Charlotte men’s basketball coach Mark Price had a feeling the 49ers were due for a breakthrough win.
After coming close in their past three games, Charlotte finally made it happen Thursday, upsetting Conference USA co-leader Marshall 103-95 at Halton Arena.
Joseph Uchebo finished with career highs of 24 points and 21 rebounds, Andrien White had a career-high 30 points and 10 rebounds, Jon Davis added 21 and Curran Scott 18 for the 49ers (5-13, 2-4).
“This is a great win for our guys,” Price said. “You know, the last three games we’ve been knocking on the door. It’s been really close.
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“We’ve been talking about having to learn how to win and close games out. Tonight, we did a much better job of that.”
After losing the past three games by a total of six points, Charlotte made sure it wasn’t that close Thursday against the Thundering Herd (9-10, 5-1).
After battling through six lead changes in the first four and 1/2 minutes, the 49ers took command, leading by nine points at the halftime break and by as many as 19 in the second half.
And whenever Marshall began putting together rallies, Charlotte quickly snuffed them out – a problem for the 49ers earlier this season.
“Earlier this year, we got punched and sometimes we didn’t get back up,” Price said. “But the learning process is starting to pay off. The tough games we played early, they made us stronger.
“I tell them all the time that they don’t see the look in their eye. Well, they had that look in their eye tonight, that they wanted to finish this game and get a ‘W.’ ”
Three who mattered
Joseph Uchebo: Another double-double for the 6-foot-10 senior center – and that was just in the first half – in dominating the Thundering Herd inside.
Andrien White: Hit eight straight 3-pointers, tying his career best, and barely missed the ninth. Was also one rebound shy of tying his career best.
James Kelly: Conference USA’s top scorer in conference games (25.0 points) finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds for Marshall. But he didn’t have an offensive rebound against Uchebo, who pulled in eight offensive boards to the three grabbed by all of the Thundering Herd.
▪ By the first TV timeout, at the 14:47 mark in the first half, Uchebo had more rebounds (four) than the Thundering Herd had as a team (three). By the end of the half, Uchebo had 13 of Charlotte’s 24 rebounds, and five offensive boards; Marshall had just 14 as a team, two on the offensive glass.
▪ Uchebo became the first Charlotte player to post a 20-20 double-double since Curtis Withers had 23 points and 21 rebounds against Dayton on Feb. 4, 2006.
▪ Marshall had averaged nearly 95 points per game in winning its first five conference games, and reached its average Thursday. But against the 49ers, the Herd gave up the most points since a 107-84 loss to James Madison on Dec. 6.
▪ Both teams finished 50 percent or better from the field (Marshall 53.6 percent, Charlotte 51.5 percent), and were nearly the same on 3-pointers (12 of 26 for the Herd, 10 of 15 for the 49ers). The difference came at the free throw line – Charlotte made 23 of 29, while Marshall was 9 of 14.
▪ Three other players scored in the double digits for Marshall – Jon Elmore had 27, Ryan Taylor 17 and Stevie Browning 14.
▪ Marshall coach Dan D’Antoni is the older brother of NBA coach Mike D’Antoni.
▪ The 49ers close out their four-game Conference USA homestand Saturday, hosting Western Kentucky. Game time is 6 p.m. at Halton Arena.
They said it
“Being out there with the freshmen, the little guys, all I have to do is get rebounds. I rebound for them to be confident to shoot it. I told them, ‘Be confident shooting; if you miss, you’ve got the best rebounder in the nation, so just shoot it. If you miss, I’m getting it.’ That gets me going, too.” – Uchebo.