BOCA RATON, Fla. – Behind three double-figure scorers and timely free throw shooting, the Charlotte 49ers (7-7, C-USA: 3-3) defeated Florida Atlantic (8-7, C-USA: 3-3), 74-71, on the road to earn a split in the Conference USA series.
Jahmir Young scored 25 points while shooting 13-for-16 from the free throw line. Jordan Shepherd scored 19 points and hit 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Jhery Matos rounded out the 49ers double-figure scorers with 10 points. Brice Williams added eight points and Anzac Rissetto had seven points off the bench.
The 49ers shot 81 percent (34-42) from the free throw line, including 18-of-23 in the second half.
HOW IT HAPPENED
FIRST HALF – Florida Atlantic scored nine of the first 11 points but Charlotte answered with an 11-2 run to take a 13-11 lead. With the game tied at 13 with 9:49 on the clock the 49ers scored 12 of the next 14 points to open up a 25-15 lead when Williams scored inside with 6:20 left in the half. Marvin Cannon converted two free throws to start the run. Jhery Matos, Young and Williams also scored during the run.
FAU cut Charlotte’s lead to six points with under two minutes left in the half but free throws by Young and Rissetto in the final minutes gave the 49ers a 39-29 halftime lead.
FAU scored 13 of the first 16 points of the second half to tie the score at 42 with 14:24 on the clock. Charlotte went on a 7-0 run to regain the lead. Matos started the 49ers’ run with a three from the wing. Shepherd and Williams both knocked down baskets during the run. FAU scored seven straight points tying the score at 49. With the score tied at 54 with six minutes on the clock, Young scored four straight points and two free throws by Matos gave the 49ers the lead for good, 60-54. FAU cut Charlotte’s lead to one point, 67-66 with one and a half minutes left in regulation. A layup and a dunk by Shepherd helped Charlotte widen the gap and free throws from Cannon, Shepherd and Young closed out the victory for the 49ers.
“This team has shown the perseverance to continue forward even after they haven’t had success on Friday night,” Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez said. “It is very encouraging to see that level of commitment and unity. They showed some mental toughness down the stretch to close the game out. I think we learned a little bit more today. I think we just took one step further to becoming the team we want to be.”
· Jahmir Young scored 25 points for his eighth 20-point scoring game of the season and the 34th double-figure scoring game of his career.
· Jordan Shepherd tallied his tenth double-figure scoring game of the season and the 32nd of his career with his 19 points.
· Jhery Matos scored in double-digits for the sixth time this season with his 10 points.
· Charlotte connected on a season-high 34 free throws on a season-high 42 free throw attempts.
The 49ers return to Halton Arena to play a two-game series against Conference USA foe FIU next weekend, January 29-30.