GAME NOTES: The 49ers will head south across the state border as Charlotte squares off with the College of Charleston Cougars in a non-conference bout at TD Arena.
The 49ers overcame a 2-of-17 shooting performance from beyond the arc and improved to 1-0 on the season as they downed East Tennessee State, 80-75, on Friday at Halton Arena. Charlotte won 15 of its first 17 games to begin the 2012-13 season, but could only add six more wins after entering Atlantic 10 Conference play. Coach Alan Major's squad has high hopes to compete for the Conference USA crown this season in its first year as a member of the league since 2005. The 49ers were proficient inside the 3-point line versus ETSU as they converted 23 of their 46 two-point field goal tries along with 28-of-35 attempts at the free-throw line.
Coach Doug Wojcik's second season as the Cougars head coach began with a 70-48 loss to the defending national champion Louisville Cardinals. The College of Charleston was clearly overmatched and allowed the Cardinals to score 27 of their points off of 21 turnovers. Louisville also held a sizeable, 36-18, advantage in points in the paint. The Cougars, who are in their first season as a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, are coming off a 24-11 campaign that resulted in a second place finish in the Southern Conference standings.
This will be the 16th meeting in history between Charlotte and the College of Charleston. This will be the first encounter between the two schools on the hardwood since Feb. 7, 1994 when the Cougars picked up a 71-64 decision over the 49ers. Charlotte holds a 9-6 all-time series lead.
Pierria Henry and Mike Thorne Jr. tallied 17 points apiece for Charlotte to power it to a season-opening win over the Buccaneers. Henry did most of his damage at the charity stripe, where he sank 9-of-11 attempts. Thorne and Shawn Lester tied for the team-high with nine rebounds each while Henry pulled down eight boards. Lester also tallied 15 points and four assists off the bench in his first appearance in a 49ers uniform. Terrence Williams struggled from the floor, hitting on just 2-of-12 of his field goal attempts, but contributed 10 points and a career-high four steals. Tulane transfer Ben Cherry got off to a slow start as he missed all five of his 3-point field goal tries.
Charleston was led by freshman Canyon Barry's 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field in its loss to Louisville. The rookie guard also committed six turnovers, while Joe Chealey finished with eight points and seven turnovers. Adjehi Baru had a solid showing despite the lopsided loss, posting eight points and nine rebounds with makes on all four of his field goal attempts. Chealey and Anthony Stitt combined to shoot 5-of-19 from the field, including an 0-of-5 clip from behind the 3-point line.
The Cougars will need much more efficiency out of their backcourt to come close to another 20-win campaign. Although the 49ers have a handful of new faces in their rotation, the newcomers appear to be ready to make their mark. Charlotte does not have a post player quite as reliable as Baru, but its guards and undersized forwards do enough to help out on the boards.
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