The Charlotte 49ers (7-3) begin a three-game home stand with a game against USC Upstate (6-5) in Halton Arena, Saturday, December 21 at 7 pm.
Shawn Lester has scored in double-figures in nine of Charlotte’s ten games this season. Lester (14.6 ppg) leads the 49ers in scoring. Willie Clayton (11.9 ppg), Pierria Henry (11.9 ppg), Mike Thorne (11.7 ppg) and Terrence Williams (11.0 ppg) round out the 49ers double-figure scorers. Henry leads Conference USA in steals per game at 3.00. Clayton is fourth in the nation with seven double-doubles this season. Clayton is third in Conference in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game. Thorne is ninth in Conference USA in rebounding at 7.7 boards per game. Cherry has knocked down 16 threes in the last seven games. Marcus Bryan has given the 49ers solid production off the bench this season so far.
Saturday’s game will mark the first-ever meeting between Charlotte and USC Upstate, who is a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The 49ers are 23-17 all-time against teams from the Atlantic Sun. Charlotte defeated Atlantic Sun foe ETSU, 80-75, in their home opener this season.
OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS - Since Willie Clayton joined the 49ers program, Charlotte has had more offensive rebounds than their opponent 25 times over his 43 game career. This season, Clayton averages 5.1 offensive rebounds per game. Comments by Michigan Coach John Beilein on Clayton’s offensive rebounding: “I don’t know if I’ve seen a better offensive rebounder in all these years. That kid (Willie Clayton) is unbelievable.”
NCAA STATISTICS - Willie Clayton is fourth in the NCAA in double-doubles with seven. Clayton ranks 10th in the NCAA in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game. He is third in Conference USA in rebounding and first in offensive rebounds per game (5.1 off. rpg). Pierria Henry ranks fifth in the NCAA and leads Conference USA in steals per game (3.00)
REGULAR-SEASON TOURNAMENTS - Charlotte captured the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title with wins over 2013 Big 12 regular-season champs Kansas State (W, 68-61), 2013 CAA regular-season champs Northeastern (W, 86-77) and 2013 National Runner-Up 13th-ranked Michigan (W, 63-61). The 49ers are 66-48 all-time in regular-season tournaments. Last season, the 49ers captured the Great Alaska Shootout title. Charlotte has now captured 18 regular-season tournament titles. The 49ers won three games to capture the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title and the 2012 Great Alaska Shootout title which marks the only two times in school history that the 49ers have won three games to capture a regular-season tournament title. . Prior to winning the Great Alaska Shootout title, the 49ers’ last tournament title was the 2004 Cable Car Classic.
vs. National Title Game Participants - Charlotte defeated 2013 National Runner-Up Michigan, 63-61, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title game (November 24). This marked the seventh time that the 49ers have played a participant in the NCAA Tournament Championship game the season after their appearance. Charlotte is 2-5 against those teams. Charlotte defeated 2003 National Champion Syracuse on the road (96-92), November 26, 2003. Charlotte lost to 2002 NCAA Runner-Up Indian on the road, 70-60, January 4, 2003. Charlotte lost to 1991 National Champs Duke on the road, 104-82, January 18, 1992. The 49ers lost to 1990 National Runner-up Duke on the road, 111-94, December 1, 1990. The 49ers lost to 1983 National Champ NC State, 79-60, December 2, 1983. Then, the 49ers lost to 1974 National Champs NC State, 103-80, March 3, 1975.
PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM - Shawn Lester was named to the All-Tournament team after scoring 38 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in helping the 49ers capture the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title. Lester scored 20 points off the bench in the 49ers Puerto Rico Tip-Off semifinals victory over Northeastern (November 22).
overtime - The 49ers lost to Davidson, 87-78, in overtime (December 4). This marked the 49ers first overtime games this season. The 49ers are now 27-35 all-time in overtime games. Charlotte has now played at least one overtime game in each of the last six seasons. Charlotte played in a school-record five overtime games during the 2010-11 season. The last two times that Charlotte has played Appalachian State on the road the game has gone to multiple overtimes. In the last meeting in Boone, Charlotte lost to Appalachian State, 87-84, in double overtime, November 19, 2008. Then, Charlotte lost to Appalachian State, 103-11, in triple overtime, November 25, 2002.
SEASON OPENER - The 49ers are 3-1 in season-openers under Major (W, 80-75 ETSU this season, W, 68-58 over Charleston Southern last season; W, 73-57 over North Carolina Central in 2011-12 and L, 78-70 v. Gardner-Webb in 2010-11). Charlotte is 34-15 overall in season openers and 36-13 in their first home game of the season. This marked the 32nd season that the 49ers have opened the season at home -- they are 23-9 in true home openers, with wins in eight of their last nine home openers.
CONFERENCE USA HIstory - The 49ers, who were an original member of Conference USA from 1995-2005, have returned to the league after spending the last eight years in the Atlantic 10. During the 49ers time in Conference USA, Charlotte captured two Conference USA Tournament titles (1999 and 2001) and a share of the 2004 Conference USA regular-season title. During the 49ers 10 years in Conference USA, Charlotte made seven trips to the NCAA Tournament and one trip to the NIT. The 49ers compiled an overall record of 191-117 and a Conference USA record of 99-57 from 1995-2005. Six times the 49ers won 20 games during their previous time in Conference USA. Two former 49ers standouts (DeMarco Johnson - 1998 and Eddie Basden - 2005) were named Conference USA Player of the Year. Former 49ers coach Melvin Watkins was named Conference USA Coach of the Year in 1997. Basden earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors twice (2004 and 2005). Rodney White was the 2001 Conference USA Freshman of the Year. Seven different 49ers earned first-team All-Conference USA honors. Galen Young was named Conference USA Tournament MVP in 1999 and Rodney White was named Conference USA Tournament MVP in 2001.
POINTS IN THE PAINT - The 49ers outscored ETSU, 38-32, College of Charleston, 42-28, Elon 42-28 and UNC Asheville 38-22 in the paint. In the Michigan game, each team scored 22 points in the paint. Charlotte outscored Appalachian State 54-28 on points in the pain. The 49ers 54 points in the paint were the most points that the 49ers have scored in the paint since scoring 56 points in a 95-66 win over Gardner-Webb, December 12, 2009. Charlotte has now outscored their opponents on points in the paint 32 times in the last 43 games.
Double-Doubles - Charlotte recorded 12 double-doubles last season. This season, the 49ers have nine doubles-doubles already. Willie Clayton has an NCAA leading seven double-doubles this season. Clayton recorded the 49ers first double-double this season with 19 points and 13 rebounds at the College of Charleston (November 12). Clayton recorded his second consecutive double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds against Elon (November 15). Shawn Lester recorded his first career double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds against Elon (November 15). Willie Clayton recorded his third straight double-doubles with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State (November 21). Mike Thorne recorded his first career double-double with 16 points and a career 11 rebounds against Kansas State. Clayton recorded a double-double with 10 points and 15 rebounds against Michigan (November 24). Clayton scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against UNC Asheville (December 1). Clayton recorded his sixth double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds against Davidson (December 4). Clayton scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds at Appalachian State (December 8).
49ERS IN THE NATIONAL POLL - After the 49ers 6-1 start and victories over Kansas State, Northeastern and 13th-ranked Michigan to capture the Puerto Rico Tip-Off title, Charlotte received votes in both the AP and Coaches Poll for two straight weeks (November 25 and December 2). The last time the 49ers received votes in both the AP and Coaches Poll in the same week prior to this season was December 21, 2009. The last time the 49ers received votes in the AP Poll, February 8, 2010. The last time the 49ers received votes in the Coaches Poll, February 15, 2010. The last time the 49ers were ranked in the AP Poll was March 8, 2005 where the 49ers were ranked 25th. During the 1997-98 season, the 49ers were ranked 17th in the AP Poll which is the highest ranking in school history.
STARTING GUARDS - Pierria Henry has been the 49ers starting point guard the last three years. Here are the 49ers four-year starting guards that Henry could join, with Keith Williams the only true four-year point guard:
Chad Kinch, 1977-80; Phil Ward, 1979-82; Keith Williams, 1984-87; Henry Williams, 1989-92; Jobey Thomas, 1999-02