Kayvon Ezami

Host of Back Booth Sports Radio Show on radiofreecharlotte.com. I also do Play by Play for UNCC Men's and Women's basketball.

49ers lose in a thriller to UTSA

Jailan Haslem, Austin Ajukwa and Najee Garvin on the bench. Photo by Chris Crews

Andrien White led Charlotte (5-20, 1-13 C-USA) with 25 points, six rebounds, and four  assists but they were unable to knock off UT San Antonio (15-12, 8-6 C-USA), falling 97-89 in overtime.

Charlotte had three players in double figures: White, Jon Davis and Luka Vasic.  Davis had 19 points, six rebounds and eight assists.  Vasic added 13 points and led both teams in rebounding with 11.  Austin Ajukwa and Milos Supica gave Charlotte eight points each off the bench.

“I have been disappointed in the way I have been shooting the ball, so I have been putting more time in the gym,” Vasic said after shooting 50 percent from the field.

Coach Houston Fancher commended Vasic’s efforts after the game.

“Vasic was given nothing, he earned everything,” Fancher said.

UTSA freshman Jhivvan Jackson was superb once again.  UTSA had four players in double digits, Jackson led all scorers with 30 points, including a couple daggers in overtime to put the game away for his team.  Keaton Wallace, also a freshman, added 17 points for UTSA.  Wallace shot 5-5 from three point area and 6-7 overall, only missing one shot.  Byron Frohnen added 15 points and Deon Lyle contributed 11 points off the bench.

The 49ers won the rebound battle, out rebounding UTSA 38 to 30.  Charlotte also had two less turnovers than UTSA.

“We won the rebound and turnover battle which is a good step in the right direction, but we gave up too many easy layups,” Fancher said.

With 10.2 seconds remaining in the game, White converted a three point play after getting fouled while making a layup.  That put Charlotte up 2 points.  Then Jhivvan Jackson came down and made a fade-way shot with 2 seconds left on clock to tie the game up.  With those 2 seconds remaining Davis got off a really good look from half-court but eventually came up short.

In overtime the 49ers went 0-4 from the field, and only scored five points from free throws.  UTSA went 5-6 from the field in overtime, scoring 13 points and eventually propelling to a 97-89 win.

Charlotte now has four games remaining, with the next one being on the road at Western Kentucky on Thursday Feb. 22.  Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.

National Signing Day brings four new Niners

Players run on to the field. Photo by Chris Crews

Brad Lambert and the Charlotte 49ers finalized the 2018 recruiting class on National Signing Day, Feb. 7. Lambert recruited four more players to join the 18 that were recruited on Dec. 20.  The new additions to the program consist of a wide receiver, defensive tackle, linebacker and placekicker. The 22 players that make up this recruiting class now entail eight offensive and defensive linemen, six receivers/tight ends, three defensive backs, two linebackers, a quarterback, running back and placekicker.

Lambert wanted to add “length and depth” to this team and that’s what he was able to do by bringing in the 8 offensive and defensive linemen. Coach Lambert is thrilled to complete this class today.

“It’s always an exciting time-whether it’s in December or February. It’s an exciting time to ink the new guys and officially get them into your program. Some of our guys are already on campus and we’re excited to be working with them and can’t wait for the new guys to get here in the summer,” Lambert said.

Charlotte 49er fans should be excited too, now that three-star defensive back Dantrell Barkley has officially signed with the team.

Barkley, a three-star junior college transfer, is a 6-foot-4 and 285 lbs defensive back. In September, Barkley de-committed from the University of South Carolina.  Barkley went to A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis, N.C. and then went to Independence Community College in Kansas where he started to receive national attention.  Barkley was ranked in the top 10 nationally for his position among community college transfers.

Tyler Ringwood, a 6-foot-3, 221 lb wide receiver started his college career at the University of Buffalo.  He then transferred to Erie Community College where he led the team with 696 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.  He would consistently grabbed attention from the opposing team’s best cornerback, yet still managed to average 77.3 yards per game and posting 100 plus yards in three of those games.

B.J. Turner, a 6-foot-1, 208 lb linebacker out of Greensboro, N.C. was the Metro 4A Conference Player of the Year. In his senior season, he led Metro 4A conference with 127 tackles and 27.5 tackles for lost.

Jonathan Cruz, a 5-foot-9, 135 lb kicker from Cartersville, Georgia, received five stars with a field goal rating of 99 from National Camp Series after representing Team Jackson at the 2016 South Region Event. Cruz helped lead his high school team to an 11-1 record his senior year, going 72-of-72 in PAT attempts, 6-of-8 in FGA with a long of 55 yards, and scored 90 points.

Some of the December recruits can be seen in action during the annual Spring Game. The 49ers first game of the 2018 season is Sept. 1 when they host Fordham.