Courtesy of Charlotte49ers.com
Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte 49ers (6-4) overcame a slow start to pull away in the second half as the Niners had four players in double figures en route to a 75-65 win over Appalachian State (3-5) in Halton Arena.
“It was good to hold serve here at home. We told the guys we kind of had the opportunity to have our own little home tournament,” said head coach Alan Major. “I thought in the second half especially we did what we called getting multiple stops. That’s something that we have really been trying to focus on, being a multiple stops team; getting two or three stops in a row at times. I thought that helped us get some separation and be able to win the second half by 15 points. But hats off to Appalachian State, I just told Coach Fox that on the way out. He’s got his guys believing and they are going to win a lot of games this year because they play extremely hard and they are buying in to what he’s telling them to do. We knew these guys weren’t going to be an easy team to beat and we were coming off 48 hours ago in a 45 minute game in overtime the other night. It was good to get the job done and four guys in double figures, so another good effort that way too,” said Major.
The 49ers were led by four players in double figures as Torin Dorn led the way with 14 points adding six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Braxton Ogbueze chipped in 13 points while making five steals. After being held scoreless and without a rebound in the first half, Willie Clayton came on strong in the second half adding 12 points as he went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field adding eight rebounds and two assists.
Keyshawn Woods added 12 points, including three from behind the arc, to round out the double digit scorers. Woods is accustomed to coming off the bench and providing a spark for the Niners, “As bench players, you got to be able to bring a spark to the team, regardless of if things are going our way or not. You just got to be positive and just be ready when your names called, “said Woods.
The Mountaineers had three players in double figures led by Frank Eaves who finished with 20 points, including hitting 11-for-13 from the free throw line and added seven rebounds. Tommy Spagnolo notched his third double-double of the season scoring 13 points and corralling 11 rebounds, including eight offensive. Chris Burgess chipped in 11 points and Dustin Clarke added nine points.
The Niners fell behind early 10-0 after just over two minutes of play, before Charlotte fought back strong scoring six of the next seven points as Ogbueze hit back-to-back three pointers to cut the lead to 11-6. After Appalachian State opened back up an eight point lead (20-12) with 10:29 to go in the first half, the Niners fought back with a 15-6 run to take their first and only lead of the first half as they went up 27-26 with 2:31 to play in the first half when Ogbueze scored inside. That run featured scoring from five Niners, including five from Cameron Blakely. The Mountaineers closed out the half on a 6-0 run as they took a 32-27 lead into the half.
Charlotte started the second half strong as they scored ten of the first 15 points to even the game at 37 apiece after a three pointer from Terrance Williams. After the teams traded the next four baskets, and with the score tied at 41, a layup from Ogbueze at the 14:37 mark gave the Niners a 43-41 lead, which was a lead they would not relinquish.. With Appalachian State continuing to compete hard and keep pace with the Niners after a pair of free throws from Spagnolo brought the Mountaineers within 57-55, the Niners dashed ASU’s hopes with back-to-back three pointers from Woods giving the Niners a 63-55 lead with 6:40 left in the second half. After a pair for free throws from App State closed the margin to 67-63 with 3:38 to play, the 49ers ended the game on an 8-2 run as Dorn chipped in five points to close out the ten-point win.
The Niners shot 46.2% (30-65) from the field compared to 40.4% (21-52) for the Mountaineers. Charlotte connected on nine three-point field goals in the game. Charlotte held a distinct advantage in bench points getting 34 points from its reserves compared to just eight for the Mountaineers. Finally, the 49ers made a season-high 13 steals and forced 16 turnovers by App State turning that into 20 points along with holding a 21-9 edge in second chance points.
The 49ers return to action on Saturday traveling to Washington D.C. to face Georgetown at the Verizon Wireless Center.