New Orleans, La. – Three 49ers were in double-figures but the Charlotte 49ers (14-8, C-USA: 5-4) rally fell short as they suffered a 64-63 loss on the road at Tulane (12-11, C-USA: 4-4).
“You want to give yourself a chance to win at the end,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “I did not feel like we had the defensive effort that we need for the entire 40 minutes. We had it in stretches especially at the end of the game. The next step for us is having a full 40 minute defensive effort on the road.”
Pierria Henry recorded his 16th double-figure scoring game of the season with 14 points. He also dished out six assists with four steals. Willie Clayton recorded his 21st straight double-figure scoring game with 13 points. He also grabbed six rebounds. Mike Thorne recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Terrence Williams scored nine points and grabbed eight rebounds. Shawn Lester scored eight points off the bench. Ben Cherry added seven points to the 49ers attack.
Charlotte finished the game with a 28-20 advantage in points in the paint and a 20-14 advantage in points off turnovers.
With the 49ers leading 6-4 with 15:14 on the clock, Tulane went on a 17-5 run over the next five minutes taking a 21-11 lead with 10:03 on the clock. The 49ers cut Tulane’s lead to four after consecutive threes by Lester and Cherry.
Tulane pushed their lead to nine points, 30-21, with 3:45 on the clock. Charlotte behind the scoring of Henry, Williams and Clayton went on a 7-2 run cutting Tulane’s lead to 32-28 with 1:47 on the clock after Clayton completed a three-point play. Tulane’s Payton Henson gave Tulane a 33-28 halftime lead when he connected on a free throw with four seconds on the clock.
Charlotte cut Tulane’s halftime lead to 33-32 after Thorne scored four points inside in the first minute and half of the second half. Tulane maintained their lead pushing their lead to 53-43 with 9:27 on the clock. Charlotte behind a Thorne dunk and a jumper in the lane by Williams and a layup by Henry cut Tulane’s lead to 53-49 with 7:54 on the clock.
Tulane pushed their lead back to eight points, 57-49, when Louis Dabney, who scored a game-high 19 points, made a free throw with 5:50 on the clock. The 49ers went on an 11-3 run tying the score at 60 when Lester knocked down a long three from the wing with 2:30 on the clock. Lester scored five points during the run. Henry, Williams and Cherry also scored during the run.
Tulane’s Dabney helped Tulane regain the lead with a three with 1:52 on the clock. Charlotte tied the score at 63 after Henry made a free throw with a minute on the clock. Then, Henry missed the second free throw but Williams grabbed the rebound and scored tying the score at 63.
With 30 seconds on the clock, Henry stole the ball from Tulane’s Jonathan Stark. Charlotte sprinted up the court trying to take the lead but Lester was called for travel as he was going in for the score.
Tulane’s Stark missed a shot with four seconds on the clock. Then, Tulane’s Jay Hook grabbed the rebound and was fouled. Hook made one of two free throws giving Tulane a 64-63 lead.
Charlotte’s Henry nearly gave the 49ers a dramatic victory as his half-court shot at the buzzer nearly went in but it just hit the front of the rim and bounced off.
Charlotte returns to action at Conference USA foe Southern Miss in a game that will broadcast nationally on the CBS Sports Network, Sunday, February 9 at 2 pm.
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