Even with Andrien White dropping 23 coming off of an injury to lead Charlotte (5-15, 1-8 C-USA), they were still unable to pull out a win over UAB (15-8, 6-4 C-USA). The Niners lost 76-64 after being tied 40-40 at the half.
“We didn’t have to play from behind tonight, we got off to a better start which is something we’ve been looking for. Some of the same shots that fell in the first half weren’t falling in the second half,” Coach Houston Fancher said. “But, you know there’s controllable things. We talked about our free throws and our turnovers and thing that we’re charge of. There were a lot of good things to pull out from tonight other than a win.”
White, who led the team with 23 points showed once again how much he has to give this season, coming back form an injury, tallying his 48th career double-figure scoring game. Jon Davis also did his part yet again having 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Ryan Murphy working to stay on his hot streak, also gave the Niners 10 points, remaining in double-figures for a third game. Najee Garvin would grab 12 rebounds to do his part as well as add nine points.
“I think it is tough to keep bouncing back. I think our team is together enough that coming in and and being in the locker room with those guys every day and getting on the floor and competing with them every day, we don’t mind bouncing back at all. We’re here to do that and that’s what we’re going to keep doing until the last buzzer sounds,” White said.
Charlotte began the game well with a 9-2 lead after Austin Ajukwa got the Niners started with a three and Davis, Garvin and Murphy would each add a lay-up. UAB cut down the trail by the end of the fourth minute, but a three from Davis would send it right back up. A constant battle by the Blazers to get back up seemed to always be followed by Charlotte just barely maintaining their lead.
By the end of the eighth minute UAB held a lead of 15-14 and furthered their lead to 26-17 with eight minutes remaining in the first half. A few crowd-exciting threes from White and Murphy, as well as a lay-up from Murphy got Charlotte back in it, tied with UAB at 33 points. The half would conclude at 40-40.
Ajukwa would help the Niners to tie the game again at 48 six minutes in to the second half, but the next time UAB gained a lead they would keep it for nearly the remainder of the game.
Charlotte tied the game again at 50 points and White even got the 49ers close again making the score 54-53, but Charlotte never gain another lead only getting as close as within a couple points.
“It’s hard to keep coming, it’s hard to keep bouncing back,” Fancher said. “I believe in these kids and they believe in and trust each other and continue to work. They come to practice every day and give us everything they have and in the position I’m in right now, that’s all I can ask for. I think we’ll ultimately get to the point where we start winning some basketball games.”
Charlotte had the first half that they had been looking for, they just couldn’t keep it going. A showing of teamwork and a fight that they had been needing wouldn’t be enough.
Charlotte will next face first in the conference, Middle Tennessee, in Halton Arena this Saturday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.