Charlotte 49ers 68, Kansas State Wildcats 61: Niners hold on in Puerto Rico Tip-Off opener

November 22, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte 49ers head coach Alan Major while his team plays against the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at the Halton Arena at UNCC. East Tennessee State wins 70-69. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

No Willie Clayton and Mike Thorne for the Charlotte 49ers?  No problem.

Denzel Ingram hit a big three, followed by a bucket with Terrence Williams with under 3 minutes remaining, and the Niners withstood a late rally to hold on for a 68-61 win over the Kansas State Wildcats in the opening round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

Even without Clayton and Thorne, who both fouled out, the Niners were able to grind out a win.  With his team up 56-53 with 2:55 left, Ingram nailed a three to extend it to 59-53–followed by a Williams layup off of a Will Spradling miss to put the lead at 61-53.  Charlotte would then make seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the victory despite back-to-back threes by K-State.

Thorne enjoyed another solid outing.  He was 6-12 for 16 points, including 4-5 from the line, while ripping down a game-high 11 rebounds.  Clayton scored 10 behind a 6-11 day at the stripe but had 10 boards, six on the offensive glass.  Three other Niners–Ingram (12), Shawn Lester (10) and Pierria Henry (10) hit double figures.

Nigel Johnson scored a team-high 14 while Shane Southwell and Marcus Foster each had 11 for K-State, who were ice cold from the outside (5-27) despite their late consecutive makes are were out rebounded 46-34.

The Niners move on to tomorrow’s semifinal as they await the winner of today’s Northeastern/Georgetown quarterfinal.  The Niners defeated the Huskies 83-77 last year in the Great Alaska Shootout final.

Topics: Charlotte 49ers, Charlotte 49ers Men's Basketball

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