CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Behind three double-figure scorers, the Charlotte 49ers (9-0) defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas (4-4), 78-66, in Halton Arena to remain undefeated. The 49ers nine-game winning streak is tied for the sixth longest in school history.
"This was a good team win," Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "I was pleased that we had 23 assists on 30 baskets as well as we scored 42 points in the paint. It was good to see DeMario Mayfield make some shots tonight. Denzel Ingram had a good game as well."
The 49ers were led Mayfield, who finished with a team-high 15 points. This was Mayfield's fifth time this season scoring in double figures. Mayfield was 5-for-10 from the field and knocked down three 3-pointers.
Ingram recorded his second double figure game of the season with 13 points. Ingram's performance included a 5-for-7 shooting display from the field and he was 3-for-5 from behind the arc. Ingram also recorded five assists, tying his season-high, with zero turnovers. Willie Clayton scored ten points to notch his third double figure game of the season. Clayton was 5-for-6 from the field. Chris Braswell led all players in rebounds with 12. Braswell and JT Thompson each scored eight points for the Niners.
Charlotte knocked down a season-high eight 3-pointers in the win.
After a much improved shooting performance in the second half, the 49ers controlled the game in their quest to remain unbeaten. Charlotte shot 18-for-29 (62 percent) from the field in the second half after shooting 37.5 percent in the first.
Ingram opened the second half with a 3-pointer to give Charlotte the 34-27 advantage with 18:49 left in the game. However CMU wouldn't go away quietly and back-to-back layups from Austin Keel and Kyle Randall cut Charlotte's lead to 34-32.
Charlotte burst the game open with an 11-3 run that lasted nearly five minutes with 17:09 remaining taking a 48-35 lead when Ingram scored inside with 12:26 on the clock. The Niners' run began with a Mayfield 3-pointer followed by a fast break layup from Darion Clark.
At the 12:10 mark of the second half, Charlotte's Pierria Henry was battling with Central Michigan's Kyle Randall for a loose ball. The battle continued for a little bit. Then, Central Michigan's coach Keno Davis left the bench in attempt to break up the battle for the ball. He was issued a technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Henry was also issued a technical for unsportsmanlike conduct. Henry was also ejected from the game for language used towards the official. Henry will be able to play in next Friday's game at Miami.
Once the game resumed, Central Michigan's Olivier Mbiagoto ended the Charlotte run with a three cutting Charlotte's lead to 48-38 with 11:56 on the clock.
Mayfield answered Mbaigoto's three with a three of his own pushing Charlotte's lead back to 13 points, 51-38, with 11:15 on the clock.
Central Michigan got within seven, after John Simons used a layup to slice Charlotte's lead to 57-50 at the 6:25 mark. The Chippewas then got within six, after a 3-pointer from Blake Hibbits cutting Charlotte's lead to 64-58 with 3:40 on the clock. The 49ers pushed their lead to 14 points behind consecutive threes from Ingram and E. Victor Nickerson and a layup by Braswell giving Charlotte a 72-58 lead with 2:08 on the clock.
The Niners had a 42-20 advantage on points in the paint. Charlotte's bench behind the scoring of Mayfield, Thompson and Braswell outscored CMU 23-9 and the Niner defense caused 16 turnovers.
The Chippewas placed four players in double figures in scoring and were led by Randall who finished with 15 points.
The Niners took a 31-27 lead at halftime. Central Michigan scored immediately off the tip to take its only lead of game. Both teams struggled from the field in the first half but Charlotte remained in control. After the game was tied at 13, the 49ers scored eight unanswered points pushing their lead to 21-13 with 7:06 left in the half. All of Charlotte's points during the run were in the paint and was capped off with Thompson driving to the basket off two consecutive fast breaks, leaving the Chippewas scoreless for four minutes. The 49ers took a 22-8 advantage in the paint at the end of the half.
Charlotte will travel to Miami on Friday, Dec. 14 and face the Hurricanes at 7 p.m. The game will be aired on ESPN3.
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