College Sports

Charlotte 49ers’ early lead evaporates in finale of Hawaii tournament

Charlotte senior guard Jon Davis scored 25 points in the 49ers’ 68-53 loss to Colorado in the seventh-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
Charlotte senior guard Jon Davis scored 25 points in the 49ers’ 68-53 loss to Colorado in the seventh-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

The Charlotte 49ers dominated for the first 15 minutes, but Colorado took control after that and rolled to a 68-53 victory Tuesday in the seventh-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

The 49ers, who went 0-for-3 in the tournament, led by margins of up to eight points in the first half.

“We brought tremendous fight today to start the game,” Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez said.

The 49ers opened the game with an 11-4 run, capped by Jon Davis’ 3-point field goal with 15 minutes, 26 seconds left in the half. Charlotte maintained the lead and built the margin to 24-16 on a three-point play with 5:20 left in the first half.

But the Buffaloes’ defense tightened, Charlotte’s shots stopped falling, and the momentum changed. Colorado went on a 14-0 run for a 30-24 lead. Davis scored on a short jump shot, but Colorado then surged with five more points for a 35-26 halftime margin.

Four of those final five points came when Sanchez picked up two technical fouls, arguing a foul call against the 49ers on a rebounding play, and was ejected.

“I want to apologize to our fans that were watching the game for getting ejected,” he said. “I am going to fight for my guys. When our guys are out there, laying it on the line, they need to know that their head coach is fighting for them, too.”

The teams exchanged baskets early in the second half, but Colorado put together another 7-0 run, capped by a Tyler Bey dunk, and the Buffaloes built their lead to 49-32 with 13:26 left in the game.

The 49ers had an 8-0 run later in the second half and cut the deficit to 63-50, but Colorado didn’t let Charlotte get any closer.

Records: Charlotte is 3-8; Colorado is 9-3.

Three who mattered

Davis (Charlotte): The 49ers’ standout senior guard provided much of the offense, scoring 25 points. He hit 7-of-15 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the foul line.

Tyler Bey (Colorado): Bey scored only eight points, but his second-half dunk keyed a Buffalo rally. Bey also grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Lucas Siewert (Colorado): He made 3-of-5 3-point attempts and finished with a team-high 17 points. Siewert also had five rebounds.

Worth mentioning

▪ The 49ers had big problems from outside the arc, hitting only 1-of-16 shots from 3-point range.

▪ A familiar problem – points off turnovers – hurt the 49ers Monday. Colorado piled up an 18-11 edge in that category. For the three games in Hawaii, Charlotte was outscored 81-32 in points off turnovers, including 35-5 in the opener against TCU.

▪ The game started at 8 a.m. (Honolulu time) on Christmas morning. It was the earliest starting time ever for either team in recent years.

▪ This was Charlotte’s final nonconference game. The 49ers are off for more than a week before starting Conference USA play.

They said it

▪  “It is hard to get up emotionally and physically this early in the morning. I am very proud of the way we came out this morning.” – Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez.

▪  ”Nobody wants to play in the 8 a.m. game on Christmas. We figured out a way to win, but it wasn’t very pretty.” – Colorado coach Tad Boyle.

What’s next?

Charlotte resumes action Jan. 3 at home, launching Conference USA action against Western Kentucky. ...Colorado’s next game also is Jan. 3, with the Buffaloes traveling to Arizona in their Pac-12 opener.

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