|Niners Knock Xavier "White" Out, 66-62|
On a night when Niner Nation poured out in all white for the 49ers "WHITE-OUT" game vs. Xavier, Charlotte handed the Musketeers their first league loss, 66-62. It was the 150th all-time win at Halton Arena for the 49ers, who at once snapped their own four-game losing streak and stopped Xavier's seven-game win streak.
"It was a classic team effort," said 49ers head coach Alan Major, who saw contributions throughout his eight-man lineup, including several hustle plays. "Ultimately, we want that to be who we are."
Who it was was a team that grinded out a four-point win over a Xavier team that sat atop the A-10 Conference with a perfect 7-0 league mark.
Charlotte (10-12; A-10 2-6) trailed by as many as 12 early in the first half but battled back to secure a two-point halftime lead, 29-27. The second half swayed back and forth with Xavier erasing a six-point deficit to take a four-point lead, 43-39 with 11:56 to play only to watch Charlotte run off a season-best 13 straight points to take a nine-point, 52-43 lead with 7:53 to play.
Xavier (15-6; A-10 7-1) would never regain the lead, getting as close as four points in the final minute only to see Charlotte hit 6-of-6 free throws in the final 35 seconds to ice the win.
Junior guard Derrio Green, who ranks fourth in the A-10 in free throws shooting, led the 49ers with 17 points, including 10-of-10 shooting from the foul line. He was 6-of-6 from the line in the final 2:58. Junior Javarris Barnett added 13 points by hitting 3-of-6 three-pointers and sophomore Chris Braswell scored 12 points. Mark Lyons led Xavier with 25 points while Jamel McLean added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Each of the 49ers who played, scored, including Gokhan Sirin, who played just two minutes, but hit a three-pointer to cap the 49ers decisive 13-0 run. Deuce Briscoe and Charles Dewhurst led the 49ers with six rebounds apiece.
"It's a credit to these kids," added Major. "These guys continued to fight and scrap. We've knocked on the door -- and you have to at least be in the fight to win the fight."
Charlotte notched its 150th all-time win in 15-year old Halton Arena. Charlotte improved to 6-3 at home and beat Xavier for the second time in their last three trips to Halton. The comeback from a 12-point first-half defict is the 49ers third largest comeback of the year. They trailed Georgia Tech by 14 in the first half and Wright state by 14 in the second half before rallying to victories.
"Halton Arena's an amazing place," Major said.
Xavier, which ranked third in the A-10 with a .460 field goal pct., shot .386 from the field while Charlotte shot .391. The 49ers, who lead the A-10 in three-point field goal defense, hit 40% of their three pointers while limiting Xavier to 3-of-20 shooting (.150) from long range. Xavier enjoyed a 34-30 rebounding advantage and the two teams both had 11 turnovers. This was the first game since the win over #7/#7 Tennessee, Dec. 17, that Charlotte did not had more turnovers than its opponent.
Charlotte improved to 7-1 when holding its opponent under 40% shooting and 8-1 when holding an opponent under 65 points.
Charlotte returns to Halton, Saturday, as the 49ers host George Washington in their annual Homecoming Game. Game time is 2:00 p.m.