Friday, March 14, 2008

Mack makes up for Wednesday

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- About 30 minutes before Thursday night's Atlantic 10 quarterfinal game between Charlotte and Massachusetts, 49ers forward Lamont Mack came over to where I was sitting on press row.

He said hello. He always calls me "Mr. Utter," which of course makes me feel old. He said he just wanted to let me know that he was going to make sure I had something good to write about after Thursday's game.

"I didn't have a very good game last night," he said, "so I owe you one."

Little did I know.

Mack had struggled in Wednesday's win over Rhode Island and finished with a single point. He had, however, played well defensively. I think in some way he still felt he let the team down and was looking forward to making up for it.

UMass ran out to a 36-19 lead at halftime. Charlotte was getting good looks at the basket but shot just 22.9 percent in the half. Mack had four points.

Of course, there is a reason they play the second half.

UMass quickly went out to an 18-point lead before Mack began his attack. He hit two free throws. After a UMass miss, he drained a long 3-pointer. He scored 13 of Charlotte's first 17 points after halftime, part of a 31-9 run the 49ers used to turn a 17-point deficit to a three point lead.

Mack was just one of several Charlotte players to play an important role in a memorable win. Leemire Goldwire took over in the end, hitting three 3-pointers in the final 3:19 of the game.

In any case, Mack more than made up for his performance on Wednesday. And win or lose, Charlotte and Mack's effort to come back -- their unwillingness to give up -- produced one of best college basketball performances I have ever seen.

12 comments:

ChevEE said...

I love the heart, determination and confidence of this team! Do it again Mack! After talking to some about the game at half time last night that said the Niners were done and to stick a fork in them; I realized that this team knows no fork. Go Niners!

NLP said...

Mack and Coley are two of the true unsung heroes of college basketball, and the really shined last night along with Leemire. Major props also to Dijuan Harris and his good defense on Chris Lowe and of course the rest of the team as well. FORTY

UNCC98 said...

This team definitely has heart!

They are starting to remind me of the team a few years back that went to the Conference USA tourney and won 4 in 4 nights to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Let's hope they can keep it up and play like we all know they can.

Go Niners!

Anonymous said...

Speechless....Alls I can say is that, I feel like a tool bag for ripping Goldwire during his slump a month ago.

Justin Ritchie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Ritchie said...

Regardless of where the Niners end up in the A10 tourney, no other bubble team and few other teams have 9 Top 100 RPI wins. That is an amazing outcome for a team that was less than dismal last year which lost a ton of seniors. For 9 new players the Niners are having one of the most upbeat and exciting seasons ever. Lutz has turned the program around!

Anonymous said...

At that time, when he was struggling, Lee deserved to be criticized.

But obviously to be fair, he deserves the praise when he does something like he does the past 2 nights.

Thank you Lee for putting the earlier struggles behind you and keeping the focus where it needs to be.

As much fun as last night was, there are bigger objectives in the grand scheme of things.

one game @ a time.

FORTY

NINERS

FORTY

NINERS

FORTY

NINERS

FORTY

NINERS

FORTY
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Anonymous said...

You guys need to learn, if it's a good shot when he makes it, it's a good shot when he takes it.

Jon said...

niner= N from N.I.T.

Anonymous said...

i was the bus driver for the team while they were in AC NJ and i was sad to see them go but the team has nothing to put there heads down about i would like to see temple come from behind two nights in a row and then play a third game and stay with the second place team most of the game.THEY played there hearts out and they will the A 10 next yr GO NINERS WE ARE 40 9ERS ALL THE GUYS ON THE TEAM AND THE CACHES WERE GREAT I DROVE THEM LAST YR NAME IS BRYAN BOKEN BUS DRIVER FROM ATLANTIC CITY NJ

Anonymous said...

i will watch them and root for them on wednesday in NIT TOURNEY AND I WILL WATCH EVERY GAME THAT I CAN AGAIN NAME IS BRYAN BOKEN FROM ATLANTIC CITY NJ

Anonymous said...

Bryan:
Thanks for pointing out they are good guys. We love 'em. I hope they win at Nebraska. The Husters are 16-3 at home and only won a total of 19 games so they will be a tough assignment. Maybe the bus driver in Lincoln will be as good as you!
Mark