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Stallings’ block at buzzer secures Columbia victory


DeAndre Stallings pinned a shot against the backboard Wednesday night to deny the College of Sequoias Giants and help preserve the Columbia Claim Jumpers’ 60-58 road victory.

The officials huddled momentarily after the final buzzer to discuss whether they thought it could have been goaltending. They decided it was not.

Columbia won its third straight Central Valley Conference game and swept the Giants for the first time since around 2000 or 2001 said Claim Jumper head coach Rob Hoyt.

Columbia fell behind 11-0 to start the game and didn’t own the lead until there were 95 seconds left in the contest. Stallings was fouled shooting a 3 and hit all three free throws for a 56-55 lead.

Sequoias drilled a 3 on the next possession to retake the lead 58-56.

Columbia’s Lewayne Grant scored on a determined drive to the basket to tie the game at the shot clock buzzer.

On the ensuing possession, Columbia’s Eugene Harvey blocked a layup attempt.

Columbia’s Jordan Wimbley missed a shot on the other end but got his own rebound with 35 seconds left.

Grant took advantage of the extra possession and threw “an absolutely beautiful pass” to Harvey for the game-winning layup.

With 5.5 seconds on the clock, after a timeout, the Jumpers switch to man-to-man defense. “Stallings was stalking and came out of nowhere to pin the attempted game-tying bucket at the top of the square,” Hoyt said.

For Columbia, Stalling scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Grant netted 15, hauled in five boards and dished four assists, Eugene harvey had 12 points and seven rebounds, Ethan McLaurin added 13 points and five boards and Windley scored seven.

The Claim Jumpers won despite just shooting 4 of 20 from beyond the arc. They did hit 18 of 21 free throws.

Columbia rallied from a 35-25 halftime deficit.

Columbia (11-9, 6-3 CVC) remains tied for second place with Merced (14-8, 6-3 CVC) two games behind Fresno (19-5, 8-1 CVC).

Sequoias (11-12, 5-4 CVC) and Porterville (8-14, 5-4) dropped into a tie for fourth place.

The Claim Jumpers next will host Fresno at 6 p.m. Saturday at Oak Pavilion.