Western Kentucky went ahead early and rallied late, beating the Charlotte 49ers 74-66 in a Conference USA men’s basketball game Thursday at Diddle Arena.
The Hilltoppers (9-5, 2-0) led by as many as 14 points in the first half, then saw the 49ers (6-8, 0-2) take a seven-point lead in the second half before putting together a late-game run.
It was Charlotte’s first game under interim head coach Ryan Odom, who is replacing Alan Major, who is on an indefinite medical leave of absence.
The 49ers played most of the game without point guard Pierria Henry, who fouled out after scoring just five points in 13 minutes.
As has been the case now in most of their games this season, the 49ers fell behind early. The Hilltoppers started the game ablaze from 3-point territory, making their first seven shots from long range. Western Kentucky went up by 14 points, but the 49ers chipped away at the lead thanks to a strong rebounding effort and the play off the bench of freshman Torin Dorn.
Charlotte outrebounded the Hilltoppers 49-29, and outscored the Western Kentucky bench 32-3. Dorn led the 49ers with a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds. Center Mike Thorne had 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Hilltoppers got 21 points from guard T.J. Price.
The 49ers stay on the road with a game Saturday at Marshall. Western Kentucky is at home Saturday against 25th-ranked Old Dominion.