Throughout this season, the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team has often struggled to make up for the size advantage most teams hold over it.
No team, however, has punished the 49ers inside as much as Alabama-Birmingham did Thursday night at Bartow Arena, where Charlotte suffered an 82-69 loss in the first game of a pivotal three-game road trip.
The Blazers (15-10, 8-4 C-USA) scored 52 points in the paint, the most allowed by Charlotte (11-12, 5-7 C-USA) this season. They also held a 48-26 rebounding edge, with their 15 offensive boards leading to 20 second-chance points.
Despite this mismatch, the 49ers entered halftime trailing by just six points. The Blazers extended that to seven in the early moments of the second half, but Charlotte answered with a 12-4 run to take a 49-48 lead.
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That, however, was the last lead the 49ers held. UAB responded with a 7-0 run and outscored Charlotte 34-20 the rest of the way to secure the win.
After missing Saturday’s game against Florida International because of a left shoulder injury, senior forward Anthony Vanhook came off the bench for the 49ers Thursday.
Foul trouble limited Vanhook to just 10 minutes, and he finished with two points, two rebounds and two assists.
The 49ers continue their three-game road trip Saturday at conference-leading Middle Tennessee. The game tips off at 6 p.m.