This wasn’t supposed to be a win for the Charlotte 49ers, right? It was supposed to be the national runner up, the Michigan Wolverines, running away with the win. Surely it wouldn’t be like the 1977 Final Four, right?
Terrence Williams’ putback layup with less than a second remaining was the game winner as the Niners upset the Wolverines, the #14 ranked team in the country, 63-61, to win the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Mitch McGary’s layup with nine seconds left tied the game at 61-61. But with the Niners in possession, Williams missed the potential game winner with time ticking down, but got his own rebound and put it home to give Charlotte the clinching bucket.
This one looked in hand much earlier, though.
Charlotte led 35-30 at the break and opened up a 42-30 lead with 16:26 left in the 2nd half. But Michigan stormed back to pull within 42-41, and eventually took the 47-46 lead with 5:34 left. Charlotte would go up by five, 58-53, with 90 seconds remaining, to set up the game’s final events.
Denzel Ingram led the Niners with 12 points, including a couple of threes. Pierria Henry (11) and Willie Clayton (10) were the other double-figure scorers for Charlotte.
The win offset a huge performance by Nik Stauskas. The sophomore rolled to 20 points on 6-11 shooting. But this night belonged to the Niners, and they’ll be flying back to the Queen City with the 2013 Puerto Rico Tip-Off crown.