Jonathan Schenkel

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49ers top Longwood

Charlotte (2-2) was led by freshman guard Malik Martin who scored a career-high 17 points to lead all scorers in a 42-39 win over Longwood (4-1).
Dravon Mangum registered nine points and his first career double-figure rebounding effort with 10 rebounds.

“I am very excited that we had a defensive game like this, this is enjoyable to me, to watch this come together and to see these guys lay it on the line, not because we were down or trying to make up a deficit like we have in the past,” Charlotte 49ers coach Ron Sanchez said. “Like I have stated before we are just trying to grow whether we win or lose we want to continue our journey as a group. I think today we learned how to close a game which is really important. We didn’t do it perfectly, but we will watch the film and study and we will learn from this one as well.”

Longwood had two players in double-figures with Isiah Walton scoring 12 points and Lorenzo Phillips adding 10 points.

The game started off slow on the offensive end before Longwood scored the first basket of the game. The Niners were down 5-2 before Martin converted four consecutive free throws to give the 49ers their first lead at 6-5 with 15:14 remaining in the first half.

When the game was tied at seven, Longwood went on an 8-1 run to take the lead. The Lancers led by eight points with 3:40 remaining, but a layup and a pair of free throws by Martin cut the deficit to four points with 1:34 left in the first half. At halftime, Longwood was leading 19-15.

Longwood began the second half on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 11 points. Charlotte responded with a 10-0 run to cut the margin down to one. Martin hit a three-pointer to give the 49ers a one-point lead with 10:27 remaining. The Lancers answered with a three on their next possession before Martin hit another three to give Charlotte the lead at 31-30 with 9:35 left in the second half.

A free throw by Martin and two free throws from Jon Davis helped the Niners’ lead grow to 34-30. Walter responded with a three-pointer to cut the margin down to 34-33. Then Davis drained a three to extend the lead to four points with 6:49 remaining. Mangum made two consecutive layups to give Charlotte a 41-33 lead.

The Lancers went on a 6-0 run to cut the margin to two with 39 seconds remaining. On Charlotte’s next possession, Davis missed a shot then Walton got the rebound and called a timeout that Longwood did not have with 12 seconds left. The Lancers got a technical foul which allowed Davis to knock down a free throw to give the 49ers a 42-39 lead. Walton missed a game-tying three-pointer which secured the Charlotte victory.

The 49ers shot 11-of-42 from the field and 6-for-22 from three-point range. The 49ers held the Lancers to their lowest field goal percentage of the season at 35.6 percent. Charlotte committed 17 turnovers in the game. Led by four steals from Martin, the Niners forced the Lancers into a season-high 21 turnovers.

Charlotte goes on the road for the first time this season as they face Davidson on Tuesday, Nov. 27. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

49ers comeback falls short against James Madison

Charlotte (1-2) executed a late comeback but it was not enough as the 49ers fell to James Madison (4-0) 64-59 in Halton Arena.
Jon Davis led Charlotte with 20 points while Jailan Haslem fell short of a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.

“I think it all started with practice. I think we did not come out and practice as hard as we could have and been [sic] as focused as we could have, and I think that’s on me and Jon as leaders of this team.” Haslem said.

Milos Supica had a season-high 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and five rebounds.

James Madison sophomore guard Darius Banks had a game-high 21 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field while going 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

The 49ers started slow but took their only lead of the game at 4-2 on a fast-break layup from Cooper Robb with 16:22 remaining in the first half. The Dukes responded with consecutive baskets to give them a 6-4 lead. James Madison quickly went on a 15-4 run to take a 21-8 advantage with 9:06 remaining.

The Niners cut the deficit down to eight points on a Davis layup. A Haslem free throw made it a seven-point game with 38 seconds left in the first half. At halftime, James Madison led 30-23.

To start the second half, Supica went on an 8-2 run to cut the margin down to five at the 16:05 mark. The Dukes quickly responded with a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 14 points with 12 minutes remaining. The 49ers, who overcame a 24-point deficit against Oklahoma State last Saturday, trailed by as many as 18 points against the Dukes in the second half.

Charlotte was trailed by those 18 points with 5:53 remaining before attempting another big comeback. The 49ers used a 13-0 run to cut the lead down to 55-50 with 1:35 remaining. James Madison went back up by seven points on a pair of free throws by Matt Lewis.

Brandon Younger hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit down to four, 59-55, with 1:06 remaining. The Dukes converted five more free-throws in the final minute to seal the win. Charlotte struggled shooting for most of the game. The 49ers shot 21-of-53 from the field and 4-19 from three-point range.

“I said from the beginning that this group has fight in them,” Charlotte 49ers coach Ron Sanchez said. “Credit to JMU, I thought they did a great job; they were hungry and they got after us and they played a great game. As far as our team, I think we need to come out with more urgency as a group. We can’t come out and fall behind and give up transition baskets or being loose with the ball. As much as I credit this group for having tremendous fight, I’m not sure the fight was there today from the beginning.”

The Charlotte 49ers will face Longwood on Monday, Nov. 19 in Halton Arena. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Photo by Chris Crews

Davis’ game-winning three-pointer propels Charlotte over Oklahoma State

The Charlotte 49ers (1-1) defeated Oklahoma State (0-1) on Jon Davis’ game-winning three-pointer with .6 seconds left to lift the 49ers to a huge comeback win 66-64. The 49ers overcame a 24-point second half deficit in the final 14 minutes.

Davis scored a game-high 27 points, including five points in the final five seconds. Davis went 9-of-17 shooting from the field while going 6-for-6 from the free throw line. Malik Martin tallied his second straight double figures scoring game with 13 points while Dravon Mangum added 12 points. Milos Supica led the game with a career-high 12 boards.

Cameron McGriff led the way for the Cowboys scoring 17 points and grabbing six rebounds. McGriff went 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

“Jon Davis was really kind, after the game in the locker room he presented me with the game ball. How awesome is that,” Charlotte 49ers coach Ron Sanchez said. “I love the fact that we learned on Tuesday and got better. I loved their courage.”

Sanchez enjoyed his first win as a college head coach with Charlotte in only their second game of the season after falling to Chattanooga earlier in the week 80-69.

Oklahoma State got off to a fast 7-0 start then the Niners responded with a 7-0 run which was capped off with a Martin layup tying the score at seven with 12:32 remaining in the first half. The Cowboys made consecutive buckets to push their lead to 12-7. The 49ers went on a 7-0 run to take the lead 14-12 on a Martin three-pointer with 8:47 to go in the first half.

The Cowboys responded on a steal and emphatic dunk from McGriff to tie the game at 14. Oklahoma State took the lead on a three-pointer to make it 17-14 with 7:28 remaining in the first half. The Cowboys led the rest of the first half and went into halftime with a 37-19 advantage. Oklahoma State led by as much as 21 points in the first half.

Oklahoma State continued to hold a favorable advantage in the second half, leading 50-26 with 14:01 remaining. The Cowboys led 54-38 before Charlotte went on their huge run. With 7:47 remaining, the 49ers went on a 17-2 run to cut the deficit down to 56-53. Davis then hit the game-tying three on the next possession to tie the game at 56 at the 1:22 mark.

The Cowboys reclaimed the lead on a pair of free throws to make it 58-56 with 50 seconds remaining. Supica committed a turnover and a 49ers foul allowed the Cowboys to make two more free throws to extend their lead to 60-56 with 30 seconds left. On the next Charlotte possession, Mangum was fouled while shooting a three and made all three free throw attempts to cut the margin down to 60-59 with 18 seconds remaining.

McGriff converted two free throws which pushed the Cowboys lead to three points. Then Supica was fouled on an offensive rebound and he went to the line knocking down both free throws cutting Oklahoma State’s lead to 62-61 with eight seconds left. McGriff went back to the free throw line converting both which pushed the Cowboys lead to 64-61 with seven seconds remaining.

The Cowboys tried to foul Davis to put him on the line for a 1-and-1 rather than allowing him to attempt a potential game-tying three-pointer. After the foul, officials gathered at the monitor and called Oklahoma State’s Lindy Waters for a flagrant foul with five seconds left. Davis made two free throws and Charlotte got the ball on the side with a chance to win. Davis hit a clutch game-winning three off the glass from the top of the key with .6 remaining to give Charlotte a huge comeback victory.

“I put in a lot of work over my four years of college and put in a lot of work in basketball my whole life and honestly I believe every shot that I take is going in,” Davis said.

Oklahoma State shot just 23 percent from the field in the second half and 21 percent from three-point range. Charlotte shot 13-of-22 from the field in the second half, finishing 20-of-46 for the game. Charlotte committed 22 turnovers in the game but overcame that by coming back from a huge deficit in the second half.

“Being good isn’t pretty; it’s not sexy,” Sanchez said. “You got to get dirty. When you don’t feel like you have any more, you have to be willing to dig in. And they did. They didn’t lay down. They just fought.”

The 49ers will face James Madison on Friday, Nov. 16 in Halton Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

One Last Dance

Point guard Jon Davis and center Jailan Haslem are the only seniors on the 2018-19 Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team. They are hoping to be competitive and have a memorable senior year.

Davis, a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is going into his fourth year at Charlotte. Last season he averaged 17.6 points per game, 5.5 assists per game and 3.8 rebounds per game. Davis was also named to Conference USA’s preseason all-conference team.

“I always want to win games. My individual goals are my team goals. One does not go without the other. My individual goals don’t mean anything if the team doesn’t achieve anything. At this point, I’m just worried about getting wins.” Davis said.

Davis is trying to be the best leader he can for the rest of the team and is looking forward to playing with the freshman.

“In the past it’s been by example, but seeing in how I’m 4-5 years older than some of these guys, I’ve turned into a vocal leader. I’ve been talking a lot more. I have a lot of basketball knowledge that I will like to pass on to the younger guys,” Davis said. “I just want to leave a lasting impression on them. I want them to leave here saying that I was one of the better leaders they’ve had. I want them to try to walk in my footsteps. I want them to try to break some of the records that I have here, and I want them to have individual success along with team success in the future.”

As far as playing for Charlotte’s new head coach, Ron Sanchez, Davis is excited to play for him and thinks Sanchez is perfect for what the 49ers are trying to do.

“Coach Sanchez’s impact exceeds on the floor. On the floor, he brings the pack-line defense which is really going to help us out a lot and he brings a lot of things that he learned from Tony Bennett. He has brought a culture with him,” said Davis. “He’s told us that we are going to be good students, good people, and we’re not just going to be basketball players. There’s a lot more to us being a good team then just performing on the floor and that the little things outside of basketball are what matters.”

Davis declared for the 2018 NBA draft without an agent and decided to withdraw from the NBA draft and return for his senior season. He worked out for the Charlotte Hornets, Brooklyn Nets, Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I knew probably ninety-eight percent that I was coming back to school. I did it for the experience to try and see where I’m at and try to get some feedback from different teams. I got great feedback when I went against some of the better guards in this year’s draft.” Davis said.

Although it is always hard for a collegiate athletic career to come to an end, Davis is looking forward to his future after college.

“Wherever God takes me, hopefully I will be blessed enough to play professionally at some level. If not the NBA, I wouldn’t mind overseas. I would play anywhere because I just like playing basketball.” Davis said.

The other senior, Haslem, a 6-foot-10-inch center from Warner Robbins, Georgia, is going into his second year at Charlotte. Last season he averaged 4.9 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.

Haslem had his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds against Marshall last season. The powerhouse started his college basketball career at a junior college called Gordon State College.

“The biggest difference would be the talent level and the energy. There is talent in junior college, but the talent here is way different.” Haslem said.

Haslem has been working on his defense during the offseason, working to stay more controlled and utilize his skills.

“My point of emphasis for improvement has been my defense. Last season, I got into a lot of foul trouble early in games and I think that hurt the team a lot because I wasn’t out there to be a rim protector,” Haslem said.  “I’m not expecting much this season but to be competitive. I just want us to play hard and go out there and set the tone for what Charlotte basketball is going to be in the next couple of years.”

Davis’ and Haslem’s goals are to have a competitive season and to make Charlotte men’s basketball far more relevant again.

Charlotte shutout by UTSA

Charlotte (8-8, 4-5 C-USA) allowed two goals early and got shutout by UTSA (6-9-1, 2-6-1 C-USA) 2-0 in their final regular-season road match. The loss extended the Niners losing streak to five.

In the eighth minute, UTSA scored their first goal when Sarah Bayhi assisted Marianne Hernandez who converted a header.

In the 10th minute, Olivia Nicholls utilized a header to extend the Roadrunners lead 2-0.

Charlotte had opportunities but was unable to capitalize. After UTSA scored their final goal, Emily Truelove forced goalie Michelle Cole to make her first save of the match.

Riley Orr had a great look at a shot that was deflected over the crossbar by Cole.

The 49ers continued to try to find opportunities to score in the second half, as they had four corner kicks in the opening 11 minutes with Truelove and Orr taking turns on who put the ball in play.

With 10 minutes left in the match, Megan Greene had a shot across the goal which was blocked by Cole.

Truelove, Greene and Orr finished the game with two shots each.

The Roadrunners outshot the 49ers 10-9.

The 49ers return home to finish the regular season on Sunday, Oct. 28 to face Rice at 1 p.m.

49ers shutout Elon

Tommy Madden hustles after the ball. Photo by Chris Crews

The Charlotte 49ers (3-1) dominated offensively and defensively in a 4-0 win at Elon (3-2).

In the 24th minute, John Ranshaw got a deflection from the Elon goalkeeper and put the ball in the net for his first career goal.

Preston Popp added to the lead in the 37th minute. Ethan Sawdon passed to Noah Seach who then passed it to Popp near the goal. Popp put the ball in the net from six yards out for his first career goal.

In the 62nd minute, Joe Brito assisted Tommy Madden who scored to extend the 49ers lead to 3-0.

In the 73rd minute, Luke Vallone scored his first goal of the season when he hit the ball over Elon’s goalkeeper Matthew Jegier into the net for his first career goal.

“This was a good road win,” Charlotte coach Kevin Langan said. “It was a pleasing offensive performance as we scored in a variety of ways. It was exciting to have three players score their first college goals. I was very pleased with our defense in recording a clean sheet on the road. We were very strong, secure, sure-footed and determined defensively as we played the second half in a driving rain storm.”

Charlotte had a 12-9 edge in shots, Madden led the Niners with six shots. Vallone also had two shots among the 49ers offensive attack. Chaouche, Brito, Popp and Ranshaw also added a shot each to keep up the Niners’ offensive energy. Charlotte goalkeeper Elliot Panicco has recorded 18 career shutouts which moves him into fourth place on the 49ers all-time career shutout list.

Charlotte’s season-high four goals is the most goals scored by the 49ers since scoring four in a 4-3 win over Georgia State on October 24, 2017.

Charlotte returns home on Friday, Sept. 14 to face FAU in a C-USA match at Transamerica Field at 7 p.m.

49ers top Furman 2-0

The Niners celebrate after Montgomery scores. Photo by Chris Crews.

The Charlotte 49ers (2-0-0) shut out the Furman Paladins (1-2-0), 2-0, Friday night at Transamerica Field.

With the shutout win, Charlotte has kept clean sheets in back-to-back games.

In the 63rd minute, Daniel Bruce got a penalty kick for the 49ers. Callum Montgomery got to his spot and kicked it in to give the 49ers the 1-0 lead.

In the 86th minute, Bruce took the ball from a Paladins defender, dribbled the ball down the sideline and passed it to midfielder Joe Brito who then passed it to Tommy Madden. Madden dribbled into the box and slotted it pasted the goalkeeper to extend the 49ers lead 2-0.

Charlotte outshot their opponent again, finishing the game with a 13-5 advantage over the Paladins. Charlotte posted a 6-3 advantage in shots on goal.

Madden led the Niners in shots with three. Bruce, Montgomery and Teddy Chaouche had two shots each and Patrick Hogan, John Ranshaw and Ethan Sawdon all added one shot to the 49ers offense.

Elliot Panicco came up big for the Niners backfield again, allowing Furman only three shots on goal.

“First half was little bit of sparring between the two teams. Furman sat in and asked us to build and if we got it wrong they would break. We did not do a really good job of breaking them down and they were very organized,” said 49ers head coach Kevin Langan. “

We got a bit frustrated. At halftime, we made some corrections and upped our pace. In the second half, I thought we got into good positions. As good teams do they pushed back after we scored the first goal, we were again strong in goal, through the back and into the midfield. I am really happy with two goals and a clean sheet.”

The Niners will face Old Dominion on the road on Friday, Sept. 7th at 7 p.m.

Charlotte pitching shuts down High Point

Harris Yett round first base. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte scored five unanswered runs to make up for an early two-run deficit to beat High Point 5-2.

High Point (20-16) broke a scoreless ballgame up in the fourth getting a couple of two-out runs for a 2-0 lead. Tanner Wells drove in the first with a two-out double down the left field line. JJ Woodward scored from third on a balk.

Charlotte (19-17) responded quickly in the fifth by posting four runs on four hits to take the lead 4-2. Todd Elwood started things with a one-out bunt for a single. Elwood advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored on a Tommy Bullock single to center field. After Hunter Jones walked and Jackson Mims was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Harris Yett came up big with the go-ahead, two-out, two-run single to left for a 3-2 lead. Drew Ober finished off the inning with a single to center which scored Mims.

In the eighth, Zack Smith and pinch-hitter Jesse Gonzales hit back-to-back singles while Elwood walked to load the bases for Bullock. The 49ers added an insurance run on a Bullock walk with the bases loaded.

Colby Bruce picked up the win with four scoreless innings of relief allowing just two hits with a career high six strikeouts. Jonah Patten recorded his fifth save of the season getting two strikeouts in the ninth, he needed just 13 pitches, 12 of which he threw for strikes.

Led by Bruce’s six strikeouts, Carson Pinkney and Jonah Patten each picked up two, fanning High Point a total of ten times, marking the eighth time Charlotte has struck out double-digit opponents in a game.

Six different 49ers recorded a hit with Yett and Bullock each driving in two of the five runs.

“We didn’t play great, but we did what we needed to do and our pitching really picked us up again tonight. I thought we played really good defense. The latest projections have High Point in the NCAA tournament winning the Big South. It was a good effort by our pitching staff,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs said.

This weekend is Baseball Alumni Weekend. The Charlotte 49ers will return to Conference-USA action this Friday, April 20 at 6 p.m. at Hayes Stadium to begin a series against Old Dominion.

 

Charlotte tops 4th-ranked Arkansas

Harris Yett celebrates coming home. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte came back from a 2-0 deficit in the second inning with a stretch of six unanswered runs to beat forth-ranked Arkansas 6-3. The win becomes the highest-ranked home win in program history.

Arkansas (16-5) got the scoring started in the second on a Dominic Fletcher one-out single to right followed by a home run by Heston Kjerstad.

Charlotte (12-8) got on the score board in the fourth as three-straight two-out singles from Harris Yett, Drew Ober and Dominick Cammarata got Charlotte to score one run in the fourth. In the sixth, Jackson Mims hit a leadoff double down the left field line. Ober lined a single into center to tie the game at 2.

In the seventh, Zach Smith singled to right, then moved to second on a Hunter Jones bunt and Smith was sent home and scored on Tommy Bullock’s two-out hit to right. The 49ers took the lead 3-2.

The eighth inning was a very productive inning for the 49ers. Charlotte scored three runs on one hit and three errors by the Razorbacks. Reece Hampton started the inning with a single to right before Mims reached on an error. Hampton stole second and moved to third on a throwing error before scoring on the misplayed grounder to make the score 4-2.

After Ober was hit by a pitch and Cammarata walked, Mims scored on a bases loaded walk making it a three-run lead. Todd Elwood finished off the inning by reaching on the third error of the inning to push the lead to 6-2.

Kjerstad’s solo home run in the top of the ninth was the final Arkansas run. Arkansas had multiple scoring opportunities, but couldn’t get anything in off of the 49ers bullpen. Jonah Patten came in the game in the ninth and struck out two to finish the game and get the win for Charlotte. It was Patten’s second save of the season.

Ober and Bullock led Charlotte with two hits each. Charlotte had no answer for Razorbacks starter Barrett Loseke who struck out eight, but was pulled after three innings. Charlotte got all their hits and runs off eight Arkansas relievers.

“We didn’t play well early in the game, but we just keep playing,” 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs said. “Proud of our guys, our bullpen was really good and we played pretty solid defense after the first couple of innings. We see this level of competition, maybe not quite as talented as these guys are because very few teams are, but we see this on a regular basis. That’s why we play the schedule that we do. We beat a great team tonight.”

Charlotte gets back into Conference USA play this weekend when they travel to Middle Tennessee for a three-game series. Game time in Friday’s opener is set for 7 p.m.

Charlotte gets a win over FAU in final game

2017-18 MBB Senior Class: #10 Corey Bias, #5 Austin Ajukwa with Head Coach Houston Fancher. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte (6-23, 2-16 C-USA) had three players in double-figures as they beat Florida Atlantic (12-18, 6-12 C-USA), 85-78, on Senior Night at Halton Arena. The win snapped the 49ers 15-game losing streak.

The 49ers three in double figures were Jon Davis, senior Austin Ajukwa and Andrien White. Davis led the 49ers with 28 points (17 in the first half) on 6-of-11 shooting from the field while going 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Senior Austin Ajukwa playing in his final game at Charlotte scored 23 points including going 8-for-8 from the free throw line. White added 17 points.

Charlotte finished the game shooting 30-for-32 from the free throw line for a 93.8 free throw percentage, which is the second highest free throw percentage in a game in school history.

Florida Atlantic had two players score in double figures led by Ronald Delph’s 19 points.

The game started with the two teams exchanging the lead several times with three ties over the first ten minutes. With the game tied at 19 with ten minutes left in the first half, Florida Atlantic went on a 6-1 run to take a 26-20 lead with 7:07 remaining in the first half.

Charlotte scored 10 of the next 12 points to take a 30-28 lead on a huge dunk by Najee Garvin with 4:25 remaining. Florida Atlantic scored six straight points to regain the lead 34-30 on a Delph layup with 3:25 on the clock. Charlotte finished the first half on a 10-2 run to take a 40-36 halftime lead.

Florida Atlantic started the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 43-40 lead when Justin Massey connected on a three with 18:23 remaining in the second half. White answered Massey’s three with a three tying the game for the seventh time at 43. The teams exchange baskets with the game tied again at 48 with 15:40 remaining.

The 49ers went on a 6-0 run with baskets by Davis and White to take a 54-48 lead with 14:23 remaining. Florida Atlantic scored seven straight points when Jailyn Ingram made a layup to take a 55-54 lead with 13:20 remaining.

Ajukwa scored 13 straight Charlotte points beginning with a jumper at the 9:45 mark, which gave the 49ers the lead, 60-59. Ajukwa ended his scoring run with a three-point play giving Charlotte a 71-64 lead with 5:19 remaining. White converted on two free throws pushing Charlotte’s lead to nine points with 4:47 to go.

Florida Atlantic went on a 7-2 run to cut the 49ers lead to four, 75-71, with 2:08 remaining. Two free throws by Davis pushed the Niners lead to 77-71 at the 1:35 mark. FAU’s Ingram made a layup to cut the 49ers lead to 77-73 with one-minute left in regulation. Charlotte closed out the win by going 8-for-8 from the free throw line in the final minute.

“Tonight was special. This was a special win for our whole team and with it coming on my senior night it is very special,” Austin Ajukwa said.

“We’ve sat up here for two months and talked about challenges and talked about making plays, if tonight is not an indicator that these kids have never given up all season then I don’t know what is,” Charlotte interim head coach Houston Fancher said. “They had opportunities to give up tonight when they built a lead and then lost a lead but we finally found a way to get the stops we needed and we went 30-for-32 from the free throw line. I couldn’t be proud of these guys. We talked about this before the game and if anyone had said to me that this game didn’t matter then I might have slapped them across the face because this game meant everything to us tonight.”

Charlotte falls to Middle Tennessee

Amaya Ransom charges forward on the court. Photo by Chris Crews

Charlotte (12-15, 8-6 C-USA) women’s basketball had two players in double-figures as they fell to Middle Tennessee (17-11, 9-6 C-USA) 54-53 Sunday afternoon at Halton Arena.

It was the best defensive effort for the Niners this season in conference play, as they held Middle Tennessee to 28 percent shooting from the field.

The 49ers were led by Dara Pearson who posted a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Only Laia Raventos topped her in the scoring column with 11, to go with six assists and six steals.

Preseason Conference USA Player of the Year Alex Johnson scored 21 points to lead all players. Jess Louro made four three-pointers as part of a double-double with 12 points and ten rebounds. Anna Jones posted 11 points off the bench for the Blue Raiders.

Both teams struggled to score to begin the game. A single Alex Johnson free throw was the first point scored with 7:36 remaining in the first quarter. The Niners remained scoreless until a layup by Octavia Wilson to give Charlotte the lead, 2-1, with 5:16 remaining. Pearson brought the margin to 4-1 on a jumper, but two more Johnson free throws made it a one-point game with four minutes remaining.

Pearson and Johnson traded buckets again, as Middle Tennessee scored for the last time in the first quarter on a layup with 3:22 remaining. The 49ers then went on an 8-0 run to close the quarter, giving the Niners a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter. The defensive intensity and effort for Charlotte was on its best display in the opening period as it held Middle Tennessee to only five points, three of them came at the foul line. It was the fewest points that Charlotte women’s basketball has ever allowed in a quarter.

The 49ers were unable to score themselves to start the second quarter. Jaida Robinson made a layup with 9:14 to go, but Middle Tennessee then went on a 10-2 run to close the gap to within one, 16-15, on two Abby Sissom free throws with 5:05 remaining. Wilson would make it a two-point game on a free throw, but the Blue Raiders regained the lead on a Sissom three-pointer, putting them up, 18-17, with 3:59 remaining. Middle Tennessee went on another run, a 9-0 run over the next 2:50 span to extend their lead to seven, 24-17, with 1:48 remaining. Raventos finally ended the 49ers drought with a layup on the next possession, but Jones made a three-pointer and Katie Collier made two free throws to give Middle Tennessee the lead going into halftime, 29-19.

Amaya Ransom started the third quarter for the 49ers with a three-pointer. Pearson’s jumper at the 6:11 mark brought Charlotte within six, 32-26, but a three-point play from Johnson pushed the Blue Raiders lead back to nine with 5:33 remaining. Nyilah Jamison-Myers hit a layup at the 3:25 mark to reach her 1,000th point of her career.  Middle Tennessee pushed its lead to 10, 41-31, on a Louro three-pointer with 3:06 to play but Wilson’s jumper at the 2:27 mark was the start of a 7-1 49ers run to close the quarter. Raventos got a steal and raced to the hoop to cut the deficit to four, 41-37, before a free throw by Jamison-Myers and Johnson finished the quarter with Middle Tennessee leading by four, 42-38.

Charlotte got the first five points of the fourth quarter, to take the lead, 43-42, with 7:58 remaining. The two teams went back-and-forth over the next four minutes, neither team pulled ahead by more than one, before Anna Jones three-pointer gave Middle Tennessee a two-point lead, 49-47, with 3:59 remaining. Raventos tied the game with free throws and Mariah Linney added free throws as the 49ers got the lead back, 51,49, with 2:11 remaining. Louro hit a long-distance three to get the Blue Raiders the lead back, 52-51.

After some defensive stops on both ends, Raventos assisted Jamison-Myers on a layup with 41 seconds remaining as the Niners took the lead, 53-52. Johnson made two free throws with 25.3 seconds remaining to give the Blue Raiders the lead 54-53. A missed jumper by Wilson led to two more Johnson free throws, she missed both with 12.2 seconds left and Charlotte was out of timeouts. The 49ers were unable to get a shot off on their final possession.

“We have got to be accountable for that loss. We have nobody to look at but ourselves. We lost that game in the second quarter, obviously. We can’t play a great team like Middle Tennessee, get outscored 24-5 and expect to win. With that being said, we had a great fight in the second half but it’s just disappointing that we were in that position.

“It’s disappointing we’re in that position based on lessons I thought we have learned. We’re not the same team when Ny and Laia are in foul trouble. Everybody in this room knows that but they’re picking up fouls in that second quarter and it crushed us,” said Head coach Cara Consuegra.

Charlotte will play against Old Dominion at Halton Arena on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.

Charlotte basketball drops 13th straight at Western Kentucky

Milos Supica tries to get around a defender. Photo by Chris Crews

Jon Davis led Charlotte (5-21, 1-14 C-USA) with 20 points, three rebounds, and six assists, but the 49ers fell to Western Kentucky (21-7, 13-2 C-USA), 93-55, on the road.

Charlotte had three players in double figures: Davis, Jailan Haslem and Milos Supica. Haslem had 11 points and five rebounds. Supica added 11 points and led both teams in rebounds with 11, seven of which were offensive rebounds.

Western Kentucky had six players in double-figures led by Josh Anderson’s 19 points. Justin Johnson scored 16 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the field. Dwight Coleby added 12 points and seven rebounds. Darius Thompson and Taveion Hollingsworth also scored 12 points each. Lamonte Bearden added 10 points.

Both teams started off the game going back-and-forth with the score tied, 14-14, after Austin Ajukwa hit a three-pointer with 11:38 remaining in the first half. With the score tied at 20 with 8:44 remaining, Thompson knocked down a three giving the Hilltoppers the lead back. The 49ers cut the Hilltoppers lead to two points, 29-27, with 5:15 to go after a layup by Haslem and two free throws from Davis. Western Kentucky regained control of the game with a 14-0 run to end the first half with a 43-27 lead.

In the second half, Western Kentucky started with a 7-2 run in the first 2 minutes and nineteen seconds to extend their lead to 50-29. Charlotte was able to cut the deficit back to 16 points when Davis completed a three-point play with 13:58 remaining. That was the closest the 49ers would get the rest of the game. Charlotte tried to come back, but Western Kentucky went on a 38-16 run to finish the game.

The 49ers had 13 offensive rebounds, but Western Kentucky out-rebounded the Niners 37-29. Charlotte shot 37 percent from the field, Western Kentucky shot 56 percent from the field.

The 49ers will play their last regular season road game against Marshall on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Charlotte’s women’s team stuns conference leader UAB

Octavia Wilson on the court. Photo by Katelynn Pennington.

Charlotte (12-13, 8-4 C-USA) women’s basketball continued its late season run, winning its league-best fifth-in-a-row by knocking off Conference USA leader UAB (21-3, 10-1 C-USA), 80-71.

The 49ers had three players in double figures. Nyilah Jamison-Myers led with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, while grabbing seven rebounds and blocking five shots. Laia Raventos came close to a triple-double again with 17 points, nine assists, eight rebounds and three steals. Octavia Wilson scored 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field.

Although having an impressive offensive showing, Wilson’s biggest contribution may have been her defense shutting down UAB’s leading scorer Rachel Childress. Childress was limited to five points, only one three-pointer, and two free throws in 34 minutes for her second lowest scoring output of the year and fewest in conference action.

“Childress is maybe the best shooter I have seen all year, we obviously came into this game very concerned about her and we made the decision to put Octavia on her and just told her to stick with her and don’t let her get any touches and I just thought she put forth an incredible performance,” Head coach Cara Consuegra said.

UAB’s Deanna Kuzmanic led all scorers with 23 points on 10-of-18 from the field. Kara Rawls had a double-double of 11 points and 17 rebounds.

Wilson started the Niners off hot by scoring the first six points to keep the 49ers close. Katelynn Thomas put UAB ahead 9-6 at the 6:24 mark, but Raventos converted on three straight possessions for the 49ers to give Charlotte a 12-11 lead with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter. The back-and-forth battle continued as Jamison-Myers layup got the lead back for the 49ers, 17-15. Jaida Robinson hit a layup with 19 seconds remaining to give Charlotte a 19-18 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The score continued to go back-and-forth between the two teams, changing the lead on every possession in the first 4:30. Raventos then made a game-changing three-pointer at 5:30, to give the Niners the lead back 26-24 and the 49ers led the rest of the way. Wilson hit a jumper that extended the Niners lead 30-26 with 3:02 remaining. Lea Kerstein stopped the 49ers push with a three, followed by a Kuzmanic layup and the Blazers cut the halftime deficit to three, 34-31.

Jamison-Myers scored on the first possession of the third quarter and Charlotte went on a run to start the second half. Four different players scored in an 11-3 run as the 49ers built a 47-34 lead with 5:43 remaining. Childress finally scored with two free throws at the 5:30 mark. That started a 7-0 UAB run, ending on a Kuzmanic three, closing the gap to 47-41 with 4:02 remaining. The 49ers called a timeout to try and stop the Blazers run. Out of the timeout, the Niners went to Jamison-Myers and she converted on a jumper. Wilson knocked down a three-pointer to make it a nine-point game with 2:15 remaining. It started a 7-2 Charlotte surge, extending the lead back to double figures, but Kerstein closed the quarter with a three and the 49ers lead was eight, 56-48, heading into the fourth quarter.

Jamison-Myers started the fourth quarter with a layup to give Charlotte a ten-point edge again, 58-48. An Imani Johnson three-point play cut it back to seven but Mariah Linney and Jamison-Myers both made layups and the 49ers were up 11, 62-51, with 7:27 to go. Kuzmanic registered four points in a 9-0 run that included Childress’ only three-pointer, and the Charlotte lead was cut to two, 64-62, with 4:04 remaining. Linney and Wilson made three pointers to extend the 49ers lead to seven, 70-63, with 1:34 remaining. Charlotte was clutch down the stretch from the foul line, converting on 10-of-10 to seal the victory.

“Just another tremendous defensive performance. To see this team put together back to back games of almost perfect execution of our game plan is what I am most proud about. I thought we did just about everything right defensively and it was a team effort,” Consuegra said.

The 49ers will play their last regular season road game against Western Kentucky on Friday. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

Women’s team wins fourth straight at Louisiana Tech

Amaya Ransom gets around defenders. Photo by Katelynn Pennington

Charlotte (11-13, 7-4 C-USA) had four players in double figures in its 64-51 victory over Louisiana Tech (16-10, 7-6 C-USA).

With the win Charlotte moves into fourth place in the Conference USA standings with five league games remaining. The 49ers converted on 43 percent shooting from the field and 79 percent from the free throw line.

The 49ers great defense led Louisiana Tech to shoot a season low 29 percent from the field.

Nyilah Jamison-Myers tallied her third double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high tying 11 rebounds. She added a career-best six blocks. Octavia Wilson scored 14 points while shooting 4-of-8 from the field and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Laia Raventos chipped in 13 points, while grabbing eight rebounds to go with her six assists. Mariah Linney came off the bench to score 12 points for her third-straight double-figure scoring contest. Dara Pearson grabbed 10 rebounds, her eleventh double-digit performance on the glass this season.

“It was a really good team win for us. We came out and we knew we had to be tough. We just let them know that we were here. Around the rim we are going to block shots, get rebounds, they might be physical, but were going to use our length,” said Nyilah Jamison-Myers.

Alexus Malone led the Lady Techsters with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The 49ers set the tone early in the game with four of their nine team blocks in the first quarter. The timely defensive stops helped keep Charlotte close as Wilson made a basket on a jumper to tie the game, 4-4, with 6:04 remaining in the first quarter. Anthony Kierra hit the game’s first three, putting Louisiana Tech ahead, but Raventos and Wilson answered and the Niners held a one-point advantage with 4:45 remaining in the first quarter. The teams were going back and forth until Taylor Stahly hit a three to expand the Charlotte deficit to four, 14-10, with 1:49 remaining. Linney got a late three pointer to pull the 49ers within one, but Reauna Cleaver hit a shot just before the buzzer to extend Louisiana Tech’s lead 16-13 at the end of the first quarter.

Louisiana Tech went on a 9-2 run in to extend their lead to, 25-15, in the first three and a half minutes of the second quarter. Consuegra called a time out and the 49ers responded. Jamison-Myers started the run, followed by four consecutive by Linney to close the gap to four, 25-21, with 4:45 remaining. Cleaver had a put back layup to make it 27-21 at the 4:11 mark, but Louisiana Tech would not score the rest of the half. The 49ers finished the half on a 7-0 run to take a 28-27 lead at halftime.

Amaya Ransom, who was held scoreless in the first half, got on the scoreboard to begin the second half by making a three pointer. It was the start of a 5-0 run, punctuated by another Ransom jumper, to extend the lead to six, 33-27, with 7:33 remaining in the third quarter. Malone ended the 49ers run with a jumper, but Jaida Robinson scored in the post and Ransom made another three pointer, making it a nine-point lead for the Niners, 38-29, with 5:48 left. The two teams alternated points the rest of the period with the 49ers lead never dropping below five and they held onto a 44-39 lead at the end of the third quarter.

As the defense continued to play its strong role, two steals early helped Charlotte extend their lead to ten, 49-39, with 8:09 remaining in the fourth quarter. Louisiana Tech used free throws to cut the Niners deficit back to eight by the 4:11 mark, but Linney drove to the hoop and laid in a finger roll that pushed Charlotte’s lead back to a double-digit margin. It was free throws that kept the Lady Techsters hopes alive, as they pulled to within seven, 55-48, with 3:12 remaining. Jamison-Myers’ layup at the 2:51 mark was the 49ers final field goal, as they connected on 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch. Wilson connected on two free throws with 55 seconds to go, which provided Charlotte with its largest leads of the game at 13, 61-48. Mariah Linney sealed the victory at the free throw line to finish the game.

“This game was all about our defense, just a tremendous defensive effort against a very good Louisiana Tech team. For us to hold them to 29 percent shooting and 19 percent in the second half was just a tremendous effort. We knew this was going to be tough with the way that they were able to get the ball inside and get paint touches and I thought all of our kids, but in particularly our post players just battled inside. We showed a true toughness that I haven’t seen from our team like this all season long,” said Head coach Cara Consuegra.

The 49ers road trip continues as they head to Birmingham to face UAB on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.