Hancock College's squad will not repeat as champion of its own Holiday Classic.
Oakland-based Merritt College edged Hancock 69-67 in the championship semifinals at Joe White Memorial Gymnasium, dropping the Bulldogs into the third-place game.
Hancock will play the Cuesta-Palomar loser at 3 p.m. Saturday in the third-place game. The Cuesta-Palomar result was unknown at press time.
Merritt will play the winner of that game at 5 p.m. Saturday for the tournament title.
The Thunderbirds ended the Bulldogs' three-game winning streak.
Hancock led this close one 36-33 at halftime. Merritt was up 65-62 with under a minute left, and the Thunderbirds held on.
Isiah Davis tossed in a game-high 24 points for Merritt. Deon Shepard had a double-double, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Lamont Bakns and Obie Richard put in 13 and 10 points respectively for the Thunderbirds.
Shane Carney led Hancock's scoring with 18 points. He also had six assists. Devin Davis racked up a double doulbe, with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He added four assists.
Glenn Davis scored 12 points for Hancock.