Keith Mackie had a good look, but the shot didn't fall.
Instead of going to overtime, Heidelberg went home for the holiday with another tough loss, 82-80 to No. 17 Marietta.
The Pioneers and Student Princes went back and forth Saturday at Seiberling Gymnasium, with Marietta gaining an edge late thanks to its 3-point shooting.
The Pioneers, after missing 10 of 11 3s in the first half, went 7 for 12 from deep in the second. The final Pioneer 3, by Luis Garcia, put Marietta ahead 79-72 with 2:46 left in regulation.
"Heidelberg went zone late in the game, and it threw us off a little bit, but it didn't rattle our guys enough, because Luis would bang one home late in the shot clock," Pioneers' coach Jon VanderWal said.
Garcia made 3 of 4 3-pointers and finished with 13 points off the bench.
"Luis came up big for us in that second half," VanderWal said. "We've been shooting the ball really well ... Luis gave us a spark."
But Heidelberg didn't fold. Instead, Mackie was fouled on a 3 and made two of his free throws to bring HU within 79-74. He then cut Marietta's lead to two - 79-77 - when he buried a 3 with 39 seconds left.
"Coach [Andy Bucheit] always tells us not to panic, so that was my main focus, not to panic," Mackie said. "I gotta show everybody everything's gonna be OK. I gotta keep a poker face."
After Marietta's Brennan McKean missed the front end of a 1-and-1, Mackie tried to drive for a layup. There was contact, but no call, and the ball went out of bounds to the Pioneers.
"I thought that was a block or a charge, when Keith drove into the lane with 20 seconds left," said Bucheit, who still is looking for his first home and conference win as Heidelberg coach. "(The officials) didn't call anything. My guy collided into their guy. You've got to call something."
The Student Princes quickly fouled Garrett Stephenson, who coolly made two foul shots.
Stephenson finished with a team-high 18 points, and went 6 for 6 at the stripe.
Heidelberg then got within one when Mike Petrie knocked down a deep 3 from the right wing. Nine seconds remained, and the Pioneers led 81-80.
Petrie fouled McKean out of a timeout. McKean split the pair of foul shots, which set up Mackie's drive.
"I got around the screen, I saw it," Mackie said of the final possession. "I wanted to go all the way, but I looked up and there was only a second left. I kind of had to float it up there. Coach drew up a good play, it just didn't fall in our favor."
Bucheit said the play was executed well.
"Exactly what we wanted, our guys ran it to perfection," he said.
Mackie finished with 11 points on 3 of 17 shooting, and he dished eight assists.
"Keith is our guy. He's a guy we need to get double figures every night," Bucheit said. "He had 11 points but he had eight assists. He basically contributed 26 or 30 points tonight."
Heidelberg's leading scorer was Deonte Holder, who had 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting. Petrie had 12 points and six assists, while Columbian graduate Cole Williams added 11 points.
Heidelberg fell to 3-5, 0-3 in the OAC.
"We talked to our guys, our guys understand losing is not acceptable," Bucheit said. "We did not come in here to be 0-3 in the OAC. We did not come here to finish fourth or fifth every year. We came here to win it. We came here to win it and compete on a national level, and our guys believe that.
Marietta improved to 7-1, 3-0.
"Our guys made just enough plays down the stretch," VanderWal said.