photo courtesy Kevin Harbin

Conference USA Tournament: LA Tech pounds Charlotte 49ers 86-65, advance to semis


The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs flexed their muscle against the Charlotte 49ers in the Conference USA’s final tournament quarterfinal.

Charlotte, meanwhile, will go yet another year without an appearance in the Big Dance.

Michale Kyser scored a career high 20 points and ripped down nine rebounds as the top seed pulled away after leading by 10 at the break and ripped the Niners, 86-65, to set up a date with the fourth-seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles tomorrow afternoon.

Even a final charge by the Niners to cut it to 11 (71-60) with 4:31 left proved futile, as a 15-5 run to close the game put it out of reach for good and dispelled any notion of an improbable comeback.

Alex Hamilton chipped in 19, Cordarius Johnson poured in 14 and Speedy Smith added eight assists for LA Tech, who shot 49.2% from the field and outrebounded Charlotte 42-38. They only turned it over 10 times while forcing 16 of their own.

The Niners didn’t help their own cause. They were poor from the line (13-24) while shooting just 38.6%. They were simply no match for a better, stronger, deeper LA Tech team.

Four Niners were in double figures, led by Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams with 13 each. Denzel Ingram scored 12 while Shawn Lester added 11. Ben Cherry was good for just 15 minutes and three points in his final collegiate game.

Charlotte ends the season 17-14 and enter an offseason without an NCAA Tournament once again. Speculation is sure to run rampant: will players look to transfer out of the program? Will Alan Major even be the head coach of this program next year? Those questions are sure to be answered soon.

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