GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers will be looking to extend a two-game win streak as they travel to New Orleans to face the Tulane Green Wave in Conference USA action at Devlin Fieldhouse.
Charlotte won each of its last two games - both at home - and will now hit the road to face Tulane in a conference matchup. The 49ers defeated FIU, 73-61, on Saturday to improve to 5-3 in conference standings.
Tulane has been heading in the other direction for each of its last two games, having lost both of them, including a 78-47 trouncing by Southern Miss. Tulane is 3-4 in Conference USA play this year.
The 49ers hold the advantage in the all-time series with Tulane, 15-8. The last time these teams met on the court was back in 2005, when Charlotte defeated the Green Wave in New Orleans.
Charlotte jumped ahead of FIU in the team's last outing, leading the Golden Panthers at the half, 30-21. The nine-point cushion allowed the 49ers to cruise through the second half to the victory. Ben Cherry notched a team-high 17 points for Charlotte, while both Willie Clayton and Shawn Lester each tallied 13 points. Mike Thorne Jr. chipped in 12, and Pierria Henry added 10 in the win. The 49ers shot 50.9 percent from the floor in the contest.
Lester, who has only started one game this season, provides a spark for the team off the bench. He leads the team in scoring through the 49ers' 21 games played with a 13 ppg average on 45 percent shooting. Henry is second on the team in scoring at 12.2 ppg with a team-best 124 assists, and Clayton is third with 11.9 ppg and a team-best 9.2 rpg average. Terrence Williams rounds out the double-digit scorers for the team with 10.5 ppg.
Tulane didn't pose much of a threat to Southern Miss in Saturday's Conference USA showdown. USM jumped out ahead 35-23 at the half and exploded in the second frame for 43 points. The Green Wave barely matched their first-half total with 24 points in the period. Louis Dabney paced the Green Wave with 14 points, and Jonathan Stark was the only other Tulane player in double figures with 11 points. The Green Wave shot 38.2 percent from the floor.
Dabney and Stark have taken over the top scoring roles, with Jay Hook also manning a solid presence in the scoring department. Dabney leads the team with 16.9 ppg this season, and Stark is second at 15.4 ppg. Stark tops the team with 88 assists on the year as well. Hook contributes 14.3 ppg on 44.3 percent shooting from the floor. Tre Drye is the team's top rebounder at 6.7 rpg.
Averaging just 65.5 ppg this season, it seems the Tulane offense might have some trouble keeping pace with Charlotte's 74.3 ppg. The 49ers are fighting to get back in the conference race, and being just a game and a half back, every win is vital.
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