The Charlotte 49ers defeated ACC opponent Wake Forest 67-65 in a thrilling, wire-to-wire overtime matchup.
“I’m pretty pleased to come out with a two-point victory,” said Charlotte Head Coach Ron Sanchez. “We’re very happy and pleased with the results, [but] we have a lot to learn from this game.”
Freshman point guard Jahmir Young led the 49ers with 24 points on 8-12 shooting from the field and 4-5 on three-point field goals. Young also contributed four rebounds, three assists and three steals in 41 minutes of play.
“Jahmir comes from one of the best high school basketball programs in the country,” said Sanchez. “When we ask Jahmir to do something, we’re not the first coaches to ask him to do that. That’s why we’re glad he chose to play for us.”
Charlotte got off to a quick start in the first half as Jordan Shepherd and Amidou Bamba effectively ran a two-man game to contribute five points to the 49ers’ 13-4 opening-first half run. Young aided the 49ers during their 13-4 run by scoring on two driving layups, hitting a three and having two steals. The 49ers also played a suffocating team defense. During this stretch, Charlotte only allowed the Demon Deacons to make 22 percent of their shots and by forcing 3 turnovers.
The Demon Deacons, however, slowly and methodically worked their way back into the game and trimmed the 49ers lead. Wake Forest point guard Brandon Childress led the Demon Deacons’ back into the game by scoring five points while forwards Chanudee Brown and Andrien White each contributed four points. Additionally, Wake Forest clamped down on defense and forced eight Charlotte turnovers during their climb back into contention. The Demon Deacons claimed their first lead since the 17:05 mark when Brown hit a deep two-point shot with 2:42 left in the first half. The Deacons extended their lead to three before Young tied the game at 29-29 with a three-point basket before halftime.
Out of the halftime break, the 49ers went on a 9-4 run to claim a 36-31 edge. Charlotte was able to sustain the five-point margin until Wake Forest responded by scoring five unanswered points to tie the game at 38-38. The run urged Sanchez to call a timeout.
Charlotte forward Malik Martin scored four points out of the timeout break to guide Charlotte on a 4-0 run that put them up 42-38. Eventually, Wake Forest tied the game at 48-48, resulting in a Sanchez timeout again.
Charlotte scored six unanswered points to put themselves ahead 54-48 with 4:24 left in the game. Wake Forest responded with their own 6-0 run as Childress hit a contested three to tie the game at 54 points each with 1:22 left in the game.
Later, Martin connected on his lone three-point shot of the game to give Charlotte a 57-54 edge with only 33 seconds remaining. Wake Forest tied the game at 57-57 with 16 seconds left as Ishamel Massoud connected on a highly-contested three-point shot.
Young got a clean look from beyond the arc with a chance to win the game but failed to convert and sent the game to overtime.
In overtime, the Demon Deacons struggled offensively and went scoreless through the first two minutes. In contrast, Charlotte’s offense was firing on all cylinders as six unanswered points to start the overtime period. Childress trimmed the 49ers’ lead to three with 44 seconds left in the game. With ten seconds left, Childress shot a three to send the game to double overtime, but the shot rimmed out. This ending sent Halton Arena into an emphatic wave of cheering as the 49ers held on for a 67-65 victory.
“It felt like we were an engine leaking oil down the stretch, but we found a way to reach the finish line,” said Sanchez.
Charlotte looks to build upon their signature win on Thursday, Nov. 21 on the road against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
“We’ll watch the film from this game, we will learn and we will celebrate the things we did well,” said Sanchez.