Charlotte 49ers Topple Richmond, 75-70, in A-10 Opener

Courtesy of Charlotte49ers.com.

HALTON ARENA – Three players scored in double-figures as Charlotte came from behind to defeat conference foe Richmond, 75-70 in its first Atlantic 10 game of the season on Wednesday night at Halton Arena. The 49ers, who are now 4-2 on their home court, improve to 8-5 overall and 1-0 in the Atlantic 10, while the Spiders fall to 9-7; 0-1 A-10.

“That’s a team that’s seen the promise land,” head coach Alan Major said of Richmond’s run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last season. “Everybody that played tonight really chipped in, and I’m very proud of JB [Javarris Barnett]. We finished the first half attacking, got out in transition and energized ourselves on defense. It was encouraging to see how the guys responded [to the first half deficit]; that’s a terrific sign of maturity.”

Senior forward Barnett led the Charlotte offense with 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting and a 4-for-5 mark from the free throw line. Junior center Chris Braswell and freshman Pierria Henry also scored in double-figures, with Braswell tallying 13 points and three boards and Henry picking up 10 points and five rebounds.

“Our game plan was to go inside and attack,” said Barnett. “The mentality was to keep getting the ball in there, and we executed down the stretch. Our defense in the second half created offense and created energy.”

The Niners shot 52.7% from the field while holding the Spiders to 41.1% in the game. Charlotte also out-rebounded the visitors, 37-30 and held a 50-20 advantage in points in the paint.

The 49ers got off to a slow start, falling behind by as many as 11 points as Richmond nailed five first-half three pointers to take an early lead. But with 4:46 remaining in the opening frame, Charlotte went on a 13-2 run to force a 34-34 tie heading into the locker room at halftime.

Senior guard Derrio Green’s steal and ensuing dunk with 2:52 remaining in the half pulled Charlotte within four points, 32-28, giving life to the home team. Barnett followed up with a layup, and junior KJ Sherrill’s jumper with 25 seconds remaining pulled Charlotte even with the Spiders.

The Niners opened the second half with four straight points, taking their first lead of the night on a jumper by Braswell, and getting a jumper from Green to cap a 17-2 run that spanned the two halves.

Midway through the second frame, Barnett strung together six straight Charlotte points, the last of which gave the 49ers a 49-46 lead with 8:52 remaining. Deuce Briscoe, who picked up seven points off the bench for Charlotte, then knocked down the Niners’ only three-pointer of the game to spark a 7-0 run that pushed the 49ers lead to eight, 56-48 with 5:06 to play.  Charlotte would lead by as many as 11, 62-51, on Barnett’s jumper with 3:01 remaining.

The Spiders put together a solid comeback bid late in the game, pulling within two points, 65-63 with 1:12 remaining on an and-1 drive by Cedrick Lindsay, Richmond’s leading scorer with 19 points. Braswell scored inside and then hit two free throws to push the lead back to six.  A Darien Brothers three-pointer brought Richmond back to within three, 73-70 with 1.7 seconds left but Barnett iced the victory with two free throws.

Charlotte continues conference play this Saturday, January 7th with a road contest at Saint Joseph’s. Tipoff is 2 p.m.

NOTES:

  • Derrio Green moved into 30th-place all-time in Charlotte scoring with 899 career points, passing Bob Lemmond (’69), who had 897 career points.
  • Charlotte is now 7-0 this season when scoring 70 points or more.
  • Deuce Briscoe is now three points away from 1,000 points in his career.
  • Javarris Barnett, playing in his 100th career game, notched his second 20-point performance of the season.
  • Rookie Pierria Henry had his first career dunk in tonight’s contest.
  • Henry had two steals and has had at least one in all 13 games

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