Najee Garvin takes the ball down the court. Photo by Pooja Pasapula

Charlotte got off to a slow start, which they could not come back from Saturday night against the College of Charleston. The 49ers shot 31.3 percent in the first half, 1-for-7 from three and 50 percent from the free throw line. In the second half, the 49ers (1-2) shot a lot better, 56.7 percent from the field, 4-for-5 from three and 81.8 percent from the free throw line, but it was not enough to comeback, falling short 81-72 against College of Charleston (2-1).

In the first half, the Cougars jumped out to a 32-18 lead with 5:43 left on the clock. The rest of the game went back-and-forth, but the 49ers could not make up for the early deficit.

College of Charleston shot 50 percent for the game. The 49ers could not stop guard Joe Chealey who shot 10-for-19 from the field, 5-for-7 from three point range, and 100 percent from the free throw line. He scored 29 points, had three steals, seven rebounds and one assist.

Charlotte only had three players in double-figures. Najee Garvin with 19 points, Andrien White added 17 points with a game-high nine rebounds, and Jon Davis had 16 points and six assists.

Lukas Vasic hit a buzzer beater before halftime to cut College of Charleston’s lead to 37-25.

In the second half, Charlotte went on a few runs to try to take the lead. Charlotte was in the double bonus with 5:46 remaining, but could not capitalize on it. The closest the 49ers got in the second half was 74-68, but there was 52 seconds left and College of Charleston was a good free throw shooting team all game. Charleston shot 10-for-12 from the free throw line in the last two minutes.

“Tough loss tonight, we played a good basketball team tonight and we knew that coming in. Both of us were coming off tough losses. They just did a better job of executing offensively. We got off to a slow start again tonight, that’s something that we need to figure out a way to get out of the blocks better. I can’t complain about the effort and energy level, they kept fighting,” coach Mark Price said.

A positive for Charlotte was fighting on the offensive glass getting 13 offensive rebounds.

Charlotte had 17 turnovers and Charleston had 17 points off turnovers. The 49ers outscored the Cougars in the paint 40-34 and on the bench 20-10.

Garvin was a different player in the second half. In the first half he had 4 points, but in the second half he came out more aggressive shooting 7-for-10 from the field with 15 points and three rebounds.

“Coach drew up some plays to get the offense moving and Jon was able to find me most of the time. Overall it just comes down to our execution, we ran enough sets and coach called enough plays for us to score the ball, but the ball didn’t go in the bucket,” Garvin said.

“Najee has been great all year at whatever role he has been asked to play. He comes in and gives us energy. He talks on the floor and tonight he was able to make some shots for us as well. He’s just  a leader for us on the court and we thrive when he brings that energy level,” Price said.

This game was the start of a four game home stand for Charlotte. The 49ers play Presbyterian on Monday, tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m.