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For Merced College men, it's the 3 that got away

The Merced College men's basketball team has had its share of games slip through its fingers this season, but Wednesday night's overtime loss to Reedley is likely going to sting for awhile.

Leading 68-66 with just

7 seconds to play, the Tigers' Marquel Hoskins stepped to the line with a chance to ice the game.

Hoskins hit his first free-throw attempt, but missed the second.

The Blue Devils rebounded the ball and pushed it up the court.

JerMichael Williams caught the ball at the top of the arc and -- with the entire defense collapsing around him -- let fly a desperation 3 to force double overtime.

Williams' shot hit nothing but net with 1.7 seconds left and the entire Merced gym erupted, but the official quickly signaled that Williams' foot was on the line and only awarded a two.

MC picked up a pair of technicals in the fallout from the call and Reedley escaped with a 72-68 victory.

"I swear I think it was a 3," said Williams, who had 11 points. "I just caught the ball and shot as everyone collapsed on me.

"I just hoped it would go in and, God willing, it did. The ref, unfortunately, saw it a different way."

The loss was all the more difficult because MC should have closed things out in regulation.

Up four with 11 seconds to play, Lavell Shipman fouled Brian Burton in the act of shooting a 3-pointer.

Burton only hit two of three free throws, but it opened the door.

Shipman (game-high 25 points) had a chance to ice it, but could only hit one of two free throws, allowing Justin Ayers' last second 3-pointer to force overtime.


Central Valley Conference


At Merced College

REEDLEY -- Asim Demmin 8, Tyrell Vaughn 4, Brian Burton 3, Cooper Steele 2, Marquel Hoskins 24, Mike Makinano 9, Justin Ayers 7, Jamiel Nisbett 13. Totals 21 25-36 72.

MERCED COLLEGE -- John Lowe 4, Erin Walker 6, Lavell Shipman 25, Stephon Thomas 9, JerMichael Williams 11, Logan Wiens 13. Totals 25 11-17 68.

3-pointers: Reedley 3 (Hoskins, Makinano, Ayers), Merced 7 (Lowe, Shipman 2, Thomas, Wiens 3); Total Fouls: , Merced 27; Fouls Outs: Reedley (Demmin), Merced (Andre Nichols, Walker). Technicals: Reedley (Hoskins), Merced (Wiens, Thomas, Bench, Coach Russell)

Records: Reedley 5-1 CVC, 18-5; Merced College 1-5, 5-17.