Jonathan Schenkel

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Charlotte takes series at FIU

Game 1: Charlotte 6, FIU 3

Ryan Czanstowski’s solid start was key for Charlotte (15-25-1, 6-12-1 C-USA) in a 6-3 win at FIU (17-24, 7-12 C-USA).

In the second inning, Rafi Vazquez hit a leadoff single. Drew Ober followed with a double to left field. Ober advanced to third on an error by the shortstop as Vazquez scored to give the 49ers a 1-0 lead.

In the third inning, Harris Yett’s RBI single scored Tommy Bullock for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Jose Garcia hit a two-run homer to tie the game.

In the fourth inning, the 49ers responded when Dominick Cammarata hit a two-run homer to left field to extend the lead to 4-2.

In the sixth inning, Javier Valdes scored on Garcia’s RBI single to center field to cut the Niners lead to 4-3.

In the eighth inning, Todd Elwood began with an infield single and he scored on Johnson’s two-out hit up the middle to give Charlotte a 5-3 lead.

In the ninth inning, Bullock scored on Elwood’s single to right field to score the game’s final run.

Czanstkowski pitched five strong innings to pick up the win. Colby Bruce pitched in the eighth and ninth inning to close the game and pick up his sixth save of the season.

“Czanstkowski threw well and our guys had energy tonight,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs said. “We were ready to play and it’s a good win against a FIU team who plays well here at home. When we get solid starting pitching, we get a chance to get in the flow of the game and can be a pretty good team.”

Game 2: Charlotte 10, FIU 9

Charlotte (16-25-1, 7-12-1 C-USA) forced extra innings at FIU (17-25, 7-13 C-USA) and earned a 10-9 victory in 14 innings.

The 49ers and the Panthers went back-and-forth to start the game. After four innings the Niners were down 5-2.

FIU extended their lead to 6-2 when Derek Cartaya hit an RBI single in the fifth.

Charlotte scored two runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to two runs. Yett scored on Vazquez’s sacrifice fly to center field and Johnson scored on Cammarata’s double to left field.

FIU scored three runs in the seventh inning to take a 9-4 lead.

Vazquez, Yett and Ober each hit singles to start the eighth inning. Yett and Vazquez scored on Ober’s single to cut the deficit to three runs heading into the ninth inning.

In the ninth inning, Josh Haney and Austin Lynch led off with base hits for the 49ers. Lynch scored on Elwood’s groundout to first base to bring Charlotte to within two runs. Yett hit an RBI single up the middle to score Haney and Vazquez hit a single down the right field line to score Yett and tie the game at nine.

Both offenses were quiet until the 14th inning. Bullock led off with a walk. After Elwood’s sacrifice bunt, a base hit by Yett pushed Bullock to third with one out. Vazquez hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score the game-winning run.

Charlotte registered a new season high with 22 hits in the win, their first 20+ hit performance since April 25, 2017 against Kennesaw State.

“Nothing was going right for us, we didn’t get any breaks early in the game,” Head Coach Loren Hibbs said. “I’m really happy for our players tonight. Our guys really laid it out there tonight. In any sport, if you keep hanging in there and keep playing, good things can happen.”

Game 3: Charlotte 1, FIU 2

FIU (18-25, 8-13 C-USA) avoided a sweep against Charlotte (16-26-1, 7-13-1 C-USA) in a 2-1 win.

In the fourth inning, the Panthers took a 2-0 lead on Garcia’s two-run homer.

Charlotte scored their only run of the game in the ninth inning. Yett doubled to center field which scored Elwood to cut the deficit to one. After Vazquez singled to left putting runners at the corners with one out, Ober hit a line drive to third which was caught and followed with Vazquez being thrown out at first to end the game.

“We did some good things and pitched at a really high level,” Hibbs said. “We just weren’t engaged offensively. We made a good run late, but not enough in the tank offensively today. We’re disappointed, we had a chance to sweep a team that plays well at home.”

Charlotte returns home to face UNCG on Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m.

Charlotte dominates FIU to complete doubleheader sweep

Game 1: FIU 2 – Charlotte 7
Charlotte (14-30, 5-12 C-USA) dominated FIU (22-21, 4-13, C-USA) in a 7-2 win at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium.

In the first inning, Katie Manring hit a home run after Kiersten Berrier reached on a fielding error to give the 49ers a 2-0 lead.

In the second inning, Lizzy Birch’s single was followed by a Jude McGough home run to left field to extend the Niners lead to 4-0.

In the third inning, Spenser Gray started with a single to right field. Gray extended her hitting streak to six games. Manring connected on her second home run of the game to left field to give Charlotte a 6-0 lead.

In the fourth inning, Berrier’s RBI double to left field extended Charlotte’s lead to 7-0.

In the seventh inning, the Panthers stopped the shutout. Brittany Phillips’ two-run double cut the Charlotte lead to 7-2. Carson Pace got the final two outs for Charlotte to secure the victory.

Lauren Riley got the win while pitching 5.1 shutout innings with a career-high five strikeouts.

This was the first game all season that Charlotte hit three home runs in one game. Manring hit her 12th and 13th home run of the season, which leads Conference USA. Manring is the first Niner this season to hit two home runs in a single game.

Game 2: FIU 1 – Charlotte 9

Charlotte dominated Florida International University 9-1 to earn their first Conference USA series win this season.

In the second inning, Birch walked. Birch scored on McGough’s RBI single to center field. Berrier tripled down the left field line to score McGough and take a 2-0 lead.

The 49ers (15-30, 6-12 C-USA) scored five runs in the fourth inning. After Bethany Doty and McGough walked with one-out, Berrier beat out an infield single to load the bases. Gray walked which brought in an RBI to give Charlotte a 3-0 lead. Manring connected on her third home run of the doubleheader — 14th of the season — for a grand slam to left field to extend the 49ers lead to 7-0.

Florida International (22-22, 4-14 C-USA) scored their only run in the fifth inning. Brianna Bahadue started the inning with a single. Bahadue advanced to second on a passed ball. Alexis Johns singled to third base and advanced to second on the throw. Bahadue advanced to third and scored on a throwing error.

In the sixth inning, Gray extended her hitting streak to seven games, tying a season-high with a single to left field. Bailey Vannoy hit a two-run home run with two outs to end the game and secure the 9-1 victory for Charlotte.

Freshman Maggie Cannon’s great start was rewarded by earning her fourth win of the season. Cannon pitched 5.0 innings, gave up one run unearned on five hits, walked one and struck out six.

Charlotte’s next C-USA series is at Florida Atlantic April 27-28. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Charlotte drops two and ties at Western Kentucky

Charlotte played a double header on Friday. The game on Saturday was moved to Friday because of weather issues.

Game 1: Charlotte 4, Western Kentucky 8

Charlotte (11-14, 3-4 C-USA) fell 8-4 at Western Kentucky (13-11, 6-1 C-USA).

Western Kentucky got off to a hot start with a four-run bottom of the first inning. Designated hitter Dillion Nelson hit a three-run home run to give the Hilltoppers a 3-0 lead. Kevin Lambert hit a single, sending Jackson Swiney home to extend the Hilltoppers lead to 4-0.

Charlotte responded with four runs in the top of the second inning. Drew Ober started with a leadoff walk then scored on Austin Lynch’s double down the right field line. Tommy Bullock followed with a two-run home run to left field making it a 4-3 game. Later in the inning, Bullock scored on Carson Johnson’s RBI single into left field tie the game at four.

In the third inning, Western Kentucky added more runs. Swiney knocked a double down the right field line to score Jack Wilson and give the Hilltoppers a 5-4 lead. Then a two-run single up the middle by Lambert scored Matt Phipps and Swiney to extend their lead to 7-4.

In the sixth inning, Nelson hit a sacrifice fly that brought home Davis Sims to give the Hilltoppers an 8-4 lead.

Dalton Shoemake picked up the win in relief for Western Kentucky. Shoemake retired 15 straight batters before giving up a hit to Elwood in the eighth inning.

Game 2: Charlotte 5, Western Kentucky 8

Charlotte (11-15, 3-5 C-USA) lost the second game of the double to Western Kentucky (14-11, 7-1 C-USA) 8-5.

In the second game it was the 49ers who got off to a hot start. In the first inning, Elwood hit a leadoff single to center field. Elwood advanced to second and third on wild pitches. Carson Johnson walked on four pitches. Elwood scored on Bullock’s RBI single to left field to give the 49ers their first lead of the day. Carter Foster hit a two-run double that scored Johnson and Bullock to give the Niners an early 3-0 lead. Dominick Cammarata singled to left as Foster was sent home but called out at the plate.

Western Kentucky put up their first run with a Jake Sanford home run to right field. Ober hit a solo home run to left field, leading off the third inning to push the 49ers lead out to three.

The Hilltoppers responded with a big inning using four runs in the third to take a 5-4 lead. In the fourth inning, the Hilltoppers increased their lead to 6-4 on a Sanford single to right field that scored Ray Zuberer.

In the sixth inning, Austin Lynch walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch to make it a 6-5 game.

Insurance runs came in the seventh and eighth innings for Western Kentucky to secure the victory.

Harris Yett, Elwood and Johnson each had a pair of hits in the game.

The 49ers had 13 hits but stranded 11 on base which includes nine over the final five innings.

“It’s tough to play uphill,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We have to do a better job of finding more consistency moving forward. We had at-bats we didn’t need to have with runners in scoring position. Western Kentucky played really well tonight and we didn’t play up to the standard we needed to.”

Game 3: Charlotte 13, Western Kentucky 13

Charlotte (11-15-1, 3-5-1 C-USA) settled for a 13-13 tie at Western Kentucky (14-11-1, 7-1-1 C-USA) due to travel curfew.

In the second inning, Lambert flied out to right center that scored Wilson to give the Hilltoppers a 1-0 lead. Then McElreath flied out to center field to score Phipps to extend the Hilltoppers lead to 2-0.

In the third inning, Charlotte scored six runs to take a four-run lead. Johnson led off with a one-out walk; then, he was moved to third on Elwood’s double and scored on Yett’s infield single. Ober hit a game-tying single to center field. Rafi Vazquez blasted a three-run home run to right field putting Charlotte up 5-2. Bullock connected on an RBI groundout to short to end the inning with the 49ers having a 6-2 edge.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Zuberer walked with the bases loaded as Swiney scored. Sims was hit by a pitch sending Lambert home. Sanford’s two-run single erased the Niners lead tying the game at 6.

The 49ers took the lead back with a big fifth inning. Tate Pennington and Elwood had important roles in the inning. Pennington reached on an error and Elwood singled to the pitcher scoring three runs. Western Kentucky committed two errors and an RBI single by Vazquez rounded out the five-run inning to give Charlotte an 11-6 advantage.

The Hilltoppers came back with five runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 11. Sanford hit a two-run homer to left-center to give the Hilltoppers their first lead in the seventh.

In the top of the ninth inning, Johnson and Elwood each registered one-out singles to start the inning. Johnson scored on an error by the second baseman to bring the 49ers within one run, 12-13. Cammarata was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, which tied the game at 13.

In the bottom of the ninth, Colby Bruce registered a 1-2-3 inning getting a pop up, strikeout and groundout to end the game.

Sunday was the 49ers first tie since March 2, 2014 with a 5-5 tie at home against Creighton.

“Nobody wants to play to a tie,” head coach Loren Hibbs said. “We had multiple opportunities with the lead multiple times. It would have been nice to get one more run and come away with a win.”

Charlotte loses two out of three against Marshall

Game 1: Charlotte 6, Marshall 12

Marshall (13-7, 3-1 C-USA) started hitting early. In the first inning, Erik Rodriguez hit a lead-off triple on the first pitch of the game. Then, Tucker Linder hit an RBI single up the middle to drive home Rodriguez. Elvis Peralta reached on a fielding error by first baseman Dominick Cammarata to bring home Linder and gave Marshall a 2-0 lead.

In the second inning, Carson Johnson and Tommy Bullock connected on back-to-back one-out singles. Rafi Vazquez hit an RBI double to left to drive home Johnson and bring Charlotte (10-11, 2-2 C-USA) to within one run. Tate Pennington’s groundout to second was a fielder’s choice and sent Bullock home to tie the game at two.

Marshall broke the game open in the fourth inning. Peralta hit a lead-off home run to right center field to take a 3-2 lead. Rey Pastrana walked and Jaren Lovely smacked a single to right field, then Raul Cabrera moved them over on a sacrifice bunt. Geordon Blanton hit a sac fly to score Pastrana and make it a 4-2 ball game. Rodriguez kept the inning alive with a single to right to score Lovely and give the Herd a 5-2 lead. Rodriguez then stole second and third and scored on a Lindor single giving Marshall a 6-2 lead. Shane Hanon closed out the inning with a two-run homer right over the wall in left field as the Herd led 8-2.

49ers starter Carson Pinkney (2-3) left the game with an injury after facing two batters in the fourth.

In the sixth inning, Blanton scored on a two-out wild pitch to give Marshall a 9-2 lead. In the eighth inning, Rodriguez singled home a pair of two-out runs as the Herd led 11-2 heading into the bottom half of the inning.

In the eighth inning, three straight singles loaded the bases for Harris Yett. Yett connected on a grand slam to left field for his fourth home run of the season to get within five runs, 11-6.

In the ninth inning, Pastrana singled home Hanon and Marshall secured the victory with a game-ending double play.

“It’s hard when you’re playing uphill against a team that’s hot like Marshall is,” 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs said. “It makes it pretty difficult. We need to do a better job getting off to a better start tomorrow and give ourselves a chance to manage the game. Marshall’s really hot right now. We knew that coming in. We’re going to have to prepare the right way tomorrow. We’re going to have to step up and play obviously better than we played tonight and get off to a better start.”

Game 2: Charlotte 4, Marshall 5 

In the first inning, Harris Yett smacked a double down the left field line to drive home Todd Elwood and give Charlotte (10-12, 2-3 C-USA) a 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, Drew Ober doubled and scored on Carson Johnson’s RBI single to center field to give the 49ers a 2-0 lead.

Marshall responded with a three-run fourth to take the lead. Elvis Peralta hit a bouncer which starting pitcher Bryce McGowan (2-3) fielded but threw it past the first baseman, allowing one run to score. Rey Pastrana followed with a two-run homer to left field.

In the fifth inning, Tucker Linder connected on an RBI triple that bounced past Ober in left field as he attempted to make a sliding catch.

In the sixth inning, the Niners cut the Herds lead to 4-3 when DH Carter Foster walked with the bases loaded to score Elwood.

Zach Inskeep hit a lead-off home run in the ninth to give Marshall a vital insurance run.

In the bottom of the ninth, the 49ers put their leadoff hitters on first and second. Austin Lynch scored on a throwing error to bring the 49ers within one (5-4) with one out. After a strikeout, reliever Michael Guerrero walked two batters to load the bases before Elwood’s groundout to end the game.

The 49ers left 16 runners on base. They failed to put a runner on base in just one inning.

The Niners left the bases loaded in the fourth, sixth and ninth innings.

“We said yesterday, Marshall’s a hot team,” 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs said. “They took two out of three against FIU last weekend. We have to do some things better with runners in scoring position. We’ll have another opportunity tomorrow.”

Game 3: Charlotte 8, Marshall 5 

Charlotte (11-12, 3-3 C-USA) registered 14 hits in the game and had six different players drive home a run in the comeback win over Marshall (14-8, 4-2 C-USA).

In the top of the first inning, Tucker Linder homered to left field on the first pitch to give Marshall an early 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Todd Elwood scored on an Ober single to right field to tie the game at one.

In the second inning, Raul Cabrera lined out to left field sending Elvis Peralta home to give the Herd a 2-1 lead. In the bottom of the inning, Harris Yett extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a two-run single in the three-run second to put Charlotte ahead, 4-2.

In the third inning, Geordon Blanton scored on a Linder single to left field to pull Marshall to within one run.

Marshall scored another run in the fourth to tie the game. Rey Pastrana’s home run to deep left field in the sixth inning gave the Herd a 5-4 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Charlotte took control of the game. Austin Lynch singled to right field while Yett advanced to third and scored on a fielding error by the right fielder to tie the game at five. Drew Ober scored on a Dominick Cammarata single to give the 49ers a 6-5 lead. Charlotte took a 7-5 lead when Bullock singled to left which scored Cammarata.

In the eighth inning, Charlotte added an insurance run on Lynch’s RBI single to left field.

Colby Bruce threw two scoreless innings to close out the game and earn his third save of the season.

“We had a little more balance in our lineup today and some guys came through in clutch moments,” 49ers head coach Loren Hibbs said. “It was good to see Drew Ober have a good game, Dom got a big hit, good to see Austin Lynch have a good game. We played pretty good defense. Proud of the effort. We put ourselves in position to win and did what we needed to do in the late innings to get the W.”

Charlotte hosts Clemson at BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte on Tuesday, March 27 at 7:05 p.m.

Charlotte splits double header in First Pitch Classic

The 49ers played two games in the First Pitch Classic at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 24 against Youngstown State and South Carolina.

Game 1: Youngstown State 1, Charlotte 9

Youngstown State (0-6) had an early 1-0 lead after a solo home run by Maddi Lusk in the second inning.

In the third inning, Bethany Doty doubled to right field. Emma Ocker extended her hitting streak to six consecutive games with a double to center field. Doty scored on an errant throw from the Penguins centerfielder, tying the game 1-1.

In the fourth inning, Katie Manring hit her second home run of the season to deep left field, giving the 49ers (4-5) a 2-1 lead.

In the fifth inning, Doty was hit by the pitch to lead off the inning, followed by Ocker’s triple and a base-hit from Spenser Gray to give the 49ers a 3-1 lead. Later in the inning, Manring registered a two-run single and Imani Rochelle drove in a run to give Charlotte a 7-1 lead. Bailey Vannoy hit her first career home run as a 49er — a two-run shot — giving the 49ers a 9-1 advantage to end the game.

Freshman Maggie Cannon (1-3) earned her first win of the season and gave up one run on three hits, four walks and two strikeouts.

This was the second run-rule win of the season for Charlotte.

Game 3: South Carolina 9, Charlotte 1

Charlotte (4-6) fell to No. 14 South Carolina (10-2) 9-1 in a run-rule shortened game in five innings.

South Carolina scored their nine runs in the first four innings.

Charlotte scored their only run in the bottom of the fourth. Bailey Vannoy doubled to left center, driving in Lizzy Birch.

The 49ers starter Carson Pace (1-2) only lasted 2.1 innings and gave up seven runs all earned on five hits, a walk and a strikeout.

“Defensively, we were pretty strong early on and obviously we opened up the bats and really had a great attack at the plate,” Coach Aimee DeVos said. “We did an excellent job with runners in scoring position. I really liked what we saw. We had aggressive bats and we were sticking with the plan. For not playing in seven days, we did really well.”

Charlotte will be back in action on Monday, Feb. 25, playing against the Winthrop Eagles. First pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium.

Niners’ comeback not enough against Rice

Charlotte (12-9, 4-5 C-USA) fell to Conference USA leader Rice (17-3, 8-0 C-USA) 61-51 in Houston, Texas on Thursday night. The loss dropped the 49ers road record to 1-8.

The 49ers finished the game with two players in double-figures, sophomore guards Octavia Jett-Wilson and Mariah Linney. Jett-Wilson scored 12 points and Linney added 10 points. Senior Laia Raventós registered eight points to go along with four assists and three steals.

Rice had two players in double-figures, led by Erica Ogwumike who recorded a game-high 22 points to go along with 15 rebounds. The reigning Conference USA player of the week Nancy Mulkey added 18 points.

Rice began the game with a quick 4-0 lead before Raventós found Linney in the corner for a three-pointer at the 8:28 mark, cutting the margin to one. The Owls then went on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to seven points with 6:46 remaining in the first quarter. Linney hit another three to cut the deficit to four points. Three-straight points by Nicole Iademarco widened the deficit back to seven, 13-6, entering the last four minutes. Iademarco’s layup gave the Owls a 17-8 lead with about 2:16 left in the first quarter. The 49ers scored the final seven points in the period to cut the deficit to two at 17-15 at the end of the first quarter.

Jett-Wilson extended the Niner run to nine straight points, causing the only tie in the game at 17-17 with 9:22 remaining in the second quarter. Two straight layups by Mulkey and two free-throws from Ogwumike extended the Owls lead to six. Ka’Neeshia Brown hit a jumper to stop the Owls run. Brown’s jumper started another run for the 49ers, overcoming the deficit and taking its first lead 25-24 with 2:04 remaining in the first half. Rice’s Jasmine Smith banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer, putting Rice in front 27-25 at halftime.

The teams went back-and-forth to start the third quarter. Charlotte was down 34-33 with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter. Mulkey connected on a jumper on Rice’s next possession but a Jazmin Harris layup and a Raventos jumper gave the 49ers a 37-36 lead with 5:03 left. Ogwumike hit a three in the corner at the 3:43 mark, to take the lead back for the Owls. The Owls outscored the 49ers 11-6 over the final 3:43. Rice took a 47-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Owls scored the first six points of the fourth quarter which extended their lead to ten. Linney then took control with a layup, making it a single digit difference again. A Haylee Swayze jumper gave the Owls a ten-point lead, 55-45, with 5:26 left in regulation but the Niners responded with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 55-51 with 3:15 remaining. The Charlotte offense could not convert the rest of the game and the Owls knocked down a jumper and four free throws to extend their lead at the end of the game.

“I thought for the most part in this game our team played very well,” Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra said. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game. The start of the fourth quarter offensively for us was really the difference maker, but at the same time, we didn’t allow that to close the game. We still fought back, we still showed great grit, toughness and just stayed confident throughout the entire game. This was a battle tonight and I think we showed that if we continue to believe in each other and we continue to fight like that, we can have an opportunity to be in every game we play the rest of this year.”

Charlotte will stay in Texas to take on North Texas on Saturday, Feb. 2. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

49ers fall at UTEP

Charlotte (5-15, 2-7 C-USA) executed a late comeback but it was not enough as the 49ers fell to UTEP (7-12, 2-6 C-USA) 57-53 in El Paso, Texas.

The Niners finished the game with two players in double-figures, led by Jon Davis who registered 23 points. Freshman Brandon Younger scored 10 points and added six rebounds.

UTEP had three players in double-figures, led by Evan Gilyard who recorded 13 points. Nigel Hawkins scored 12 points and Paul Thomas added 11 points.

The game started with both teams exchanging baskets in the first several minutes. Efe Odigie’s jumper tied the game at nine with 13:41 remaining in the first half. UTEP scored four straight points to take a 13-9 lead. After Younger hit a three-pointer, UTEP went on a 7-0 run taking a 20-12 advantage with 6:25 left. UTEP’s Kobe Magee made a three-pointer to extend their lead to nine points with 3:07 remaining. Charlotte finished the half with a jumper by Davis and a three-pointer by Jaylan McGill to cut the deficit to 23-19 at halftime.

The 49ers scored the first five points of the second half taking a 24-23 lead when Milos Supica connected on a jumper in the lane at the 17:51 mark. There were several lead changes over the next five minutes. Then UTEP went on a 10-2 run to take a 41-33 lead with 9:31 left. Then the 49ers went on their own 10-2 run tying the game at 43 when Davis knocked down a jumper with 5:07 remaining. Davis scored all 10 of the Niners points during their run. Miner Paul Thomas converted on a three-point play to give UTEP a 46-43 lead with 4:34 left in regulation. UTEP held a six-point lead with 1:29 remaining. Davis hit two free throws and a jumper to bring the 49ers within three points with 42 seconds left. With that jumper Davis scored his 1,900th career point.

UTEP committed a five-second call with 36 seconds remaining. On the Niners next possession Bo Blight made a layup cutting UTEP’s lead to 53-52 with 34 seconds remaining. Davis attacked the baseline and attempted a game-tying layup that was blocked by Jordan Lathon. UTEP made free throws down the stretch to close out the game.

Charlotte shot 38 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range. UTEP shot 36.4 percent from the field and 25 percent from three-point range.

Charlotte outscored UTEP 24-12 in the paint.

“I was proud of the way we fought today,” Charlotte coach, Ron Sanchez said. “We did not quit tonight.”

Charlotte returns to action when the 49ers take on Rice in Halton Arena on Thursday, Jan. 31. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Defense lifts Charlotte to Victory over Louisiana Tech

Charlotte freshman guard Cooper Robb scored a team-high 12 points in the 49ers’ (5-12, 2-4 C-USA) 55-40 victory against Louisiana Tech (13-7, 3-4 C-USA) on Saturday at Halton Arena.

“I’m very happy with our defensive effort tonight as a team. The lesson today for us was we were thankful for what we learned from Thursday and this is a group that is learning and applying the lessons learned,” Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez said. “Thursday, we had a nine-point lead and we lost our way there at the end, and the challenge yesterday when we watched film was what lesson is there for us? We discussed it and they did a great job today because I thought we were in the same spot with about seven minutes left [when] we started to lose our way again and they found a way to stay together. I am really pleased with the overall team effort, the fight and grit.”

Charlotte held Louisiana Tech, who averages 76.1 points per game, to only 40 points which is a season-low scoring output.

Malik Martin added 10 points, Jon Davis recorded nine points and Brandon Younger registered five points and a team-high seven rebounds.

Two Bulldogs reached double-figures in the game. DaQuan Bracey scored 13 points and Mo Muhammed added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Charlotte opened the game with a three-pointer by Robb. The Bulldogs responded with a quick lay-up from Bracey to make it 3-2 with 19:21 left. Another lay-up by Bracey gave the Bulldogs their only lead of the game at 4-3 with 17:53 remaining. The Niners took another lead before the Bulldogs tied the score at nine with 11:36 remaining. Robb answered with a three to extend the lead to 12-9 with 10:12 left.

Jailan Haslem made a lay-up and Davis hit a three-pointer to increase the 49ers lead to six with 6:42 remaining. Louisiana Tech responded with a 5-0 run to cut the margin down to one, 17-16, at the 3:46 mark. Martin hit a three from the corner which capped the 49ers 6-0 run with just over a minute and a half remaining. Louisiana Tech answered with back-to-back lay-ups to cut Charlotte’s halftime lead to 23-20.

Louisiana Tech started the second half with a three-pointer to tie the game at 23. Milos Supica scored six points as part of a 9-3 run to open the second half and the 49ers were up 32-23 with 16:16 remaining. Louisiana Tech cut the margin down to three on three consecutive lay-ups from Muhammed with 14:03 left. Younger hit a three in front of the 49ers bench to end the Bulldogs run. Louisiana Tech got as close as 37-33 after Younger’s jumper, then went 11 minutes without a field goal as Charlotte stretched its lead to 51-38 with 1:53 remaining. Davis and Jaylan McGill made two free throws each to secure the victory for Charlotte.

The Niners outscored the Bulldogs 18-12 in the paint in the second half and converted 13 points off 15 Louisiana Tech turnovers.

Charlotte shot 44 percent from the field. Louisiana Tech shot 28 percent from the field and 1-for-23 from three-point range (four percent).

The 49ers face Old Dominion in Halton Arena on Monday, Jan. 21. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

Charlotte defeats FAU to earn first conference victory

The Charlotte 49ers (4-11, 1-3 C-USA) won their first Conference USA game and their first road game of the season against Florida Atlantic (11-5, 2-2) 65-60. The 49ers snapped a six-game losing streak.

“We did a good job sharing the ball,” Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez said. “Defensively, we had a lot of defensive stops. The key to getting the victory today was our defense. We made some shots. Jon’s efficiency today was the best that I have seen. He controlled the game.”

The Niners had three double-figure scorers. Jon Davis led the way with 24 points, a career-high nine rebounds and four assists. Jaylan McGill made 4-of-5 three-pointers and scored 12 points. Brandon Younger recorded 10 points to go with three rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Florida Atlantic had three players in double-figures with Xavian Stapleton scoring 17 points, Anthony Adger registering 15 points and Michael Forrest adding 13 points.

The game started with both teams exchanging baskets in the first seven minutes. Florida Atlantic went on a 7-0 run taking an 11-9 lead with 13:31 remaining in the first half. The 49ers responded with six straight points by Davis to give the 49ers a 15-11 lead at the 8:53 mark.

McGill hit a three with 7:23 remaining to give the Niners a five-point lead. The Owls went on an 8-0 run to take a 21-18 lead with 3:34 left in the first half. Five straight points by Bo Blight and a free throw by Dravon Mangum gave Charlotte a 24-21 lead with 38 seconds left in the half. Adger made a three-pointer with two seconds left to tie the score at 24 at halftime.

Florida Atlantic went on a run to start the second half. The Owls scored seven of the second half’s first nine points to take a 31-26 lead with 17:21 remaining in the second half. Charlotte went on a 15-5 run to take a 41-36 lead on a three by McGill at the 13:34 mark. Younger gave the 49ers a 48-46 lead with 7:12 remaining in the second half.

The Niners started a 15-3 run after Younger’s basket as Charlotte took control of the game. Charlotte held a double-figure lead until the Owls hit three consecutive threes to cut the 49ers final margin of victory.

The 49ers shot 50 percent from the field and shot 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range against the Owls. The 49ers held the Owls to 33.3 percent shooting from the field.

Charlotte returns to Halton Arena to face Southern Mississippi on Thursday, Jan. 17. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

Defense propels Charlotte in win over East Carolina

Charlotte’s (5-1) lock down defense held East Carolina (5-2) to 26.5 percent shooting and outrebounded the Pirates by 20 in a 52-46 victory.

Redshirt junior Jade Phillips led the 49ers to their third consecutive win with her second consecutive double-double. Phillips registered 10 points and 11 rebounds. Senior Laia Raventós scored a game-high 15 points along with six assists and three steals.

Justice Gee was the Pirates leading scorer with 12 points while Raven Johnson pulled down nine rebounds.

Charlotte started scoring early with a quick 11-0 run in the first eight minutes. The 49ers run began with a three-point play from freshman Jazmin Harris. Free throws from Harris and Raventós extended the lead to 8-0 with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter. East Carolina tried to end their shooting drought but were denied because of a Dara Pearson block. The Pirates ended their drought on their next possession with a three-pointer from Jade Lewis. The Pirates finished the quarter on a 4-0 run to make it 13-7 after the first quarter.

East Carolina started the second quarter with a full court press which tested the 49ers. Charlotte committed seven turnovers in the quarter. The Pirates used their defense to keep their momentum on the offensive end. Necole Hope and Gee hit threes to tie the score at 13 with 9:33 remaining. The Niners then went on a 10-2 run over the next three minutes. Raventós scored 6 of the 49ers points during that stretch, as the 49ers lead blossomed to an eight point lead at 23-15. Sophomore Octavia Jett-Wilson’s layup helped Charlotte close the half on a 6-0 run which expanded their lead to 32-21 at halftime.

A Raventós layup brought the lead to 12 before the Pirates made another run. Two Johnson free-throws started a 6-0 run to cut the margin down to six. Phillips made back-to-back layups extending the lead back to 10 points. Gee responded with a layup and a three-pointer to bring the Pirates within five with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter. Charlotte closed the quarter on a strong note defensively by not allowing the Pirates to score again in the quarter. The 49ers scored five-straight points to take a 46-36 lead at the end of the third quarter.

East Carolina’s defense got them back in the game in the final quarter. Layups from senior Ka’Neeshia Brown and junior Lauren Harley added to Charlotte’s total in the first six-plus minutes. The Pirates used a 10-4 run to cut the deficit to four with 4:56 remaining. Raventós scored the game’s final bucket with 3:17 remaining which secured the win for the 49ers.

Charlotte committed 18 turnovers and the Pirates scored 24 points off those turnovers.

“I am extremely proud of the team,” Coach Cara Consuegra said. “Right now for us, offensively, we haven’t clicked yet. We are going to, and when we do, we are going to be an extremely good team. Until that happens, we are learning how to be a defensive team and that’s what I am so proud about.”

Charlotte will face Wake Forest on Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

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.