Charlotte rallies past College of Charleston 90-85 in overtime

Courtesy of Charlotte49ers.com

Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte 49ers used a late overtime rally to overcome a 12-point halftime defecit to defeat the College of Charleston 90-85 in Halton Arena. Senior guard Pierria Henry became the 25th player in school history to score 1,000 career points when he knocked down a three-point field goal with 9:28 left in the second half.

“I am so proud of these guys for the effort they gave tonight,” said Charlotte 49ers head coach Alan Major. “They are still in a growth process of becoming a special team, we all are actually. I’m proud of them for gutting it out even when we go into overtime like that and banding together.”

“It’s a game of runs and we found ways to stop them and rebound,” said Henry. “College of Charleston made us work and made us think. They’re a good team.”

The 49ers (5-4) were led by four players in double figures as senior guard Pierra Henry led the charge with a season-high 20 points as Henry scored his 1,000 career point as a Niner becoming the 25th player in program history to achieve that mark. Henry added eight rebounds and seven assists along with three steals. Henry acknowledged scoring his 1,000 points as a special moment, “It means a lot. Overall I have to thank my teammates and my coaches for getting me there. They let me know where my shots are coming from. It’s a blessing and I thank God for the opportunity,” said Henry.

Torin Dorn added a career-high 19 points as he went 8-for-9 from the field, including hitting three from behind the arc. Willie Clayton notched his second double-double of the season and 17th of his career as he chipped in 15 points and corralled 10 rebounds. Keyshawn Woods added a career-high 13 points as he went 5-for-8 from the field while going 3-for-4 from three-point range.

The Cougars (5-5) also had four players in double figures as they were led by a career-high 30 points from Joe Chealey, who went 11-for-18 from the field while making seven three-pointers. Canyon Barry added a season-high 21 points, including five three pointers, while adding a team-high nine rebounds. Adjehi Baru and Anthony Stitt added 11 points each.

The Niners got off to a slow start offensively falling behind 13-3 after nearly five minutes of play, before the teams split the next 28 points evenly as Charleston maintained its ten point cushion at 27-17 with 10:31 to play in the first half. The 49ers used a 9-5 run getting three-pointers from Cameron Blakeley and Woods to cut the lead to six at 32-26, the closest Charlotte got in the first half, before Charleston ended the half on a 10-4 run to head into the locker room with a 42-30 lead.

Facing its largest halftime defecit of the season, Charlotte came out hot in the second half looking to close the gap as they scored six of the first eight points cutting Charleston’s lead to 44-36 after a Clayton layup. The Niners continued to chip away at the lead as a layup from Braxton Ogbueze cut the Niners lead to five (49-44) with 14:34 to play before the Cougars went on a 13-4 run over the next 3:56to open their largest lead of the game at 62-48 with 14:05 left in the second half.

A Dorn three pointer ended the run as the Niners methodically worked their way back into the game as they went on a 19-4 run over the ensuing 5:53 to take their first lead of the night at 67-66 with 4:45 to play in regulation when Clayton connected on two free throws. That run included four three pointers for the Niners. After a Chealey three-pointer gave the lead back to Charleston, a layup from Dorn tied the score at 69 apiece before the 49ers reeled off the next six points to take their largest lead of the evening at 75-69 with 1:56 to play.

After a Henry free throw gave Charlotte a 76-71 lead with 0:45 remaining, a three pointer from Charleston cut the Niners lead to two before a layup from Baru with 23 seconds to play tied the game at 76 as the game headed into overtime.

Playing its third overtime contest of the season, the Niners fell behind 84-80 early in the extra session, but clawed their way back with a layup from Mike Thorne and a tip-in from Woods to knot the game at 84 with 1:30 remaining in overtime. Coming up with big buckets all night, Dorn again came up big for the 49ers as he made a jumper with 26 seconds remaining as the Niners took the lead for good. After Henry nailed a pair of free throws to extend the Niners lead to 88-84, Ogbueze knocked a final pair of free throws as the Niners escaped with a 90-85 victory.

The Niners outscored the Cougars 38-24 in the paint, 13-2 on fast break and 35-12 in bench points. Charlotte outrebounded Charleston 37-31 and held a 19-16 edge in assists. Charlotte shot a season-high 52.5% (32-61) from the field and a season-best 58.8% (10-17) from three-point range, while the 90 points were the second-highest scoring output of the season.

Charlotte is back in action at home on Thursday as they face Appalachian State at 8 p.m. inside Halton Arena.

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