Charlotte 49ers 63, Xavier 57: Niners 4-1 in A-10, 10-0 at Halton

Dec. 14, 2012; Coral Gables, FL, USA; Charlotte 49ers guard Pierria Henry (15) dribbles during the first half against the Miami Hurricanes at the BankUnited Center. Miami won 77-46. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte 49ers haven’t beaten the Xavier Musketeers all that often. They figured that they would do it at home this time around. The Niners put a blemish on the Musketeers’ undefeated Atlantic 10 record en route to a 63-57 win, moving them to 16-3 overall, 4-1 in the league and 10-0 at Halton Arena. It was Charlotte’s first win over Xavier since March 2, 2011, ending a three-game losing streak to their rivals from Ohio.

Things got off to a sloppy start as teams couldn’t find their stroke and struggled with turnovers; Xavier had the better of the play, though, opening up a 15-9 lead with 7:50 left in the first half. But Charlotte came out with a 28-27 lead heading toward the break–capped by Denzel Ingram’s back-to-back threes and a jumper by Pierria Henry.

The second half saw the game open up a little, and the Niners took advantage of timely shooting and a few defensive stops on their way a 13-2 run spanning over six and a half minutes–it was 49-39 with 8:18 left.

As expected, though, X looked to mount a comeback. They scored the next 5 to get it to 49-44, and eventually got within 50-46 with 5:46 left. Turnovers and missed opportunities at the line looked as if it would come to haunt the Niners in the end, but some key buckets (including a DeMario Mayfield 3 with 2:57 left) and some strong play inside, coupled with the Musketeers’ own struggles at the stripe, put this one in the win column for the home team.

A couple of players stood out in this one. Darion Clark and Denzel Ingram had their best games as Niners by far. Clark was a beast, recording four blocks (two of which will stand out in particular) in a game where he didn’t score all that much. Ingram hit two very clutch threes toward the end of the first half and made an absolute hustle play with 1:10 left (and Charlotte holding an eight point lead) to not only deny Dee Davis a fast break layup, but avoid picking up a foul in the process. Off the inbound following a Charlotte timeout, Xavier ended up turning the ball over. Pierria Henry, while only scoring three points, was his usual force on the defensive end.

Four Niners finished in double figures: Clayton, who was perfect (6-6) from the field, led the way with 14 and was Charlotte’s top rebounder with 8 boards. Chris Braswell and Ingram put in 12 points each while Mayfield ended with 13 points, 11 coming in the first half. But, as mentioned, free throws (14-29) and turnovers (19) continue to be a struggle for this team; but ugly as this one was, it’s still a win.

Xavier’s Semaj Christon and Travis Taylor (18 each) led all scorers, with Taylor’s 11 rebounds giving him a double-double. X committed 17 turnovers and was blocked nine times, while going 4-9 from the line. They did hold a 44-33 edge on the boards (including 21-6 on offensive rebounds). They certainly had opportunities, but in the end, Charlotte made the most of theirs.

Up next: At George Washington Saturday at 2pm. After that, it’s a week break before Homecoming against UMass on February 2, followed by the toughest stretch of the year over their next five (@ Temple, VCU, @ Butler, Saint Louis, Temple).

Topics: A-10, Atlantic 10, Basketball, Charlotte 49ers, Charlotte 49ers Men's Basketball, Xavier Musketeers

Want more from Pick Axe Digest?  
Subscribe to FanSided Daily for your morning fix. Enter your email and stay in the know.