GAME NOTES: Matching up for the first time in history, the Charlotte 49ers and Louisiana Tech Bulldogs battle it out at the Thomas Assembly Center in Conference USA action Thursday night.
At home last Saturday, Charlotte slipped by North Texas in the final seconds, 76-74. With the win, the 49ers have now come out on top in their last two outings, and in four of their last five overall.
Louisiana Tech fell to Southern Miss last Sunday, 80-71. That snapped a seven- game win streak for the Bulldogs, and was their first conference loss of the season.
Terrence Williams hit the game-winning layup with one second left in the game to give the 49ers a thrilling victory over North Texas. Williams led the 49ers with 16 points, while Willie Clayton had a double-double consisting of 12 points and 12 rebounds, and reserve Shawn Lester added 11 points. Pierria Henry had a solid all-around game with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and three blocks. The Mean Green held a 58-47 advantage with over 12 minutes left before a 10-0 run by the 49ers got them back in the game and allowed Williams the opportunity to win it. The contest was an even affair, although the 49ers held a 42-28 advantage in the paint.
Lester leads the team in scoring this season with 12.2 ppg, followed closely by Henry at 12.1 ppg. Clayton has been a beast on the boards, averaging 9.2 rpg to go along with 11.8 ppg. Charlotte is averaging 76.2 ppg on 45.7 percent field goal efficiency.
Louisiana Tech was without leading scorer Raheem Appleby (16.1 ppg) in the recent loss to Southern Miss. In his absence, the Bulldogs were led by Alex Hamilton with 19 points, although he shot just 4-of-13 from the floor and missed all six of his 3-point attempts. Cordarius Johnson accounted for 14 points, Chris Anderson 13 and Kenneth Smith 12 points to go along with nine assists. The Golden Eagles outscored La Tech at the charity stripe, 28-14, and also crushed the Bulldogs on the glass, 48-26.
Appleby is scheduled to miss several weeks due to a sprained left ankle, which means that Hamilton (15.0 ppg) and Anderson (10.7 ppg) need to pick up the slack while he's on the mend. Luckily for the Bulldogs they have a balanced scoring attack that generates 84.5 ppg, thanks in large part to the effort of Kenneth Smith (6.8 ppg) and his impressive 6.8 apg, which is good for best in the league and seventh nationally.
With their top weapon on the shelf for a while, the Bulldogs will have to find some scoring to make up for his absence. The 49ers should be able to take advantage of this uncertain time for Louisiana Tech and go home with a victory.
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