Anchorage, AK - Behind three double-figure scorers and all-around team effort, the Charlotte 49ers (6-0) defeated Northeastern (4-2), 67-59, to capture the Great Alaska Shootout title. The 49ers improved to 6-0 on the season which ties the school-record for best start.
"Just an honor. For this tournament being 35 years old." head coach Alan Major said of having the 49ers named added to the list of Great Alaska champions. "I'm really happy for JT Thompson. Last time he was here he lost to Butler in OT. He said before the game "How many chances in life do you get to go back and finish something.' So I'm happy for him, but it's just an honor to have a banner in here among some pretty elite company."
For his performance in the tournament, Pierria Henry was named the Tournament MVP. Chris Braswell and Terrence Williams were also named to the All-Tournament team.
"Hard fought," Major said of the title game. "These last two games were about as physyical as we've seen. I'm sure there will be more where that came from as we head into rest of our non-conference games and especially into A-10 play. Just really proud of this group. Multiple guys kind of grew up in the ir own ways. Great team win."
Braswell led the 49ers with 14 points. Terrence Williams scored 13 points including nine-for-nine shooting from the foul line. Williams also had three blocked shots. Darion Clark rounded out the 49ers double-figure scorers with 10 points. Clark also grabbed eight rebounds in the game. Denzel Ingram scored seven points and Ivan Benkovic scored six points. Henry scored six points, grabbed five rebounds, dished out three assists and recorded two steals in the championship game.
Charlotte began the game with the first nine points behind the scoring of Williams, Ingram and Braswell. The 49ers defense held Northeastern with only one free throw and one field goal over the first nine and half minutes of the game.
Charlotte pushed their lead to 14-3 but then consecutive threes by Northeastern cut Charlotte's lead to 14-9 with 9:59 left in the first half.
Northeastern cut Charlotte's lead to 21-17 when Joel Smith scored inside with 5:27 left in the first half.
Then, the 49ers closed out the first half on a 9-2 run taking a 30-19 halftime lead. Williams converted four straight free throws to close out the first half scoring.
Charlotte pushed their lead to 14 points early in the second half after Clark converted two free throws. Then, Northeastern went on an 11-2 run cutting Charlotte's lead to 36-31 with 13:52 left in the game. 49ers answered the run with a 6-0 run taking a 42-31 lead behind the scoring of Braswell and Ingram with 12:25 on the clock.
Charlotte maintained a lead of 8-12 points until with one minute left in the game Northeastern went on a 6-2 run cutting Charlotte's lead to 63-59 with 28 seconds left in the game.
Braswell scored the 49ers final four points to give Charlotte the 67-59 win.
Charlotte returns home to Halton Arena where they will play in-state foe East Carolina, Saturday, December 1 at 7 pm.
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