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Defense lacking in Charlotte 49ers’ losing streak

The reasons for a two-game losing streak that has dropped the Charlotte 49ers to the middle of the Conference USA standings are simple to coach Alan Major.

“Defending and execution,” said Major on Tuesday, referring to what was missing in losses last week at Louisiana Tech and Rice.

The 71-69 defeat against Rice was especially troubling, coming at the hands of an Owls team that had been winless in the conference and had lost eight in a row overall.

The 49ers lost first-half leads in both games to drop to 3-3 in the league (12-7 overall), with home games against Florida Atlantic (7-13, 2-3) on Thursday and Florida International (12-9, 3-2) on Saturday coming.

“There were pockets of those games that we were really good, then pockets in which they got runs on us,” said Major. “Not letting those runs happen is important. That’s how teams have gotten separation from us.”

Defending the dribble-drive and 3-point shot have been problems for the 49ers. In the loss to UTSA and an overtime victory against Tulsa, opposing guards consistently scored at the rim. Rice made 12-of-24 3-point shots, easily the biggest difference in the game.

Notes

• Major apologized for breaking Conference USA rules by failing to address the media or make his scheduled appearance on the 49ers’ postgame radio show after the Rice loss. Major will not be disciplined, a league spokesperson said.

• The funeral for former 49ers star Lew Massey, who died Jan. 23, will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at H.O. Graham Metropolitan Church, 2926 Old Steele Creek Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208. Visitation will be from noon-1 p.m.

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