The Charlotte 49ers rode the 3-point shooting of guard Ben Cherry on Saturday to a 73-61 Conference USA victory against Florida International at Halton Arena.
Cherry scored 17 points on 5-for-6 long-range shooting to help the 49ers (14-7, 5-3) to their second consecutive victory.
The 49ers scored on their first six possessions of the second half to break open the game against the Panthers (11-11, 3-4). The first six of those points came on two 3-pointers by Cherry, as Charlotte took a nine-point halftime lead to a 36-21 advantage from which FIU never recovered.
Cherry, a transfer from Tulane who played at Myers Park High, was one of five double-figure scorers for the 49ers Willie Clayton and Shawn Lester had 13, Mike Thorne added 12 and point guard Pierria Henry 10. Forward Rakeem Murphys 20 points led the Panthers.
Charlotte got hot 3-point shooting to take a 30-21 lead at halftime. The 49ers made 5-of-8 long-range shots including 3-of-4 from Cherry and 2-of-3 from Lester to pull away from the Panthers late.
The 49ers led 22-21 and closed the half on an 8-0 run, getting a 3 from Lester, an inside bucket from Clayton and another 3 by Cherry.
FIU was able to keep it as close as it was in the first half by out-rebounding Charlotte 22-18. The Panthers turned 10 offensive rebounds into seven points.
Cherrys nine points led the 49ers, with Lester and Clayton each adding six. Guard Terrence Williams had six rebounds for the 49ers. FIUs Tymell Murphy, who had a career-high 29 in a loss at Marshall on Thursday, had six in the first half.
The 49ers are off until Friday, when they begin a two-game road trip at Tulane then to Southern Mississippi on Sunday. FIU hosts Alabama-Birmingham on Thursday.
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