Charlotte let one get away Saturday at Western Kentucky.
The 49ers led the host Hilltoppers by as many as 18 points early on but faltered in the second half and fell 59-54 in E.A. Diddle Arena.
Charlotte (10-17, 6-8 Conference USA) turned the ball over 24 times, with 15 of those miscues coming in the second half.
Western Kentucky sophomore forward Justin Johnson put the Hilltoppers (13-14, 5-9) in front for good at 50-49 on a dunk with 1:23 left. After a Charlotte turnover, Western Kentucky senior guard Aaron Cosby nailed a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock to make the Hilltopper lead 53-49 with 39 seconds to go.
49ers freshman guard Jon Davis missed what would’ve been a game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds and Western Kentucky held on for the win.
The loss came one day after 49ers student manager Austin Rainey was killed in an automobile accident in Virginia. The 19-year-old’s death had a heavy impact on the team, coach Mark Price said.
“We talked about it but everyone processes those things in their own time in different ways,” Price said. “… Austin was really close to most of our players and so it was a big loss.”
Three who mattered
Jon Davis: The freshman guard scored 12 points – tying a game-high – but also committed eight of Charlotte’s 24 turnovers.
Joseph Uchebo: The 49ers’ senior center notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds but was held scoreless in the second half.
Nigel Snipes: All three of the Western Kentucky senior forward’s field goals were 3-pointers. He finished with 12 points.
▪ Charlotte was up 34-21 at halftime and led by as much as 18, at 30-12 with 5:13 left in the first half.
▪ The Hilltoppers were 21-of-26 from the foul stripe, while the 49ers went 6-of-12.
▪ Western Kentucky won despite shooting 30.2 percent compared to Charlotte’s 51.2 percent.
▪ Joseph Uchebo is two rebounds away from passing Kenyon Martin for the C-USA single-season record for rebounding in league games.
▪ Charlotte will come home for its next two games, hosting UTSA at 7 p.m. Thursday and UTEP at 7 p.m. Saturday.
They said it
“Turning the ball over 24 times in a game, there’s no way you can win like that. You’re basically giving the game away and that’s what we did tonight.” – Braxton Ogbueze, Charlotte junior guard