The Charlotte 49ers suffered a 72-56 loss to visiting Saint Bonaventure on Senior Day at Halton Arena.
The Bonnies (16-10; 9-5) built a 10-point halftime lead behind the play of Andrew Nicholson, who scored 17 of his game-high 25 points in the opening frame. After SBU extended the lead to 13, the 49ers (13-14; 5-9) rallied to within three with 13:40 to play, but could not get any closer.
"A lot of credit to Mark (Schmidt) and his team," said 49ers head coach Alan Major. "They got the ball to their best player, who had some great finishes. We got back to within four and were within striking distance. We need to continue to sustain that for the full 40 minutes."
Trailing by 13 early in the second half, 49ers freshman Pierria Henry hit a layup and Chris Braswell scored inside to make it a 9-point game. Still trailing by 10, Henry hit a short jumper and converted a three-point play to make it a five-point game, 46-41 with 14:48 left. Two Terrence Williams free throws brought the 49ers within three, 46-43, and capped a 7-0 run at 13:40.
"None of us wanted to give up," Henry said. "We know basketball is a game of runs and we knew we'd get ours. We gotta keep fighting and stick together."
Javarris Barnett's layup with 11:08 to play kept the Niners within four, 49-45, but the Bonnies scored the next six points to push the lead to double figures. A three-pointer by DeMario Mayfield brought Charlotte within seven, 55-48 with 6:47 to go, but again, SBU answered with eight straight points to build a 15-point cushion with 3:35 left.
Barnett and Mayfield led the 49ers with 13 points each while Henry added 11 with four assists. Mayfield had nine rebounds, as well. Nicholson finished with a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double. Demitrius Conger added 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Matthew Wright came off the bench for 13 points on three three-pointers.
SBU won the battle of the boards, 37-28 and shot 48% from the field while the 49ers shot 38%.
The 49ers play host Duquesne, Wednesday at 7:30 in their final home game of the regular season.
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