Dominant defensive effort pushes Charlotte past UTSA, 72-54
Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Behind a stellar defensive effort and a trio of double-figure scorers, the Charlotte men’s basketball team led wire-to-wire and trounced UTSA, 72-54, on Saturday afternoon from inside Halton Arena.
The victory ended CLT’s (12-5, 3-3 C-USA) two-game losing skid, while extending the Roadrunners (7-11, 1-6 C-USA) losing streak to three heading into MLK Day.
On the defensive end, CLT forced 15 Roadrunner turnovers and held UTSA to just an 18 percent shooting clip from 3-point range (3-of-16) and a 36 percent clip from the field (17-of-47).
On the offensive end, Charlotte was led in scoring by sophomore Igor Milicic Jr. who poured in 16 points on five-of-nine shooting, while draining a trio of attempts from 3-point range. His performance marked his first double-figure scoring output in C-USA play and first since knocking off Detroit Mercy in early December.
The Rovinj, Croatia native was also a beast on the boards, pulling in a team-high-tying seven rebounds and tallied three steals and a pair of assists on the afternoon.
Junior Jackson Threadgill found his shooting stroke on Saturday, scoring 14 points in 28 minutes of action, ending the day 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point land. He also tallied three boards and a pair of assists.
Sophomore Aly Khalifa was the third Niner to finish in double-figures, scoring 12 points, pulling in seven rebounds and dishing out three assists, while concluding the contest with a +/- of +21 in just 21 minutes of game time.
Off the bench, junior Brice Williams and sophomore Isaiah Folkes were spark plugs on both ends of the floor, combining for 17 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals in 20+ minutes for each on the afternoon.
Despite not scoring, grad transfer Montre’ Gipson ended his day +16 and tallied four assists and a steal in 23 minutes of action.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Niners jumped on the Roadrunners early, taking an, 8-0, lead in the afternoon’s opening three minutes. Following a bit of push back from UTSA, CLT slowly increased its lead to as many as 17 in the first half, with a number of consecutive defensive stops and timely buckets.
Heading into the break, the 49ers withstood a late half offensive burst from the Roadrunners to take a, 34-22, lead into the locker room.
Out of the break, the Niners maintained thorough control for the afternoon’s final 20 minutes, stretching its lead to as many as 24, before walking away with an 18-point dub.
THE DEFENSE IS JUST SPECIAL IN HALTON
Saturday’s result marked the fourth time the 49ers have held an opponent to fewer than 60 points at home, upping the 49ers home ledger to 8-0 on the 2022-23 campaign.
Charlotte’s defense has held opponents to fewer than 70 points in all but one contest inside Halton Arena and have held opponents to fewer than 40 percent shooting from the field on four occasions, including Saturday’s victory.
FRONTCOURT DUO FINDS GROOVE VS. UTSA
The frontcourt pair of Igor Milicic Jr. and Aly Khalifa combined for 28 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a +/- of +38 in Saturday’s win. The pair also shot 11-of-17 from the field and were highly efficient on both ends of the floor vs. the Roadrunners.
Charlotte returns to action for an MLK Day matinee on Monday afternoon against UTEP. The opening tip between the 49ers and Miners is slated for 4 p.m. ET
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