Saturday sets up to be an odd day for the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team.
By the time the 49ers (19-10, 7-8) face Saint Joseph’s (17-11, 8-7) in their regular-season finale at 7 p.m. in Halton Arena, they’ll either already know they’ve qualified for the 12-team Atlantic 10 tournament or have to beat the Hawks to do so.
The 49ers are in a four-way tie for ninth in the league, along with Dayton, St. Bonaventure and Richmond. George Washington, at 6-9 in the league and a game behind those four, will play Dayton at 2 p.m. Saturday.
A Colonials loss clinches a spot in the tournament for Charlotte, which loses any combination of tiebreakers with the three teams they’re tied with, as well as with George Washington.
This all comes about after an eventful Wednesday in the Atlantic 10, nowhere more so than in Pittsburgh, where Charlotte snapped a four-game losing streak in unlikely fashion with an 89-87 overtime victory against Duquesne.
Elsewhere, Xavier won at Saint Louis 77-66 in overtime, putting an end to the 16th-ranked Billikens’ 11-game winning streak. No. 21 Virginia Commonwealth pulled into a first-place tie with Saint Louis by beating cross-town rival Richmond 93-82.
• Charlotte’s rally from a 17-point second-half deficit against Duquesne wasn’t the largest comeback in school history, but it was one of them. Charlotte’s biggest comeback remains against Tennessee in 1995, when the 49ers trailed by 26 with 15 minutes, 4 seconds remaining.
Charlotte eventually won 79-76 in what at the time was the fourth largest comeback of all time in college basketball, according to ESPN.
• What point guard Pierria Henry is doing on the boards this season is amazing. At 6-foot-4, Henry had 10 rebounds against Duquesne (all defensive), the fourth time this season he’s rebounded in double figures. He also had 11 against Texas State and Virginia Commonwealth and 10 against Rhode Island. He’s averaging 5.1 per game.
Henry filled up the box score Wednesday, also with 18 points, three steals and five assists before fouling out.
The 49ers also got a big rebounding game from another unlikely source: guard Terrence Williams, who had 12 to go along with 15 points and five assists.
The rebounding of Henry and Williams was needed because freshmen forwards Willie Clayton (three) and Darion Clark (zero) spent much of the game in foul trouble and had off nights.
• Williams also had five turnovers and Henry had four, a continuing problem for Charlotte. The 49ers had 20 against Duquesne, and they average 15.4 per game, which translates into a paltry .8 assist/turnover ratio.
• Other reasons for the 49ers to feel optimistic about this weekend, and, potentially, beyond: Senior center Chris Braswell’s 28 points against Duquesne were a season high and three points off his career high of 31 against Massachusetts last season.
Braswell also had five rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.
Freshman guard Ivan Benkovic followed his career-high 15-point effort against St. Bonaventure with nine against Duquesne, a night that included a key steal and 3-pointer late in regulation. Benkovic is 8-of-15 from 3-point range in the past two games.