Charlotte played hard for 40 minutes but the Niners suffered a heartbreaking loss at home, falling to Southern Miss 63-60 on a last second shot.
“I think today was a perfect example of what beating yourself looks like,” head coach Ron Sanchez said. “When you’re a team like ours, the margin of error is very small. When the game is on the line, you can’t give up possessions. One lesson that we will learn is to eliminate losing by the things that we can control.”
The 49ers (4-12, 1-4 C-USA) finished the game with three players in double figures, led by Jon Davis with 20 points and seven rebounds. Jaylan McGill tied his season-high with 13 points, while Cooper Robb recorded 12 points on the night.
Southern Miss (11-7, 3-3 C-USA) had four players in double figures and were led by Kevin Holland, who finished the game with 14 points.
The first half was very close the entire way as neither team led by more than seven points in the half. Southern Miss took an early 9-5 lead in the game after a made layup from Tim Rowe. Charlotte would fight back and then take a one point lead off of a Brandon Younger layup. With Charlotte leading 18-17, Southern Miss would then go on a 10-2 scoring run, which would give the Golden Eagles a seven point lead. Davis would make a pair of free throws for the Niners, which takes the game to halftime with Charlotte trailing 27-22.
Holland opened the second half with a three-pointer for the Golden Eagles, which pushed their lead to eight. Charlotte would then go on a 14-0 run led by Davis and Younger which gave the Niners a 36-30 lead. After a Southern Miss layup, the Niners took a nine point lead, their largest of the night, after a layup from Robb and a three-pointer from Davis. With Charlotte leading 47-40, the 49ers got sloppy with the ball, committing four turnovers in less than two minutes which gave Southern Miss easy buckets on the other end. The Golden Eagles would go on a 13-2 run during that stretch which gave them a 53-49 lead.
Leonard Harper-Baker made a fastbreak layup which gave the Golden Eagles a six point lead. Davis would then score the next six points for the Niners, which tied the game at 60 with just over a minute to play. Charlotte had a chance to take the lead late in the game but Davis missed a contested jump shot which gave Southern Miss the last shot in regulation. Tyree Griffin would then make a stepback three-point jumper for the Golden Eagles, which gave them a 63-60 victory.
Charlotte finished the game shooting 40.4 percent from the field while making seven three-pointers on the night. The 49ers out-rebounded Southern Miss 34-28 in the game.
Charlotte returns to action when the 49ers take on Louisiana Tech in Halton Arena on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4 p.m.