Hattiesburg, Miss. – Shawn Lester led three 49ers in double-figures with 20 points, however, Charlotte (14-9, C-USA: 5-5) fell to Southern Miss (21-3, C-USA: 8-1), 81-64, on the road.
Lester’s 20-point performance was his fourth 20-point performance of the season and his 17th double-figure scoring game of the year. Lester connected on four three-point field goals. Pierria Henry recorded his 17th double-figure scoring game with 11 points. Willie Clayton recorded his 22nd straight double-figure scoring game of the season with 10 points. Terrence Williams scored nine points and dished out four assists.
Charlotte’s bench behind the scoring of Lester finished the game with a 27-23 advantage in bench points.
Ben Cherry started the game’s scoring with a three-point basket from the wing just 12 seconds into the game. Charlotte began the game by scoring nine of the first 11 points taking a 9-2 lead when Clayton knocked down a jumper with 16:29 on the clock.
Then, Southern Miss went on a 21-5 run over the next seven minutes taking a 23-14 lead with 9:04 on the clock. The 49ers cut Southern Miss’ lead to seven points, 25-18, after Lester made two free throws. Then, Southern Miss went on a 12-0 run taking a 37-15 lead with 2:59 on the clock.
Southern Miss led 41-22 at the half. Southern Miss maintained a lead of 16-20 points for a majority of the second half. However, with 5:04 on the clock, Charlotte was trailing 64-45; the 49ers went on an 11-2 run cutting Southern Miss’ lead to 66-56 when Henry knocked down a three with 3:33 on the clock. Denzel Ingram, Lester and Williams also scored during the 49ers’ run.
Charlotte had the ball down 10 with three minutes left. Ingram missed a jump shot. Charlotte coach Alan Major protested a foul not being called on Ingram’s shot. He was issued two technical fouls and ejected from the game.
Then, Southern Miss went on a 9-0 run to regain control of the game. Charlotte’s Williams hit a three at the top of the key with 27 seconds on the clock making the final score, 81-64.
Charlotte returns to action when they play Conference USA foe Marshall in Halton Arena, Saturday, February 15 at 7 pm.