Merritt's Isiah Davis drained the game-winning jumper with three seconds remaining to hand the Allan Hancock College men's basketball team a 69-67 loss in the championship semifinals of the 53rd annual Holiday Classic on Friday evening inside Joe White Memorial Gymnasium. The Bulldogs dropped to 9-6 overall, while Merritt improved to 6-7 and advanced to Saturday's championship game.
Shane Carney led the Bulldogs with 18 points and six assists. The sophomore guard sank 6-of-11 from the field, including 2-of-6 from 3-point range. He also hit all four of his free throws. He scored 12 points in the first half to help the Bulldogs carry a 36-33 lead into intermission.
Freshman guard Glenn Jordan added 12 points on a 3-for-9 effort from 3-point range. He sank three of his six free throws. Devin Davis came off the bench to record his second double-double of the season with 13 points and a career-best 12 rebounds. Javae Lampkins added eight points off the bench. He sank 3-of-5 overall and 2-of-4 from long range.
Overall, Hancock shot 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from 3-point territory. Hancock sank 9-of-13 from the free-throw line or 69 percent. The Bulldogs held the edge in rebounds 43-31.
Davis led Merritt with 24 points and four steals. Deon Steward recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lamont Banks chipped in 13 points off the bench behind a 9-for-10 performance from the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs trailed 55-51 with less than five minutes remaining when Carney hit two free throws and Spirit Ricks hit a layup to tie the game 55-55 with 3:49 to play. Seven points from Davis and four from Banks gave Merritt a 67-64 lead with under a minute remaining. Jordan buried a 3-pointer with 22 seconds left to tie the game 67-67 and set the stage for Davis' bucket on Merritt's ensuing possession.
The game featured 11 ties and 13 lead changes.
Hancock will face Palomar in the third-place game on Saturday at 3 p.m. It will be a rematch of last year's championship game when the Bulldogs won the Holiday Classic title.
Cuesta won a back-and-forth showdown 60-57 with Palomar (9-6) to advance to the championship game. The Cougars (9-8) 55-48 with less than five minutes remaining before coming back for the victory. Josh Wilson-Murry led the Cougars with 15 points, while Jorge Bueno and Noah Saunders added 14 points apiece. Neither Cuesta nor Merritt has won a Holiday Classic title.
Earlier in the day, Bakersfield defeated San Jose 78-57 to advance to the consolation championship. The Renegades (7-5) outscored the Jaguars (3-10) 40-24 in the second half to advance. Tucker Eenigenburg and Shahadah Camp scored 22 points apiece for Bakersfield. The Renegades held a 50-34 advantage in rebounds and 11-0 edge in 3-point baskets. Kameron Vales and Kobe Foster each scored 16 for San Jose.
Bakersfield will face Chabot (2-12) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in the consolation championship. Chabot won a triple-overtime thriller 98-97 over L.A. Southwest (6-10) in the consolation semifinal on Friday.
Consolation championship (5th Place), 1 p.m.
Chabot (2-12) vs. Bakersfield (7-5)
Third-Place Game, 3 p.m.
Hancock (9-6) vs. Palomar (9-6)
Championship Game, 5 p.m.
Cuesta (9-8) vs. Merritt (6-7)