The Charlotte 49ers (8-3) play ACC foe Georgia Tech (8-4) in Halton Arena in a national TV broadcast on Fox Sports 1, Sunday, December 29 at 7 pm.
Charlotte defeated USC Upstate, 81-76, in their last game which came in Halton Arena, December 21. Ben Cherry went 6-for-8 from beyond the three-point line en route to scoring a career-high 20 points. Willie Clayton, Terrence Williams and Shawn Lester each scored 13 points apiece. Denzel Ingram scored nine points. Pierria Henry dished out eight assists.
Lester has scored in double-figures in 10 of Charlotte’s 11 games this season. Lester (14.5 ppg) leads the 49ers in scoring. Clayton (12.0 ppg), Williams (11.2 ppg), Henry (11.0 ppg) and Mike Thorne (11.0 ppg) round out the 49ers double-figure scorers. Henry leads Conference USA in steals per game at 2.60. Clayton is second in Conference in rebounding at 9.6 boards per game. Thorne is 13th in Conference USA in rebounding at 7.5 boards per game. Cherry has knocked down 22 threes in the last eight games. Cherry leads Conference in three-point field goal percentage (51/2%). Clayton leads Conference in field goal percentage (63.2%). Marcus Bryan has given the 49ers solid production off the bench this season so far.
Georgia Tech has four players averaging double-figures led by Trae Golden’s 12.3 points per game. Robert Carter leads Georgia Tech in rebounding at 9.4 rebounds per game. Carter also averages 10.5 points per game.
Sunday’s game will mark the eighth meeting between Charlotte and Georgia Tech, who leads the all-time series, 6-1. Charlotte defeated Georgia Tech, 86-83, in double overtime on the road in their last meeting, January 2, 2011. Former Niner Derrio Green led the 49ers with 21 points and nine assists in the game.
OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS - Since Willie Clayton joined the 49ers program, Charlotte has had more offensive rebounds than their opponent 25 times over his 44 game career. This season, Clayton averages 5.0 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.”
STATISTICAL LEADERS - Willie Clayton is fourth in the NCAA in double-doubles with seven. He is second in Conference USA in rebounding (9.6 rpg) and and first offensive rebounds per game (5.0 off. rpg). Pierria Henry leads Conference USA in steals per game (2.60 spg). Ben Cherry leads Conference USA in three-point field goal percentage (51.2%).
SHOOTING 60% FROM THE FIELD - Charlotte was 19-for-31 from the field for 61.3% in the first half of the 49ers win over USC Upstate (December 21). This marked the second time this season that the 49ers have shot over 60% in a half. The 49ers went 16-for-26 from the field for 61.5% in their win over Elon (November 15).
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 time Charlotte played Georgia Tech, the 49ers defeated Georgia Tech, 86-83, in double overtime, January 2, 2011.
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 44 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