The Charlotte 49ers recovered from their least productive half of this men’s basketball season on Saturday to take the Old Dominion Monarchs to overtime.
But they couldn’t quite close the deal in a 74-69 Conference USA loss in front of 4,646 fans at Halton Arena.
Senior center Joseph Uchebo scored 18 points and grabbed 19 rebounds to lead four players in double figures for the 49ers (8-15, 4-6), who had won three of their previous four games.
But they couldn’t overcome a 38-point performance by Old Dominion senior guard Trey Freeman, who outscored the 49ers by himself in the first half. Charlotte hit only 7 of 26 shots in the first half.
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Porter scored 19 before the break as the Monarchs (13-10, 6-4) grabbed a 27-17 halftime lead and hit a 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 65.
“We felt good about our defense in the first half and we got in a better offensive flow in the second half,” Charlotte coach Mark Price said. “It’s a tough way to lose, but we’re in there battling.”
The 49ers never led until Uchebo’s follow shot and free throw put them up 63-62 with 51.4 seconds left. A pair of free throws by Curran Scott made it 65-62 with 24 seconds left.
Three who mattered
Trey Freeman, Old Dominion: It wasn’t just the number of points scored by the senior guard, it was when he did it. A jumper and a pair of free throws to start the overtime period seemed to derail the momentum that the 49ers brought into the extra frame.
Joseph Uchebo, Charlotte: Scored 14 points in the second half. As dominating as his 19-rebound performance was, it was just his third highest total of the season.
Braxton Ogbueze, Charlotte: The junior guard also had a nice second half, with 13 points.
▪ Ogbueze, Scott and and guard Jon Davis each scored 15 points for Charlotte.
▪ The 49ers seemed to shake off their horrible first 20 minutes pretty quickly in the second half. They scored 14 points, just three short of the first-half total, in the first four minutes after the break.
▪ Charlotte was very good from the free throw line, hitting 16-of-18. All but two of those attempts came after halftime. “We were more aggressive with the ball in the second half and were able to create some contact and get to the line,” Price said.
They said it
▪ “We laid it on the line, and it’s disappointing that we didn’t end up with anything to show for it. Giving it all you’ve got was the only way I knew how to play and I’m glad I’ve got a bunch of guys that play the same way.” — Price
▪ The 49ers have lost five Conference USA games by five points or fewer. “We’re getting closer to winning one of these games,” Ogbueze said. “We’re knocking at the door and one of these days we’re going to kick it in.”
▪ The 49ers’ next two games are at Halton Arena, on Thursday against Rice and Saturday against North Texas. Tipoff for both is 7 p.m.