Friday, February 26, 2010

Dewhurst to forgo final season as 49er

Charlotte 49ers junior forward Charles Dewhurst has decided to forgo his final season of eligibility to pursue post-graduate studies at another school.

Dewhurst, who starred at Charlotte Latin, is in the process of completing his fourth season with the 49ers and will graduate in May. Dewhurst sat out his first season as a redshirt.

Dewhurst, a business marketing major, hoped to continue his post-graduate studies in Charlotte’s Sports Management graduate program. However, the program has been suspended and no longer taking new applicants.

“This is nothing against the basketball program,” said Dewhurst, who will join the marketing office at The Basketball Times as an intern after this season.

“I’ll finish the season strong and I wish the team the best in the future. Unfortunately, the (graduate) program that I’ve been looking to isn’t being offered anymore.”

Dewhurst missed his first season due to an injury and missed the second half of last season after injuring his knee in a game at Maryland in January 2008. In between, has been one of the 49ers’ most athletic players and a strong rebounder.

“Charles has been a huge part of our program over the past four years and has overcome much adversity due to injuries,” Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. “I respect his decision and regret that his career choice is no longer offered at UNC Charlotte.

“While I wish he would stay, I understand and support his decision to choose what is best for his future.”

Dewhurst is averaging 3.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in about 15 minutes of play this season. He is the team’s fourth-leading rebounder and is third in assists (39). He leads the team in free throw shooting percentage (82.2 percent).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Observations from Wednesday's win over Saint Joseph's

-While Charlotte’s offense was far more in tune Wednesday night, so was the 49ers’ defense. Four times in the first half Charlotte played tough defense and forced the Hawks to launch a desperation shot before the shot clock expired. The first three St. Joseph’s missed, the last one went in.

-Hawks coach Phil Martelli said he noticed something about the 49ers early-on. “They were very verbal on the court but not in a disparaging way; they were talking to each other. They seemed to be very clear on what they were trying to do against us on both sides of the floor,” he said. Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz constantly reminds his team in practices good on-court communication in essential to good execution.

-The 49ers’ 50-23 halftime advantage set two new season highs and tied another. The 50 first-half points tied for the most in the first half this season; Charlotte’s at one time 29-point lead was the biggest first-half lead of the season and its 27-point halftime margin was the 49ers’ biggest of the season.

-For most of the final three minutes in the game, Charlotte had three walk-ons – Colby Lewis, Trevin Parks and Kyle Church – playing on the court and actually increased its lead, eventually settling for its 37-point margin of victory.

-Lutz showed up sporting a green blazer Wednesday night, intent on trying any method to help the 49ers end their three-game losing streak. The change came at the suggestion of his wife, Janet.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

49ers top South Carolina, move to 7-0

Charlotte's ace pitcher Emily Jeffrey struck out 17 batters to lead the 49ers to a 8-1 softball victory at South Carolina on Tuesday and broke the school's single-game record for strikeouts in the process.

Jeffery, a senior from Matthews who starred at Butler High, previously held the record of 15 strikeouts set against Saint Bonaventure last April.

"It was an outstanding performance by Emily and our offense was explosive as well so overall it was a great team effort," said Charlotte coach Aimee DeVos.

Jeffery struck out every batter in the lineup except the ninth batter, Hannah Milks, and fanned the first two batters, Lauren Lackey and Briana Hamilton, a combined seven times. The 49ers (7-0) totaled 13 hits in the game, including four singles in the fourth inning and three singles in the sixth.

Looking ahead: Saint Joseph's Hawks

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7:30 p .m. Wednesday when it hosts Saint Joseph's at Halton Arena. Charlotte lost the teams' last meeting, 72-62, in last season's Atlantic 10 tournament.

Here's a look at the Hawks' roster.

Here's a look at the Hawks' statistics.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Three 49ers earn Atlantic 10 honors

Baseball Rookie of the Week
Corbin Shive
Freshman, RHP, 6-2, 195 lbs.
Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan HS
Shive earned a victory in his collegiate debut on Feb. 20 as Charlotte edged High Point, 6-4…allowed two runs on three hits over five innings…registered a pair of strikeouts.

Softball Player of the Week
Whitney Williams
Junior, Outfield, Mocksville, N.C./Davie County HS
Williams was named First Pitch Classic Most Valuable Player for her nine-hit performance throughout the weekend, including four runs scored, while leading Charlotte to the tournament title and an undefeated start to the season at 6-0.

Women’s Tennis Rookie of the Week
Alexandra Zinn
Freshman, Trelleborg, Sweden/Procivitas
Charlotte’s top singles player helped the 49ers capture their first two victories of the spring season…picked up wins over Wofford’s Sabrina Smyers, 6-2, 6-1, and North Carolina A&T’s Winnie Quick, 7-6 (7-0), 6-3…teamed with Andrea Rivera at No. 1 doubles to nab wins over Wofford, 8-1, and North Carolina A&T, 8-1.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

49ers win First Pitch Classic

The Charlotte 49ers softball team won the First Pitch Classic, beating Stony Brook 1-0 Sunday in the championship game at the D.L. Phillips Complex.

Emily Jeffery was named Most Valuable Pitcher with her 3-0 record on the weekend, while Whitney Williams was named Most Valuable Player for her performance.

Jeffery converted her first shutout of the season, while picking up her fourth win of the season. The senior pitcher from Matthews struck out seven on the day to push her season total to 42, while her ERA dropped to 1.25 in the process.

The 49ers are now 6-0 on the season.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

49ers softball advances to title game

The Charlotte 49ers softball team swept two games from Toledo Saturday in the First Pitch Classic at the D.L. Phillips Complex to advance to Sunday's championship game. The 49ers (5-0) will face Stony Brook at 1 p.m. Sunday.

In the 49ers' final game of round-robin play, Charlotte came away with a 7-4 victory over Toledo to secure the No. 1 seed going in the semifinals, where they once again faced Toledo, this time winning 4-1 behind a Natalyn Blanton home run in the fourth inning and 10 strikeouts by pitcher Emily Jeffery.

Stony Brook defeated St. Francis, 9-1, in Saturday's second semifinal to advance to the championship game against Charlotte.

Observations from Saturday's loss to Xavier

-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz went to his bench far more frequently on Saturday. In all, 12 players saw action and nine played 10 or more minutes. During the 49ers’ recent seven-game winning streak, Lutz had stayed with a fairly eight or nine-man rotation. “It’s not that we don’t have confidence in the other guys, it’s just when you’re winning, you stick with (the same group),” Lutz said. “We’re going to play more guys and we’ll continue to do that game-by-game.”

-Fans certainly got the message Saturday for the planned “whiteout” as almost everyone in attendance wore white. The crowd was anxious – students camped overnight to get the choice seats in their section – and looking for a win. One of the best signs: “This town. This city. This crowd.”

-Sophomore shooting guard Derrio Green led the way for Charlotte with 23 points but they didn’t come easy. He was 6-of-17 from the floor, including a 3-of-12 performance from behind the 3-point line. He did score the 49ers’ final 10 points of the game.

-The 49ers had a handful of potential recruits on hand for Saturday’s game including point guard Tyler Lewis of Forsyth Country Day, the younger brother of Charlotte walk-on Colby Lewis; Waddell High’s 6-foot-8 center Javron Pressley; and Butler High junior guard Anthony Stitt.

-Sophomore forward Javarris Barnett suffered a fracture in his left pinky finger in practice this week. He can still play and wore “buddy tape” – taping his pinky to the adjacent finger.

Friday, February 19, 2010

49ers vs. Xavier officially a sellout

Late word Friday night that Saturday's Atlantic 10 showdown between the Charlotte 49ers and Xavier is officially sold out. The game, which is at 2 p.m. at Halton Arena, is also homecoming for the 49ers and billed as a "Whiteout" - with all fans attending asked to wear white.

The game will be broadcast on CBS College Sports (regional).

Looking ahead: Xavier Musketeers

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 2 p .m. Saturday when it hosts Xavier at Halton Arena. Charlotte lost the teams' previous meeting this season, 86-74, in Cincinnati.

Here's a look at the Musketeers' roster.

Here's a look at the Musketeers' statistics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Check out this story on Ashley Spriggs

Senior Charlotte 49ers women's basketball player Ashley Spriggs has made great strides in her career. She leads the team in minutes played (32 per game), is second on team in scoring (averaging just under 10 points a game) and season in steals and blocks.

Her hometown paper in Maryland recently did a feature on Spriggs. Check it out here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Observations from Wednesday's loss to Duquesne

-Why is it that Charlotte seems to bring out the best of an opponent’s worst trait? Duquesne, which entered Wednesday’s game last in the 14-team Atlantic 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (25.5 percent) – and one of the worst in the country – opened up the first half making two of its first three from long-range and was 5-of-12 for the half (41.7 percent). The Dukes ended the game making 8-of-22 3-pointers (36.4 percent).

-With 10½ minutes left in the first half, Duquesne’s Lucas Newton got a wide-open look for layup but he lofted the ball so softly, it hit the bottom of the rim. Charlotte freshman Chris Braswell grabbed the rebound but referee Mark Schnur called the basket good as a result of goaltending. With Charlotte players and coaches begging for an explanation, the referee said the net was touched by Charlotte. If the net moved at all, it was only because the ball hit it on the way down.

-Former North Mecklenburg standout Andre Marhold is seeing limited minutes this season for Duquesne. Prior to Wednesday, Marhold had played in 15 games and averaging less than a point and rebound a game. He played a season-high 16 minutes in the Dukes’ Dec. 9 loss at West Virginia. Marhold played six minutes Wednesday, all in the first half, and was 0-for-2 from the field.

-Uncharacteristically bad night from Charlotte’s backcourt. Point guard DiJuan Harris had 15 points, four assists and two steals but also had a game-high eight turnovers. Shooting guard Derrio Green played 30 minutes and finished with 13 points, two assists and two steals but was 4-of-13 from the field, including 2-of-9 on 3-pointers. Green also fouled out with less than two minutes left in the game.

Less than 150 tickets remain for Xavier

As of late Thursday, less than 150 general public tickets remained for Saturday's men's basketball game between the Charlotte 49ers and Xavier Musketeers, which also serves as the 49ers' homecoming game. Game time is 2 p.m.

According to John George, Assistant Athletic Director for Ticket Operations, the student section of approximately 4,500 seats should be sold out as well.

Tickets remain for tonight's game with Duquesne as well as home games next Wednesday against Saint Joseph's and March 6 against Richmond. For ticket information, call 704 687 4949.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Looking ahead: Duquesne Dukes

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p .m. Wednesday when it plays Duquesne at Halton Arena. Charlotte lost last year's lone meeting, 76-71, in Pittsburgh.

Here's a look at the Dukes' roster.

Here's a look at the Dukes' statistics.

49ers homecoming will be mostly white

Once again, the Charlotte 49ers are promoting a "whiteout" for their home men's basketball game with Alantic 10 Conference rival Xavier, which this season also serves as homecoming. The game is 2 p.m. Saturday at Halton Arena.

Charlotte fans are encouraged to wear white to the game. The official "WHITEOUT" T-shirt is available for $9.95 at Barnes and Noble at UNC Charlotte. T-shirts will also be available and at the Barnes and Noble kiosk at Halton Arena during Wednesday's game with Duquesne.

In addition, fans with tickets to Saturday's basketball game can use the stub for free admission to Saturday's baseball home opener against High Point at 4 p.m. at Hayes Stadium.

Monday, February 15, 2010

49ers golf picked to repeat as A-10 champs

After winning its fourth straight conference title a year ago, Charlotte has been tabbed to retain its crown and win the 2010 Atlantic 10 Golf Championship in voting conducted by the league’s head coaches.

Xavier, last year’s runner up, has been picked second, while Richmond is third in the voting.

Defending A-10 individual champion Corey Nagy is the top returner for Charlotte. The three-time All-Conference selection and 2010 Ben Hogan Award candidate was the lone player to shoot under par for the 54-hole A-10 championship a year ago.

Nagy is joined by Paul Ferrier, an All-Conference pick who finished fifth overall, and sophomore Tyler Mitchell, who capped a strong freshman campaign by finishing in a tie for 12th place at the 2009 championship.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nagy named to Hogan Award Watch List

Charlotte 49ers senior Corey Nagy, a three-time all-America and defending Atlantic 10 individual champion, has been named to the watch list for the 2010 Ben Hogan Award. The award recognizes the top amateur player in college golf.

The Hogan Award semifinalists will be announced April 14. The three finalists named on May 11 will be invited to Colonial Country Club in Fourth Worth, Texas, for the Hogan Award presentation on May 24.

Hogan Award Watch List
(in alphabetical order)

Knut Borsheim, Arizona State

Bud Cauley, Alabama

David Chung, Stanford

Derek Ernst, UNLV

Oscar Floren, Texas Tech

Dustin Garza, Wichita State

Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest

John Hahn, Kent State

Hunter Hamrick, Alabama

Russell Henley, Georgia

Matt Hill, NC State

Morgan Hoffmann, Oklahoma State

Sihwan Kim, Stanford

Kelly Kraft, SMU

Scott Langley, Illinois

Seath Lauer, Florida State

Corey Nagy, Charlotte

John Peterson, LSU

Jonathan Randolph, Mississippi

Nick Taylor, Washington

Kevin Tway, Oklahoma State

Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State

Diego Velasquez, Oregon State

Trent Whitekiller, Oklahoma State

Steve Ziegler, Stanford

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Looking ahead: Dayton Flyers

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7 p .m. Wednesday when it plays at Dayton at UD Arena. Charlotte won last season's meeting, 79-66, at Halton Arena.

Here's a look at the Flyers' roster.

Here's a look at the Flyers' statistics.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

49ers women's bball team seeing pink

The Charlotte 49ers women's basketball team puts its 10-game home winning streak on the line when it faces Atlantic 10 rival St. Bonaventure at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Halton Arena. The 49ers (14-9, 7-2) have added some "color" to the game as well.

The game is part of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone initiative, an effort by coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness in the sport and on college campuses. All fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game and the first 750 fans will receive a free pink pom pom.

Charlotte fans can purchase a basketball Pink Zone T-shirt for $5 until game time at the 49ers Ticket Office window. Net during normal business hours. Net proceeds from the sale of the shirts will benefit the WBCA/Kay Yow Breast Cancer Fund.

49ers make it to Dayton

The winter storm that's sweeping through the Midwest today didn't prevent the Charlotte 49ers' basketball team from arriving in Dayton for their game Wednesday against the Dayton Flyers.

The 49ers were on a direct flight from Charlotte to Dayton that left early this afternoon and arrived on time. Although there's plenty of snow on the ground there, according to sports information director Tom Whitestone, it hasn't been enough to close the Dayton airport.

We'll have a story in Wednesday's Observer about how lousy weather is a fact of life in the Atlantic 10. -- David Scott

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Enjoy the view from top 49ers fans

Conference, Overall

Charlotte 8-1, 18-5
Xavier 8-2, 16-7
Rhode Island 7-2, 19-3
Richmond 7-2, 18-6
Temple 7-2, 19-5
Dayton 5-3, 16-6
Saint Louis 5-3, 14-8
Duquesne 3-6, 12-11
La Salle 3-6, 11-12
St. Bonaventure 2-5, 9-11
Saint Joseph's 2-6, 8-14
George Washington 2-7, 12-10
Massachusetts 2-7, 8-15
Fordham 0-9, 2-19

Spears shares A-10 player of week honors

Charlotte 49ers junior forward Shamari Spears was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's co-player of the week after leading the 49ers to wins over George Washington and Fordham the past week.

Spears scored a career-high 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting in Wednesday's win over the Colonials. He earned his second double-double of the season with 15 points and 13 rebounds in Charlotte's come-from-behind win Saturday at Fordham. The Fordham game was Spears' second 13-rebound game of the season.

The 49ers (18-5, 8-1) return to action on Wednesday, playing at Dayton.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Looking ahead: Fordham Rams

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 2 p .m. Saturday when it plays Fordham at Rose Hill Gym. Charlotte won last season's meeting, 73-55, at Halton Arena.

Here's a look at the Rams' roster.

Here's a look at the Rams' statistics.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Did the referee really ask that?

Let me set the stage: Shortly into the second half of the Charlotte 49ers' 72-68 win over George Washington, referee Mike Eades whistled the 49ers for a foul while the teams were battling for an offensive rebound. Eades claimed the foul was on George Washington player Lasan Kromah.

Before Kromah went to the line, Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, as well as point guard DiJuan Harris, continued to ask Eades to make sure it was Kromah that was the player fouled. They believed it was another GW player.

Kromah was allowed to go ahead and shoot the first free throw, which he made. Lutz continued to tell Eades the wrong player was shooting free throws and that's when the most bizarre episode took place I have witnessed in the hundreds of college basketball games I have covered.

Before Kromah could take his next shot, Eades walked into the lane, stood in front of Kromah face-to-face and asked him if he was the player fouled. Kromah said 'Yes' and was allowed to take his second shot, which he hit.

Now under the rules, referees have a responsibility to determine whether the correct player is shooting free throws and are encouraged to look at replays to make sure the call is right. However, Wednesday's game was not on TV and there was no replay available.

By the rules, the matter should have ended there. No replay, no change in the call.

Instead, what Eades decided to do was this: Ask a player of a visiting team, standing in the middle of an arena of screaming fans, in a see-saw game to tell the world whether he intentionally was taking free throws that were meant for another player.

Now, I don't know Lasan Kromah. He may be the most honest college basketball in the world. But I do know this: Eades didn't know Kromah's character any better than I did. And interrogating players about whether or not they were fouled and should be shooting free throws in no way should be a part of the game. What answer would anyone expect to hear?

To be fair, I submitted a question to Eades after the game. According to rules, media may ask questions of officials but they must be submitted by a disinterested third party. I wrote down my question, which was this: "Did referee Mike Eades ask George Washington player No. 20 if he was the player that was fouled?" Tom Whitestone, the assistant athletic director for the 49ers, found a third party and submitted the question. And I got a reply.

Here is Eades' response in its entirety. I will let it speak for itself and you decide whether his answer describes actions that should be a regular part of college basketball games.

Eades: "Initially, we were all confident No. 20 was the player fouled. We lined up to shoot the free throw and he shot the first one. At that point, someone from the crew noticed Bobby (Lutz's) reaction. We conferred as a group. There was no monitor available. We then asked No. 20 if he was the shooter and he said he was. We accepted the answer and did the best we could."

THURSDAY UPDATE: I suspected this Wednesday night but waited to make sure it was correct before writing. A-10 assistant commissioner Stephen Haug confirmed that if a player did intentionally “shoot” a free throw for another player, an unsportsmanlike technical could be assessed, or the player could be given a warning.

So, had Kromah actually admitted to not being the player fouled (he was asked AFTER he had taken one free throw), and was being completely honest, he risked receiving a technical foul for his honesty. Again, what answer would be expected?

Observations from Wednesday's win over G. Washington

-A new aspect to Charlotte forward Shamari Spears’ game? Spears was 2-for-2 on 3-pointers in Wednesday night’s win over George Washington. Asked after the game if fans should expect to see him play more behind the 3-point line, he said, “No. I make a living down low and that’s where I’m going to stay.”

-A disturbing trait – costly first-half turnovers – returned to plague Charlotte. The 49ers turned the ball over in three of its first four possessions while George Washington ran out to a 9-0 lead. Charlotte had seven turnovers total in the first half leading to 10 points for the Colonials. The 49ers ended the game with 13 turnovers which turned into 18 George Washington points.

-Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz is not afraid to go to his bench when he thinks his team needs a spark. When the 49ers’ starters fell behind 14-2 early in the first half, Lutz brought in Ian Andersen and Javarris Barnett of the bench. Both hit 3-pointers in a 19-7 Charlotte run which allowed the 49ers to take their first lead of the game.

-Charlotte freshman forward Chris Braswell entered Wednesday’s game not only as one of the top rebounders in the A-10, but he also is among the best Division I freshman. He ranked fifth, averaging 9.0 per game. Braswell picked up two quick fouls in the first half and played just 16 minutes in the game (four in the first half). Junior forward Charles Dewhurst filled in on rebounding, collecting seven by halftime and 11 in the game.

-The 49ers return to action on Saturday at 2 p.m. when they play at Fordham – the first of two consecutive league road games.

Looking ahead: George Washington Colonials

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday when it hosts George Washington at Halton Arena. Charlotte and GW split last season's two meetings, with each winning at home.

Here's a look at the Colonials' roster.

Here's a look at the Colonials' stats.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Updated 49ers stats and schedule

Here are links to the 49ers' updated stats and schedule following Saturday's win at UMass:

Updated men's basketball statistics can be found here.

Updated schedule can be found here.

No ranking, but 49ers getting NCAA attention

The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team didn't make it into either the Associated Press or USA Today Top 25 polls this week (in fact Charlotte didn't get a single vote in the USA Today poll), but the 49ers (16-5, 6-1 Atlantic 10) are garnering lots of attention for their performance this season.

And more and more basketball "insiders" are starting to include Charlotte in their predictions of what teams will make up the 2010 NCAA Tournament field.

Here is a sampling of some of the most recent:

The Sporting News predicts six A-10 teams in the NCAA tournament, including Charlotte. Read it here.

Sports Illustrated's Andy Glockner has Charlotte as a No. 10 seed in the Providence Region. Read it here.

And throw in basketball analyst Andy Katz, who writes the 49ers are relevant once again. Read his blog here.