Charlotte trailed by double-digits in the second half and made a valiant comeback to cut the deficit to one possession late, but the Niners could not come away with the win as Rice would win 65-61 in Halton Arena. Charlotte finished the month of January with a 2-8 record.
“We dug ourselves a hole in the first half,” Charlotte Head Coach Ron Sanchez said. “I’m really proud of the way we bounced back in the second half. I think we did a really good job defensively in the second half. I think they fought hard in the second half and gave us a chance to win. I could not ask them to do more.”
Charlotte (5-16, 2-8 C-USA) was led by Jon Davis, who had a game-high 28 points off of a 12-for-21 shooting night. Davis also finished with five rebounds and a season-high four blocks. Milos Supica recorded 14 points and nine rebounds while Malik Martin finished with 11 points off the bench. Davis, Supica and Martin combined to score 53 of the team’s 61 points on the night.
Rice (9-13, 4-5 C-USA) finished with three players in double figures, led by Ako Adams with 16 points. The Owls recorded 36 bench points on the night while Charlotte finished with 13.
Both teams went back and forth the first five minutes of the game with Charlotte taking a 10-9 lead after Davis made a jump shot. However, Rice would respond with a 12-3 run led by Trey Murphy III who scored nine points during that stretch. Charlotte would cut the lead down to four after a fast-break layup by Davis with five minutes remaining in the first half. Rice would outscore Charlotte 9-2 in the final minutes of the half as the Owls would take a 37-26 lead heading into the second half.
With Charlotte trailing 41-31 in the second half, Charlotte would go on a 12-0 scoring run to give the Niners a two-point lead. Both teams would trade buckets the next few possessions, but Charlotte would take a five-point lead, their largest of the night, after a Supica layup. With the 49ers leading 52-47, Rice would make back-to-back three-pointers to give themselves a one-point lead. Cooper Robb and Supica would combine to score the next six points to give the Niners a five-point lead with 3:41 remaining. Rice would respond with an 8-0 run which gave the Owls the lead. Charlotte would fight hard the rest of the game but could never regain the lead as Rice would go on to win the game.
Charlotte finished the game shooting 46 percent from the field and only 24 percent from the three-point line. The 49ers dominated in the paint as the Niners outscored Rice 32-18 in the paint.
Charlotte’s next game will be a tough one as the Niners will host the North Texas Mean Green who have an 18-4 record on the year. The game is slated to start on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.