Ryan Murphy checks in with Houston Fancher. Photo by Pooja Pasupula

Ryan Murphy scored a career-high 27 points tonight for the Niners but it was not enough as Charlotte fell to Old Dominion (16-4, 7-1 C-USA) at home 88-66. With this loss, Charlotte falls to a 5-14 overall record and 1-7 in conference play. The Niners are currently on a six game losing streak and have now lost eight of their last nine games.

“Old Dominion is a really good basketball team. They are on top of our league [conference] for a reason,” Charlotte interim head coach Houston Fancher said. “Two areas that they really dominate in are rebounding and they are stingy defensively. The thing that we do is turn the ball over too much and tonight they had 22 points off our turnovers. They also had a lot of second chance shot opportunities in the second half.”

Charlotte scored the first points of the game off a three-pointer by Ryan Murphy. Old Dominion responded with a 10-0 run of their own to take a 10-3 lead. After taking the lead, Old Dominion would not look back as the Monarchs never lost the lead for the rest of the game.

With 9:59 remaining in the first half, Charlotte was only down 21-16 after a made jumper from Austin Ajukwa. Old Dominion would then go on a 15-2 run to take a 36-18 lead. During that span, Charlotte committed five fouls and turned the ball over six times, which lead to easy fast break points for the Monarchs. The Niners would finish the half strong with a 16-4 run lead by Ryan Murphy to cut the deficit down to six points as Charlotte trailed 40-34 going into the second half.

Old Dominion would open the second half strong with a 16-6 run to take a commanding double-digit lead over the Niners. Charlotte would end the run with a pair of made jumpers from Ryan Murphy and Austin Ajukwa. With a 60-44 lead for Old Dominion, The Monarchs would continue to dominate as their lead never dropped below 15 points for the rest of the game.

Murphy was on fire for the Niners, scoring 27 points off of 9-for-11 shooting and a perfect 6-for-6 from behind the three-point line. Without Murphy tonight, Charlotte only shot 33 percent from the field and 3-for-11 from behind the arc. Jon Davis only needed one more assist to receive his second double-double of the season, as he finished the game with 14 points and nine assists.

Fancher was complementary of Ryan Murphy tonight.

“No one works harder than Ryan does. He shot the ball well.” Fancher said.

On the other hand, Fancher was not pleased with his front court players.

“Our post players gave us little to nothing out there tonight and we need them to compete against a team like Old Dominion because they are so physical on the inside. This is the first night I would say that we got physically manhandled. We didn’t answer. We answered with fouling instead of physicality and there’s a big difference there. They got to be more physical than they were tonight. It was the first thing we talked about in the locker room tonight was how we got handled in the paint tonight,” Fancher said.

Charlotte finished the game shooting 22-for-40 from the field and 9-for-17 from three-point range.

Old Dominion ended the game with four players in double-figures, lead by Randy Haynes with 24 points. Brandan Stith finished the game with 11 points and 17 rebounds for the Monarchs.

Charlotte was out-hustled tonight, as they were outscored in points in the paint, second chance points and fast break points. The Niners were also out-rebounded 38-19.

In the month of January, Charlotte finished with a 1-6 record after winning their first game of the new year on Jan. 4 at North Texas. The Niners look to improve going into February when they host UAB on Thursday Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.