BOONE, NC – Behind a dominating scoring effort in the paint and four double-figure scorers, the Charlotte 49ers (7-2) defeated Appalachian State (2-6), 77-59, on the road.
“This was a good road win,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “Anytime you can win on the road in college basketball that is a good thing. This was a total team win. We got quality contributions from Marcus Bryan, Denzel Ingram and Ben Cherry. Shawn Lester gave us a lift offensively in the first half. Willie Clayton did a good job in the second half. Terrence Williams had a solid game. It was nice to have Pierria Henry back on the court. He was able to get everyone involved. Mike Thorne has worked really hard on his game. He keeps putting the time in on improving his game and it showed today.”
Thorne led the 49ers with a career-high 26 points. Thorne scored 15 points in the first half. He was 12-18 from the field. He also grabbed eight rebounds in the game. Williams scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Clayton recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds. In the second half, Clayton scored all 11 of his points and grabbed eight of his 10 rebounds. Lester scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds off the bench. Henry scored nine points, dished out seven assists and recorded a career-high tying six steals.
Charlotte behind the scoring of Thorne, Clayton, Lester, Henry and Williams finished the game with a 54-28 advantage on points in the paint. The 49ers defense limited Appalachian State to 25% shooting from the field and 9.1% shooting from beyond the three-point line in the first half.
Appalachian State scored the game’s first five points. Then, Charlotte went on a 14-6 run taking a 14-11 lead when Thorne scored inside with 8:37 on the clock.
With the game tied at 14 with 7:33 on the clock, the 49ers behind the scoring of Thorne and Lester went on an 11-0 run over the next two minutes taking control of the game with a 25-14 lead after Thorne converted a three-point play with 5:28 on the clock.
Appalachian State cut the 49ers lead to 30-22 with 3:26 left in the half, the 49ers behind four points by Thorne and a three by Lester scored the final seven points of the first half taking a 37-22 halftime lead.
Charlotte maintained a double-digit lead for the entire second half. The 49ers pushed their lead to a game-high 23 points after Clayton scored six straight points giving the 49ers a 62-39 lead with 9:31 on the clock.
Appalachian State cut Charlotte’s lead to 14 points on a couple occasions over the final five and half minutes of the game. With 2:12 on the clock, Appalachian State cut Charlotte’s lead to 72-58 but a three-pointer from the wing by Henry and a layup by Ingram pushed the 49ers lead to 77-58 with 30 seconds on the clock. Appalachian State’s Mike Neal made a free throw with 17 seconds on the clock for the game’s final point.
Charlotte takes a nine-day break for final exams. The 49ers return to action on Tuesday, December 17 on the road at ACC foe Florida State.