Indianapolis, Ind. - Behind a balanced scoring attack and timely defense and free throw shooting, the Charlotte 49ers (18-6, A-10: 6-4) defeated 10th- ranked Butler (20-5, A-10: 7-3), 71-67, on the road.
"I could not be more proud of our team," Charlotte coach Alan Major said. "We have a special group of players. Butler is a tremendous team. We had to fight for all 40 minutes."
Pierria Henry led the 49ers with 17 points. Chris Braswell and Willie Clayton each scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Darion Clark finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds. Denzel Ingram scored nine points. E. Victor Nickerson scored eight points.
In the first half, the 49ers held Butler to 33.3% shooting from the field and 18.2% shooting from beyond the three-point line.
The 49ers finished the game with a 38-24 advantage on points in the paint and a 16-0 advantage on bench points.
Charlotte began the game by scoring 12 of the first 19 points taking a 12-7 lead when Henry connected on a runner in the lane at the 14:21 mark.
The 49ers enjoyed their largest lead of the first half when Braswell scored inside giving the 49ers a 16-9 lead with 12:37 on the clock.
Butler went on an 8-0 run over the next three minutes taking a 17-16 lead when Roosevelt Jones completed a three-point play at the 9:47 mark.
The lead exchanged hands several times over the next eight minutes. With Butler leading 27-25 with 1:47 on the clock, the 49ers scored the half's final four points behind baskets by Nickerson and Braswell. Braswell's layup with 1:02 on the clock gave the 49ers a 29-27 halftime lead. The 49ers would never relinquish their lead.
The 49ers outscored Butler 14-10 over the first five and half minutes of the second half taking a 43-37 lead with Clark scored inside at the 14:32 mark.
The 49ers maintained a lead of 4-6 points until Clayton scored inside giving the 49ers a 51-44 lead with 8:54 on the clock.
Butler cut the 49ers lead to 53-49 with 6:55 on the clock. Charlotte went on a 6-0 run behind the scoring of Braswell, Clark and Henry pushing their lead to 59-49 when Henry knocked down a jumper in the lane with 4:26 on the clock.
With the 49ers leading 60-50 with 3:30 on the clock, Butler went on a 5-0 run cutting Charlotte's lead to 60-55 with 2:20 left in the second half. Then, Charlotte's Nickerson ended the Butler run with a tough running jumper from the wing pushing Charlotte's lead to 62-55 with 1:52 on the clock.
Butler's Rotnei Clark connected on three three-point field goals and made three free throws over the final two minutes of the game ultimately cutting Charlotte's lead to 68-67 with nine seconds on the clock.
Henry made one free throw pushing the 49ers lead to 2, 69-67. Then, Nickerson made a great steal with one second left. He converted two free throws giving the 49ers a 71-67 win.
Charlotte continues their two-game Atlantic 10 road swing when they play Saint Louis on the road, Saturday, February 16 at 7 pm. The game will be broadcasted on Fox Sports Midwest.