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December 22, 2013

49ers survive scare from USC Upstate

The Charlotte 49ers gave up a 22 point halftime lead but were able to hold on and win against the USC Upstate Spartans with the final score of 81-76. Charlotte improves to 8-3 on the season while USC Upstate falls to 6-6.

Ben Cherry led the way for the 49ers with a career high 20 points on six three pointers. "Once I hit that first one, they really started looking for me," Cherry said after the game. "Pierria, Denzel, Terrence and Shawn did a really good job of finding me and then I did the easy part which was just knocking down open looks."

The 49ers went into halftime well in control with a 22 point lead over the Spartans despite being without starters Pierria Henry and Willie Clayton for most of the first half. "That was just a consequence of the Florida State situation," Charlotte head coach Alan Major said. "Both guys understood it and they apologized to their teammates."

USC Upstate's Torrey Craig scored 18 second half points and was the spark that got the Spartans back into the game. "I was glad to see him make a shot because he didn't make anything in the first half," USC Upstate head coach Eddie Payne said. "We finally got some stops and didn't give up second shots," he added.

Charlotte narrowly out rebounded the Spartans, 32-30, despite having a much bigger size advantage. The 49ers also had five more turnovers than USC Upstate, nine of which were in the second half.

In the final two minutes when the game was in the balance, Charlotte went 9-10 from the free throw line.

Given that free throw shooting consistency has been an issue for the 49ers all season, this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Head coach Alan Major stressed the importance of being able to play for a full 40 minutes no matter who the competition. "Tale of two halves, when you come out with a victory I think it's another way to learn," he said.

The Charlotte 49ers will have to do some learning outside of the classroom over the holiday season since they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Halton Arena next week.

Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. on December 29th. Be sure to check in with Niner Report for our game preview.

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