Williams and Khalifa Help Charlotte Top WKU, 75-71
Press release provided by Charlotte 49ers Athletics
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Behind a pair of 20-point performances from Brice Williams and Aly Khalifa, the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team defeated the WKU Hilltoppers, 75-71, inside of E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday evening (Jan. 21).
The victory snaps a four-game losing skid away from home for the 49ers (13-7, 4-5 C-USA) and keeps CLT above the Hilltoppers (11-9, 3-6 C-USA) in the Conference USA standings. It was Charlotte’s third victory at Diddle Arena in what could be the team’s final trip to the arena with the Niners leaving the conference after this season.
Williams led the way for Charlotte with 27 points, with 20 of those coming in the second half. Khalifa had a career-high 22 points, scoring 18 of his in the first 20 minutes. Jackson Threadgill joined the duo in double figures with 10 points in the contest. CLT’s big duo of Williams and Khalifa also paced the Green and White on the glass, each tying for the team lead with seven boards. It was a collective rebounding effort for the entire team as eight different Niners hauled one in to outrebound WKU by six. Lu’Cye Patterson was the lead distributor for Charlotte with five assists while Montre’ Gipson was close behind with four.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Khalifa was a menace from the start, scoring 10 of Charlotte’s first 12 points. Josh Aldrich and Williams both made three off the bench to push the Niners’ lead to seven, 20-13, less than 10 minutes into the contest.
WKU battled to tie the game up but CLT immediately responded with the next five, three of which came at the stripe from Aldrich. The Green and White pushed the lead up to as many as 11 in the final minutes of the first half thanks to a deep three from Threadgill and a second-chance bucket from Khalifa to give him 18 in the half - one shy of his season-high. The Hilltoppers hit one final shot before the break, cutting Charlotte’s lead to eight, 38-30, heading into the locker room.
Williams replicated Khalifa in the second half, dropping in 20 after the break. The game remained a two-to-three-possession affair in favor of the Niners until the eight-minute mark of the frame when the Hilltoppers cut the lead to three. That was immediately answered by back-to-back triples from Threadgill and Williams to push the lead back out to nine, the largest lead of the second half.
Williams scored eight consecutive points for Charlotte to keep the hosts out of reach for the next 10 minutes. WKU kept hanging around and made it a one-possession game again in the final minute. The Hilltoppers cut the lead to two points with under 40 seconds left and forced Charlotte to take a timeout with good defense on the inbound play.
The 49ers got the ball in and found Williams inside, where he was fouled with a chance to shoot two with 12 seconds on the clock. He stepped to the line and drained both, making it a four-point game. Charlotte’s defense still needed to make one more stop and was up to the challenge, denying a pair of WKU triples in the final seconds to hang on for the win.
Charlotte wraps up its three-game road trip on Thursday (Jan. 26) at Rice. Tip inside of Tudor Fieldhouse is slated for 8 p.m. ET.
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