Charlotte hit Western Kentucky with a 3-point barrage Thursday night, but the host Hilltoppers made enough plays late to pull out a win.
WKU guard Que Johnson scored 14 points and hit the go-ahead basket with 25 seconds left as the Toppers topped the 49ers 82-80 at E.A. Diddle Arena.
Charlotte (7-7 overall, 1-2 Conference USA) hit 11 of 20 3-point attempts and shot 14-of-25 (56 percent) in the second half. The 49ers outrebounded WKU 35-28 and led by as much as six points, at 59-53 with 9:54 to play, but couldn’t close the deal.
After Johnson’s jumper put the Hilltoppers up 80-78, Charlotte guard Braxton Ogbueze had the chance at a 3-pointer but it missed off the iron with six seconds to go. WKU guard Pancake Thomas then hit two free throws to seal it.
The 49ers have now dropped two games in a row and five of six contests overall. WKU (9-7, 3-0) has won a season-best five straight overall.
Three who mattered
Charlotte guard Andrien White: Matched his season high with 20 points and also totaled eight rebounds and three steals.
Charlotte guard Jon Davis: The sophomore (14 points) was held six points under his 20.1 ppg average. He dished out seven assists but turned it over five times.
WKU forward Justin Johnson: Filled up the stat sheet, posting 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists.
▪ WKU enjoyed an early 14-0 run and led by as much as 20-10 before eight first-half 3-pointers pulled Charlotte back into the game. The Toppers led 43-38 at halftime.
▪ Only seven Charlotte players played more than 11 minutes. Coach Mark Price’s son Hudson Price scored 11 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
▪ The 49ers are 9-17 all-time against the Hilltoppers and are 1-12 at Diddle Arena.
▪ New WKU football coach Mike Sanford was introduced to the crowd during the first half.
▪ Charlotte guard Quentin Jackson, the reigning C-USA Freshman of the Week, played only one minute and didn’t score.
▪ The 49ers came into the night leading C-USA in steals per game at 7.5 but only grabbed three Thursday, all of which came courtesy of White.
▪ Charlotte will play at Marshall at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Thundering Herd (10-6, 3-0) topped Old Dominion 90-86 in overtime Thursday.
They said it
“We gave ourselves the chance to win on the road. That’s all you can ask for in an opportunity like this. We have one of our best shooters (Ogbueze) open with a chance to win the game and unfortunately it didn’t go down for us and we ended up losing the game.” – Mark Price
“We need that kind of effort from Andrien every night for us to have a chance. He left his heart out there on the court tonight and we’re going to need more of that Saturday.” – Price on White