up and jammed the ball home between a pair of defenders.
The strong offense fueled the defense as Motely recorded one of his nastiest swats on the night. The blocked shot shaped into a transition three pointer off the hand of freshman guard Xavier Ford. From that moment on, the Tiger held the momentum and never looked back.
LoVett paced the squad on offense with 14 points which included a 2-for-4 clip from long range. Freshman guard Edwyn Collins was next in line with 12 points accompanied by six rebounds off the bench. One of his buckets came as time expired. He rose up and tipped the ball in off the miss milliseconds before the clock struck zero.
Motely had one of his more impressive games of the year despite his numbers not jumping off the box score. He finished with nine points and four blocks. HE also drove home an emphatic one-handed slam to add to Irvine Valley's defensive misery.
Riverside (10-7, 5-0 OEC) will continue action at home against the Saddleback College Gauchos on Monday, January 13 at 5 p.m. Follow the live stream on "Riverside Athletics" YouTube channel.