The Charlotte 49ers are now 2-0 in the Atlantic 10. But they needed to battle on their way there. After trailing for much of the game, the Niners clamped down and eventually pulled ahead for good, beating Rhode Island 58-50. Charlotte improves to 14-2 overall, their best start to a season since 1994-95, their final year in the old Metro Conference.
The Niners were plagued by poor shooting (19-51, 37.3%) and free throw opportunities (17-26), but in the end, they were able to make the plays that counted. They did turn the ball over only 12 times. While that’s a far cry from their 21-turnover outing against La Salle, but with three of those miscues coming with less than four minutes left in the game and the result still up in the air, they seemed a lot bigger.
Leading the way for Charlotte was DeMario Mayfield, who scored 17 points–he was 5-10 from the floor and 5-6 at the line. Two Niners hit double figures in boards: Willie Clayton with 13 (to go along with 11 points) and Pierria Henry with 10 (six points). Mayfield and Clayton were the only Charlotte players to hit double digits in scoring.
After a hot shooting first half, URI couldn’t carry it over to the second half, where they shot just 7-26. Mike Powell and Andre Malone combined for 29 points, offsetting an 8-point, 3-12 performance by Xavier Munford.
Charlotte returns home to take on Fordham Wednesday night at 7:30, then visit Richmond next Saturday at 6. Note: Today was the Niners’ first win at the Ryan Center since March 8, 2008–a 74-64 victory in the final game of the regular season.