CHARLOTTE - Charlotte outscored UNC Asheville 15-7 in overtime as the 49ers earned a hard-fought 71-63 victory over the Bulldogs Wednesday night at Halton Arena.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Asheville (6-8). The Bulldogs fought back from an eight-point deficit with three minutes left in regulation to tie the game at 56-56. Asheville had a chance to win the game as Keith Hornsby and Trent Meyer had shots in the final seconds of regulation but both shots missed.
The Bulldogs were led by Jeremy Atkinson with 16 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. Hornsby had the first double-double of his career with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Meyer finished with 14 points, while Jon Nwannunu added 10 points.
"We battled hard, but Charlotte just ran us out of our offense at times tonight," said Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We missed way too many lay-ups, inside shots and wide-open 3-pointers.
"We shot too many 3-pointers (23) tonight at times and settled for that shot too many times," added Biedenbach. "We're a young team that's still growing up, and tonight we learned a lot."
Charlotte was led by Willie Clayton with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Denzel Ingram added 16 points, 14 in the second half and overtime. DeMario Mayfield pumped in 15 points.
In overtime, the 49ers (12-2) scored the first eight points of the extra period as the Bulldogs could get no closer than six points the rest of the night. The home team went 11-of-15 from the free throw line in OT, while the Bulldogs had just three free throws.
Charlotte was 23-of-34 from the line for the game, while Asheville was 14-of-19 for the contest.
Asheville trailed 54-46 on a three-pointer from Daniel Ingram at the four-minute mark. Asheville quickly battled back. Meyer knocked down a trey to cut the lead to 54-49. Atkinson followed with two free throws to narrow the margin to 54-51.
Ingram struck again with a 15-footer to push the 49er lead at 56-51. But on Asheville's next possession, the Bulldogs out-hustled Charlotte to two offensive rebounds as Atkinson knocked down his first trey of the game to make it 56-54.
Atkinson tied the game at 56-56 when Meyer made a perfect pass to the senior forward for a lay-up at the one-minute mark.
Asheville's defense forced a shot-clock violation on the 49ers next possession allowing the Bulldogs to play for the final shot and a win. Hornsby made a nice move in the lane and his shot just rimmed out. The rebound was punched out to Meyer. His three-point attempt as the buzzer sounded just missed.
The first-half was a defensive struggle as each team shot 30 percent from the field. Hornsby led the Bulldogs with 8 points in the opening half. Charlotte was led by Clayton with seven points as the opening half was tied 25-25 at intermission.
Asheville shot a season-low .301 (22-of-73) from the field. Charlotte was 23-of-56 for .411 from the field.
UNC Asheville opens Big South Conference play Saturday evening at Liberty starting at 6 p.m.