CHARLOTTE, NC - In the 40th meeting between Charlotte and Davidson the action did not falter as Davidson took the Hornet’s Nest Trophy with a 87-78 overtime victory Wednesday night, despite five Niners scored in double figures.
The 49ers, which played the game without starting point guard Pierria Henry who did not play due to a bone bruise in his left knee, were led in scoring by Terrence Williams with 17 points. Williams also had seven rebounds. Willie Clayton recorded his sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Ben Cherry scored 14 points. Shawn Lester scored 13 points. Denzel Ingram scored 10 points and dished out five assists with zero turnovers.
Charlotte started off the game by scoring the first four points with baskets Willie Clayton and Terrence Williams. Davidson came roaring back with a 5-0 run of its own. Ben Cherry tied the game up with a jumper at the top of the key to make it score 8-all.
The first half featured seven ties and five lead changes. Charlotte’s largest lead came at the 18:59 mark taking the 4-0 lead. Both teams fought back and forth throughout most of the half with no team leading by more than one possession.
Davidson took the largest lead of the half with 3:38 remaining taking a six point lead 32-26.
Shawn Lester hits two of three free throws after being fouled behind the arc to pull the 49ers to within two at 32-30 with 2:46 on the clock. Williams gets fouled and converts two from the line tying the score at 32 with 2:13 remaining in the half.
With time running down on the clock Denzel Ingram swings the ball to Lester with five seconds remaining in the half. Lester drains 35-footer for three to tie the game at 37-37. Davidson’s Jack Gibbs throws up a prayer at the buzzer from half-court and nails it to give Davidson a 40-37 lead into the half.
Williams led the 49ers with nine points. Lester added seven, while Clayton and Ingram net six apiece. Charlotte outrebounded Davidson in the first half 18-10. Both teams shot above 50% from the field in the half.
“We have to give Davidson a lot of credit. They came in very aggressive and shot the ball well,” said Charlotte Coach Alan Major.
Charlotte came out of the half physical getting Davidson into early foul trouble. Clayton gets a dish inside for the lay-up and is fouled on the play for an and-one opportunity. Clayton sinks it from the charity stripe to tie things again at 40 apiece.
Three minutes into the second half, Charlotte’s offense became physical down low getting Davidson into more foul trouble. Five Davidson fouls were called on the 49ers’ offensive trip down the floor. Clayton capped off the possession with hitting the front-end of a one-and-one.
The Wildcats once again widen the lead out to six before Cherry hits a trey from the left wing to cut the lead to three.
Down by five, Mike Thorne Jr. received a dish from Clayton near the baseline. Thorne Jr. played above the rim for an emphatic dunk with 12:16 on the clock.
Davidson again did not let the 49ers get too comfortable getting out to a nine point lead with 10:42 remaining on the clock.
Charlotte uses a 10-0 run to get back into the game to take the lead with 8:00 remaining in the half at 64-63. Mike Thorne Jr. hits a pair of free throws followed by two jumpers by Lester. Davidson tries to silence the momentum with a timeout. Denzel Ingram picks the pocket of a Wildcat defender and relays it up to the floor to Cherry for an easy fast break lay-up.
“We went through different spurts where we were energized and seemed to be in the zone,” said Denzel Ingram.
Williams stops the Wildcat attack with a steal of his own and gets fouled inside the paint. Williams sinks both shots from the charity stripe. On the ensuing 49er possession Williams drives the lane and draws the foul sinking the lay-up and the free throw to take a 67-65 lead.
Davidson seemed to go cold from the floor missing back-to-back threes with less than seven minutes to play. Charlotte maintained a one possession lead before Davidson’s Gibbs hit a three from the right baseline to tie things at 71-71 with 2:53 remaining in the game.
Davidson regained the lead with 1:50 remaining in the half at 74-71 after a three. After Williams hits a free throw to cut the lead to 74-72. The 49er defense kept the Wildcats from getting a shot off and creating a shot clock violation.
Clayton ties things at 74-74 sinking two free throws with 44 seconds remaining. Davidson held the ball with twenty seconds remaining to try and sink the last second shot, but the three by Chris Czerapowicz hit the back iron and Lester grabbed the board.
Coach Alan Major calls a timeout with seven seconds remaining in the second half to draw up the final play. Cherry and Clayton had looks at it but could not get a shot to fall.
“To have the ball in your hands and two cracks at it to win it, sometimes they go your way and sometimes they don’t and it didn’t tonight,” said Major.
One cannot call it a rivalry without overtime and the score tied at 74-74.
Davidson’s Jordan Barham goes to the rim and converts the and-one sending Clayton to the bench with his fifth foul and Charlotte down by three. The Wildcats took a seven point lead with less than two minutes to play in overtime with wide open lay-ups by Barham and Tyler Kalinoski.
With 1:11 remaining in the period, Ingram converts two from the charity stripe to keep the Niners in the game. But the Wildcats offense was too strong pushing the lead back to seven.
“I thought Denzel Ingram did a great job offensively with five assists and no turnovers in 42 minutes,” Major said.
Davidson outscored Charlotte 13-4 in the overtime period to hand Charlotte its second loss of the season and captures the Hornet’s Nest Trophy for only the twelfth time.
Charlotte will hit the court again on Sunday, December 8 against Appalachian State in Boone, N.C. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 pm and will be broadcast on WCCB.