The Charlotte 49ers didn’t have one of its better shooting games Saturday against Marshall.
But the 49ers made up for it in other ways, overcoming a slow start to beat the Thundering Herd 86-73 in their Conference USA regular-season finale.
Seniors Pierria Henry and Terrence Williams, playing their final game at Halton Arena, combined for 33 points for Charlotte (14-17, 7-11), which locked up the 11th seed for next week’s conference tournament in Birmingham, Ala.
“It’s great to send these two guys out on a positive note,” 49ers interim coach Ryan Odom said. “(But) it’s a new season for us now. We’re back to 0-0 at this point.”
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Henry had 19 points and Williams 14 for Charlotte, which overcame a 12-point deficit in the first half to lead by as many 15 points late in the second half.
Keyshawn Woods added 13 points, Bernard Sullivan 12 and Mike Thorne Jr. 10 for the 49ers, who shot 40.6 percent from the field (28-69), nearly six points below their season average of 46.4 percent, and made just 4 of 13 3-pointers.
However, Charlotte went 26 of 34 on free throws, had a 48-34 rebounding advantage (including an 18-9 edge in offensive boards), and its defense forced Marshall (11-20, 7-11) into 18 turnovers. That led to a 23-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
Yet the 49ers struggled early, missing 11 of 13 field goals over the first seven minutes. That, and 8 of 14 shooting by Marshall, allowed the Thundering Herd to take a 20-8 lead.
However, Woods sparked a Charlotte rally, scoring nine points during a 19-5 run that allowed the 49ers to tie the score twice and even take its first leadwith 5:59 left.
“We were missing some shots that we all knew we could make,” Odom said. “We got some good ones, they just didn’t go down. But our defensive effort didn’t go down, and we were able to stay in the game because of that.”
Austin Loop led the Thundering Herd with 19 points. Ryan Taylor added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Aleksa Nikolic had 11.