College Sports

Charlotte 49ers can’t overcome slow start, fall to Louisiana Tech

Charlotte 49ers guard Quentin Jackson (11) drives for a layup during Thursday’s Conference USA game against Louisiana Tech at Halton Arena.
Charlotte 49ers guard Quentin Jackson (11) drives for a layup during Thursday’s Conference USA game against Louisiana Tech at Halton Arena.

After seeing Louisiana Tech suffer a one-point loss Saturday, Charlotte 49ers’ men’s basketball coach Mark Price warned his team that a high level of intensity would be needed to snap its three-game losing streak against the Bulldogs.

The 49ers delivered that effort in the waning minutes of Thursday’s contest at Halton Arena. But the absence of such intensity early kept Charlotte from securing a win, as it fell 79-73.

The two teams traded blows early on before the 49ers’ offense went cold. Charlotte (7-9, 1-4 Conference-USA) went the final 7 minutes, 12 seconds of the first half without a field goal, and Louisiana Tech (11-6, 3-1) entered halftime with a 45-31 lead.

The Bulldogs pushed their lead to as many as 23 points midway through the second half before the 49ers started playing with the effort Price desired.

Charlotte mounted a comeback, pulling within one point with just over a minute left. But the Bulldogs made seven free throws and held the 49ers to just two points to end the game.

Three who mattered

Jacobi Boykins, Louisiana Tech: He led the Bulldogs with 16 points and added four steals.

Derric Jean, Louisiana Tech: He was one of four Bulldogs with double-digit points, and his three made free throws in the final minute and a half were crucial.

Braxton Ogbueze, Charlotte: He scored a game-best 26 points, his most since recording 20 in the loss against Wake Forest on Dec. 6.

Observations

▪  Louisiana Tech found easy driving lanes against the Charlotte defense, which allowed 48 points in the paint. That tied the most points in the paint the 49ers have allowed in any game this season, as they also allowed 48 against North Texas on Dec. 31.

▪  The 49ers’ bench outscored the Bulldogs’ 40-15.

Worth mentioning

▪  Louisiana Tech shot 62.1 percent in the first half, marking the best first-half shooting percentage by any Charlotte opponent this season.

▪  The 49ers continued their hot shooting at the free-throw line, where they went 15-for-16.

They said it

“There’s a lot of areas where we’re deficient in size and things like that overall, and the last thing we can do is let teams play harder than us. That’s got to be better.” – Price on his team’s lack of intensity early in the game.

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