Charlotte, NC - Behind five double-figure scorers and an 18-0 run late in the second half, the Charlotte 49ers (2-1) defeated preseason Southern Conference favorite Elon (2-1), 83-69, in Halton Arena.
“You have to take your hats off to Elon they are a quality team,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “This was a great win for us. I was really pleased with how we finished the game.”
Shawn Lester led all scorers with 24 points off the bench. Lester scored 10 points in the first half and 14 points in the second half. Lester also recorded his first career double-double with 11 rebounds. Terrence Williams scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Mike Thorne scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Pierria Henry with another solid all-around game with 13 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. Willie Clayton recorded his second straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
“Shawn gives us great pop off the bench,” Major said.
Charlotte’s bench behind the scoring of Lester finished the game with a 27-8 advantage in points. Charlotte finished the game with a 42-28 advantage on the points in the paint. The 49ers outrebounded Elon 47-26.
The game started off sluggish with neither team able to get into any rhythm. With the game tied at four with 14:20 left in the half, Elon went on a 14-2 run over the next four minutes taking an 18-6 lead when Tanner Samson knocked down a three with 10:38 left in the half.
Then, Charlotte went on an 11-0 run over the next two and half minutes cutting Elon’s lead to 18-17 when Henry knocked down a jump shot in the lane with 8:03 on the clock. Lester scored five points and Henry scored four points during the 49ers run.
Elon scored six unanswered points pushing their lead to 23-17 with 6:14 on the clock. Charlotte behind the scoring of Lester and Clayton scored six straight points tying the score for the second time at 23 with 3:55 on the clock.
With Elon leading 27-25 with 2:36 on the clock, Charlotte behind the scoring of Thorne, Lester and Williams scored seven straight points taking a 32-27 lead with 1:17 left in the half. Elon closed out the half on a 5-0 run tying the score at 32.
The lead exchanged hands several times over the first five and half minutes of the second half. With the score tied at 43, Elon scored five straight points taking a 48-43 lead with 13:40 on the clock. Elon maintained a lead of 2-6 points until baskets by Lester and Clayton and a three-point play by Thorne gave the 49ers a 57-56 lead with 6:53 on the clock.
Then, Elon regained the lead. With Elon leading 62-58 with 5:16 on the clock, the 49ers went on an 18-0 run over the next three minutes taking a 76-62 lead when Williams scored inside with 2:01 on the clock. Lester scored seven points during the 49ers run. Henry, Williams and Thorne also scored during the run.
Charlotte clinched the victory with timely free throw shooting by Williams and Henry over the final two minutes.
Charlotte returns to action when they play Kansas State in the first game of the Puerto Rico-Tipoff in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday, November 21 at 10:30 am.