OLEAN, N.Y. Charlottes February to forget could extend into a miserable March if the 49ers latest performance is any indication of whats ahead.
Charlotte continued on its path of lopsided losses Saturday night, suffering a 104-83 throttling to St. Bonaventure at the Reilly Center in a game both teams needed for purposes of making the Atlantic 10 Tournament.
If the 49ers (18-10, 6-8 A-10) werent already in real danger of not extending their season to the 12-team conference tourney, they are now. Charlottes fourth straight loss and sixth in its last seven outings dropped it into a three-way tie for 11th place with George Washington and Dayton teams that have beaten the 49ers and, thus, hold tie-breakers over them.
In other words, a season that started with so much promise including a 5-2 start in the A-10 and a victory at Butler that put Charlotte in contention for an NCAA tournament berth could end much sooner than expected.
The 49ers, whose four consecutive losses have come by a 20-point average, finish the regular season with games at Duquesne (8-20, 1-13) and against Saint Josephs (16-11, 7-7).
The good thing about kids, especially the age group that we have (10 freshmen and sophomores), is theyre resilient, Charlotte coach Alan Major said. When you have five, six seniors on the team, they usually dont flinch on things like that, especially losing one or two games. But these guys know why weve been good.
St. Bonaventure (14-13, 7-7) and Charlotte came into the contest tied for ninth in the A-10 with two others, but the play indicated teams going in opposite directions. Winners of three straight, the Bonnies led 22-5 before the under-12-minute timeout and extended their advantage to 53-24 at halftime.
The 49ers pressured the Bonnies into 15 turnovers in the second half and outscored them 59-51 but came no closer than 16 points.
Major said the 49ers need to bottle the second half performance and use it in their remaining games.
Most of the prosperity the 49ers have enjoyed this season has come with the help of two players no longer available DeMario Mayfield (dismissed from team) and JT Thompson (injured) leaving Charlotte to start three freshmen and two sophomores for the fifth straight game Saturday.
E. Victor Nickerson and Ivan Benkovic each posted career highs in points with 18 and 15 for the 49ers.
One of A-10s top perimeter shooting teams, St. Bonaventure drained 11-of-18 3-pointers and 30-of-51 overall. Eric Mosley led the Bonnies with 23 points. In a contest that featured 63 fouls, technical fouls charged to each team, and 83 free throws, Charlottes Henry, Ingram and Darion Clark fouled out.