It might be accurate to say that the Charlotte 49ers (8-4) put themselves in a position to ultimately end up losing to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (9-4), 58-55. But they certainly gave themselves a chance late after trailing by five in the final minute.
Charlotte was able to get a late stop with 30 seconds left off a steal by Terrence Williams down 53-47, followed by a Denzel Ingram three to cut it to 53-50. A pair of free throws by the Yellow Jackets’ Trae Golden got the lead back up to five. Willie Clayton was then fouled and hit two of his own from the stripe to put it to 55-52 with 16 seconds left.
That set up the late dramatics.
A Clayton steal, a dish to Shawn Lester and a game-tying three with 10 seconds left to tie it at 55 to ignite the Halton Arena crowd. A drive and a pull-up three by Golden with four seconds left, the game winner, to give the Jackets the lead with four ticks left. Then, a Pierria Henry three pointer at the buzzer that went in a few tenths of a second too late, clear even to the naked eye, and the Jackets would escape Halton Arena with a victory.
Despite the close final margin, it was far from a work of art for Charlotte. Mike Thorne was 1-9 from the field for just three points. Henry struggled to a 2-10, four point performance. Take away Shawn Lester’s tying three down the stretch and he would finish 2-14, 0-6 from downtown, with just four points. One saving grace: Denzel Ingram and his 8-10, 20-point game, including a 5-5 start. Another issue for Charlotte: rebounding, losing in that department 41-32 and surrendering 14 second chance points to the Yellow Jackets. From the line, they were 9-14.
Golden would lead all scorers with 24, going 7-13 from the field, 4-7 from three and a perfect 6-6 at the stripe.
The Niners host North Carolina A&T Saturday at 7pm looking to get a win and some semblance of momentum going into Conference USA play, which begins at UTEP on January 9.
WBB: Furman 76, Charlotte 75
The women’s basketball team have now lost four of their last six following a defeat at the hands of the Paladins, the first of a men’s/women’s doubleheader. Charlotte did have a 74-73 lead with 1:25 left, but Sarah Durdaller’s three-point play gave Furman the lead for good, 76-74.
But the Niners had a chance to win it at the end, thanks to late free-throw woes by the visitors.
With 17 seconds left, Ny Hammonds went one of two at the line to cut it to 76-75. The Paladins’ Brigid Morrissey missed the front end of a one-and-one on the ensuing Furman possession, but Hammonds’ go-ahead bucket at the other end was blocked by Brittany Hodges with three seconds to go. Then, after the Furman rebound, Hodges was fouled immediately and missed the front end of her one-and-one, but Kira Gordon’s deep attempt off the rebound didn’t fall and Furman would squeeze out the win.
Holli Wilkins (19) and Hodges (17 points, 12 rebounds) led the way for Furman. Hammonds, the game’s leading scorer, ended the day with a career-high 25 (9-19 from the field, 6-8 from the line) for Charlotte. Gabby Tyler (12 and 14) and Kira Gordon (11 and 10) each recorded double-doubles in the losing effort.
Charlotte wraps conference play on Friday–Education Day–as they host UNC Wilmington at noon as thousands of school-age kids converge on Halton Arena.