HALTON ARENA - With the help of accurate shooting, three players in double-figures and Chris Braswell's 1000th career point, the Charlotte 49ers powered past the George Washington Colonials, 72-62 Wednesday night at Halton Arena.
Braswell, Javarris Barnett and DeMario Mayfield were all in double-digits and Charlotte added 18 points off the bench in the victory.
Braswell led all scorers with 19 points on 7-for-9 shooting, scoring his 1,000th career point in the process and becoming just the 24th 49er to do so. Coming into the game needing eight points to reach 1000, the junior center tallied Charlotte's first nine points of the game, and added six rebounds on the night. Braswell's performance also tied his season-high point total at home.
"I just wanted to get a big team win today," Braswell said. "I came out aggressive, trying to attack and get the lead."
This marks the seventh win at Halton this season for the Niners (13-13; 5-8 A-10), who play two more home games in the next week. George Washington falls to 9-18 overall and 4-9 in the Atlantic 10.
With the win, the 49ers appear to have secured a berth in the 2012 Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament. A victory in any of the 49ers three remaining games or losses by Rhode Island and Fordham would eliminate any doubt.
"It's great to be back in Halton," head coach Alan Major said. "We haven't had three games in a row here since December. It's good to win the first one and get some momentum going down the stretch. It was a great team win. Everybody that jumped in and competed tonight did something positive. You're seeing young guys grow up and seniors make plays. George Washington has probably the most deceptive record in the A10, so it was a good win against a very underrated, very good basketball team."
Barnett was second on the team with 18 points on 6-for-8 shooting, while Mayfield totaled 15 and led the squad with nine rebounds and five assists. Rookie Terrence Williams and senior Derrio Green sparked the 49ers off the bench, combining for three long range shots and 14 points.
As a team, Charlotte shot 46.8% from the field, including a 51.9% mark in the first half. The 49ers were also 8-for-14 from behind the arc and made 20 of 27 free throw attempts.
The Niners defense held George Washington to 40.0% shooting for the game and 27.8% from three-point range, with the Colonials hitting just one of 10 treys in the second half. GWU did out-rebound the 49ers, 41-29 including an impressive 23 offensive boards. Tony Taylor led the team with 14 points, while David Pellom tallied 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds (8 offensive).
Charlotte got off to a hot start in the first half, taking a 12-7 lead at the 15:53 mark on Braswell's nine opening points and a fast break three-pointer from Barnett. The 49ers led by as many as seven points in the opening frame and took a 38-33 advantage into the locker room at halftime.
George Washington surged back at the start of the second half with a 6-0 run to take a 39-38 lead with 18:28 remaining. The two teams battled back and forth over the next three minutes before Charlotte opened up a 14-point lead on an 18-3 run midway through the half. Back-to-back threes from Green and Williams gave the Niners their first double-digit lead of the night and Charlotte went up 59-45 at the 9:37 mark.
"[GWU] came out and punched us a little bit to start the half," Major noted, "but I really liked the fact that we came out and won the next two four-minute segments. The bench guys that came in settled us a little bit."
The Colonials would make a small rally attempt late in the frame, cutting the deficit to seven points, 62-55 on Pellom's layup with 3:08 to play. But Barnett responded with a three-pointer that restored a 10-point Charlotte lead, and the 49ers would finish the game with a double-digit win.
The Niners are back home this Saturday, facing conference foe St. Bonaventure on Senior Day. Tipoff is 7 p.m.