The Charlotte 49ers (13-16, C-USA 7-11) will take on the UAB Blazers (16-15, C-USA 9-9) in the first round of the Conference USA tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Legacy Arena.
The Niners met with UAB earlier this season on Feb. 9, as the Blazers pulled away in Birmingham with an 82-69 victory. Charlotte trailed 35-41 at the half as sophomore guard Jon Davis had 10 points and five rebounds after the first 20 minutes, as Andrien White and Hudson Price had six points each.
Davis continued his dominance in the second half with 14 points, but his 24 points on the day were not good enough as Charlotte’s defense allowed four players, including two bench players, to score in double digits. Chris Cokley scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds for UAB, as William Lee posted 15 points and grabbed 12 boards. The 49ers were outscored 28-52 in the paint and were also out-rebounded by 22, 26-48.
Lee leads the Blazers on the season with 14.7 ppg, including reeling in a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. Cokley is second on the team in scoring with 12.3 ppg, as he brings in 5.7 rebounds per game. Charlotte will have to box out and limit offensive rebounds for the Blazers, who average 34.3 rebounds per game, out-rebounding their opponents by almost three rebounds per game.
Charlotte is led by Davis in scoring, averaging 19.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 4.0 apg. The sophomore from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was named second-team All-Conference USA.
The 49ers and head coach Mark Price won their first game of the C-USA tournament last season against Rice, 79-61, led by 27 points from Davis, 19 points from Braxton Ogbueze and 12 points and 18 rebounds from Joseph Uchebo. After their first round win, Charlotte lost 61-79 to Middle Tennessee, who went on to win the tournament and upset No.2-seed Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament.
Charlotte won the 1999 and 2001 C-USA Tournament titles and are 17-11 all-time in the C-USA Tournament.