Kingston, R.I. - Behind a dominating effort on the boards and solid team defense, the Charlotte 49ers (14-2, A-10: 2-0) defeated Rhode Island (5-10, A-10: 0-2), 58-50 on the road.
"It was a classic Atlantic 10 basketball game," Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "Our guys learned a good lesson today about bringing the energy that the game requires. In the first half, I thought Rhode Island set the tone. In the second half, we set the tone. We were the exactly the type of team we should be particularly on the defensive end."
DeMario Mayfield led the 49ers with 17 points off the bench. Willie Clayton recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Chris Braswell scored nine points for the 49ers.
Charlotte finished the game with a 45-25 advantage in rebounds. Clayton led the 49ers with 13 rebounds. Pierria Henry tallied 10 rebounds.
The 49ers limited Rhode Island, who shot 52% in the first half, to 26.9% shooting in the second half. The 49ers defense limited the Atlantic 10 second leading scorer Xavier Munford, who averages 18.0 points per game, to eight points on 3-for-12 shooting from the field.
Rhode Island began the game by scoring 13 of the game's first 18 points taking a 13-5 lead at the 13:39 mark.
With Rhode Island leading 21-14 at the 9:52 mark, the 49ers went on a 7-2 run over the next four minutes cutting Rhode Island's lead to two points when Terrence Williams makes two free throws with 5:33 left in the first half.
Darion Clark scored inside on a tough basket cutting Charlotte's deficit to 24-23 with 3:41 on the clock.
Rhode Island scored six straight points taking a 30-23 lead with 2:16 on the clock. The 49ers scored seven of the first half's final eight points cutting Rhode Island's halftime lead to 31-30. JT Thompson scored inside for the first half's final basket with 46 seconds on the clock.
Rhode Island scored the first six points of the second half taking a 37-30 lead with 17:03 on the clock.
Then, the 49ers went on a 20-7 run over the next 10 minutes taking a 50-44 lead with seven minutes on the clock. Mayfield scored inside at the 9:32 mark giving the 49ers the lead for good, 46-44 with 9:32 on the clock.
Charlotte closed out the victory with timely free throw shooting by E. Victor Nickerson, Braswell and Mayfield over the final five minutes of the game. Six of Charlotte's final eight points came off free throws. Clayton closed out the game's scoring with a dunk at the buzzer.
Charlotte returns home to play Fordham in Halton Arena, Wednesday, January 16 at 7:30 pm.
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