CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Led behind the balanced scoring of four players in double figures, the Charlotte 49ers (16-3, A-10: 4-1) gave Xavier (11-7, A-10: 4-1) their first loss in the A-10 with a 63-57 win in Halton Arena.
"It was an extremely physical game." Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "Xavier has been the standard in the Atlantic 10 and it is great to get victory over Xavier tonight. It was a hard fought typical Atlantic 10 game."
Charlotte was led by freshman Willie Clayton who finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. Clayton was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field. Junior DeMario Mayfield, who made his first start of the season, finished with 13 points for his seventh consecutive double-figure scoring game. Senior Chris Braswell and freshman Denzel Ingram recorded 12 points each. Ingram scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. It was the seventh time this season that the 49ers had four players in double digits in scoring.
Darion Clark gave the 49ers quality minutes with six points, six rebounds and four blocked shots.
The Niners' all-around team performance included shooting 50 percent (22-for-44) from the field, 13 assists and a season-high nine blocks. Charlotte held Xavier to a 38.6 percent (25-for-68) shooting from the field. However, the Musketeers took a 44-33 advantage in rebounds.
Both teams battled back and forth in the opening minutes of the second half until Charlotte finally broke loose and went on a 10-2 scoring run with just under 11 minutes left to lift it to a 49-39 lead, it largest of the game with 8:18 remaining.
The Musketeers got within reach of Charlotte's lead following a pair of free throw shots with 5:46 left to slicing Charlotte's advantage to 50-46. Mayfield scored five straight points to push the 49ers lead to 55-46 with 2:50 left in the game. A jumper from Travis Taylor cut Charlotte's lead to 56-51 with 1:58 left but the Niners remained in control to finish the game.
The Niners' offense sparked late in the first half causing them to take a 28-27 lead at halftime. Xavier took its largest lead of the half, 15-9 at the 7:50 mark but Charlotte turned things around and enjoyed a quick 5-0 run that began with a layup from Mayfield. The run was capped off by a 3-pointer from Ingram with 3:22 remaining that gave the 49ers the 23-22 lead, its first since the 15:21 mark of the first half.
Charlotte's lead didn't last long as the Musketeers answered with a layup to retake the lead, 24-23. Pierria Henry quickly responded with a clutch floater in the paint, just before the shot clock expired to push the Niners to a 25-24 advantage with 2:16 remaining. Both teams turned to the long ball and Xavier capitalized first with a 3-pointer with 1:52 left to take a 27-25 lead. However it was Ingram who hit a 3-pointer to top Xavier 28-27 to close out the half.
Xavier was led by Taylor who recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Semaj Christon also tallied 18 points.
Charlotte returns to the road when they play George Washington on the road, Saturday, January 26 at 2 pm.