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January 15, 2012

Niners fall to SLU

As cliché as saying "a tale of two halves", that was exactly the case during the matchup between the Charlotte 49ers and visiting Saint Louis Billikens Saturday afternoon at Halton Arena. The 49ers led by as many as 14 in the first half, but would fall behind to the Billikens in the second half by 13. The 49ers would make one final run, but fell short 68-67 as the Billikens and 49ers both moved to 2-2 in conference play.

The 49ers seemingly had control during the first half as they held the Billikens to under 15 percent from distance and followed the hot shooting of Jarvarris Barnett, who led all scorers with 23. The 49ers would lead 27-13 with 4:38 left, but the Billikens would cut the lead to eight before the end of the half.

The second half would begin as the first ended, as the Billikens continued to get comfortable and cut into the 49ers lead. Cody Ellis and Mike McCall Jr. would key the Billikens' run as they combined for six 3-point field goals and a team high 17 and 16 points, respectively. The defense of coach Rick Majerus' Billikens forced the 49ers into 13 second half turnovers.

"We normally play good D (defense)," said Majerus. "They hit some tough shots in the first half."

The 49ers shot a solid 54 percent for the game, but it was the costly mistakes and stellar defense by Saint Louis that made the difference. "(We) got in a rush," Charlotte coach Alan Major said after the game. His team has now dropped back-to-back A-10 games after starting 2-0.

The 49ers will get a break from conference play on Wednesday as they host Kennesaw State. It will be Charlotte's last out of conference game for the year.

• Before the game Jamar "Deuce" Briscoe received a stand ovation and commemorative basketball, celebrating his 1,000 career points.
• This game marked the 25 meeting between St. Louis and Charlotte. SLU leads the series 14-11.
• The 22 turnovers committed by Charlotte matched the season high.
• Attendance: 6,538

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