San Juan, Puerto Rico - The Charlotte 49ers (4-1) play #13/#14 Michigan (4-1) in the Championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Sunday, November 24 at 6:30 pm. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
In the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Charlotte defeated Kansas State, 68-61, in their first game, November 21. The 49ers had five players in double-figures led by Mike Thorne’s 16 points and 11 rebounds and Willie Clayton’s 10 points and 10 rebounds. Pierria Henry nearly recorded a triple-double with 10 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Then, the 49ers defeated Northeastern, 86-77, in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off semifinals, November 22. Shawn Lester led six 49ers in double-figures with 20 points. Ben Cherry knocked down six threes for 18 points. Terrence Williams scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half.
Thorne, Henry and Lester have all scored in double-figures in each of the 49ers first five games. Lester, Henry and Thorne rank among Conference USA leaders in scoring. Henry leads Conference USA in steals per game at 3.40. Clayton has three double-doubles this season. Clayton is sixth in Conference USA in rebounding at 9.2 boards per game. Marcus Bryan has given the 49ers solid production off the bench this season so far.
Sunday’s championship game appearance will mark the second consecutive season that the 49ers have reached the Championship game of a regular-season tournament. Last season, the 49ers won the Great Alaska Shootout title. Charlotte has captured 17 regular-season tournament titles in school history.
Sunday’s game against Michigan will mark the second ever meeting between the two teams. Charlotte defeated Michigan, 75-68, in their only other meeting which came in the 1977 Mideast Regional Final in Lexington, Kentucky, March 19, 1977. Cedric Maxwell led the 49ers with 25 points and 13 rebounds. Lew Massey scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in that game.