Friday, February 27, 2009

On Tap: Fordham at Charlotte

While Fordham is struggling through a very difficult season - even worse than the Charlotte 49ers - there are some bright spots on the horizon for the Rams. Fordham has six freshmen on their roster and several have already made significant impacts this season, which should bode well for the program in the future.

Specifically, Charlotte fans should keep an eye out in Saturday's game on freshman 6-0 guard Jio Fontan from Paterson, N.J. Fontan is averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 assists over the Rams' past two games. Fontan is the team's leading scorer on the season, averaging 15.3 ppg but is only shooting 38.8 percent from the field. He ranks ninth in the Atlantic 10 in scoring and is fourth in assists per game (nearly five a game).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Niners Senior Day moved

Senior Day to recognize Charlotte 49ers men's basketball seniors Charlie Coley and Lamont Mack has been moved to next Tuesday's home regular season finale against Richmond.

Originally the two were to be honored during Saturday's home game against Fordham. Coley has had a death in his family and his family is unable to attend this weekend, so the recognition ceremony was moved to the final home game of the season.

The game was orginally scheduled for March 4, but moved to Tuesday to accomodate its broadcast on CBS College Sports TV at 7 p.m. Some 49ers schedule cards were printed prior to the date change.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Pilkington A-10 co-rookie of the week

Freshman pitcher Tyler Pilkington, after making his first collegiate start, was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's co-rookie of the week. Pilkington, who starred at Weddington High, yielded just one run on three hits with nine strikeouts over six innings of action in the 49ers' 6-5 loss at No. 19 Clemson on Sunday. The Waxhaw native walked one and allowed only four base runners.

The 49ers open their 2009 home season at 4 p.m. Tuesday hosting Oakland (Mich.) at Hayes Stadium. Charlotte will play six straight home games and 17 of its next 19 games at home. The 49ers dropped all three games in their season opening series at Clemson over the weekend.

--Also, senior Yudeshnee Pillay named the A-10 women's tennis co-player of the week. Pillay won her No. 1 singles and doubles matches on Feb. 20, topping her opponent from Western Carolina in straight sets (6-3, 6-0) to remain unbeaten this spring.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

49ers sweep A-10 indoor track and field titles

The Charlotte 49ers men's and women's indoor track and field teams swept the 2009 Atlantic 10 championships on Saturday at Rhode Island. It's the fourth consecutive title for Charlotte's women's team, while the men's team won its third title in three years.

Charlotte also took home individual good as sophomore Darius Law was named the men’s track performer of the year, while freshman Sam Jordan was named the men’s rookie of the year. Coach Bob Olesen was named the men’s coach of the year.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jones questionable for Richmond

Charlotte's upset of 16th-ranked Xavier on Thursday night may have come at some cost. Junior 6-foot-10 center Phil Jones suffered a right shoulder separation in the first half of the game and is questionable for Saturday's Atlantic 10 matchup at Richmond. Jones continued to play in the game with the separation and even blocked a shot in the final six seconds - with his right arm - to help preserve the 49ers' win.

More from the 49ers' win over Xavier

Some additional notes following Charlotte's upset of 16th-ranked Xavier:

--Xavier coach Sean Miller declined to attend the post-game interview session, as is required by Atlantic 10 rules. He did, however, find time to do an interview for Xavier's radio broadcast. Coincidently, Miller also declined to address the media following the Musketeers' loss at Duquesne.

Xavier's sports information department provided the following quote attributed to Miller: "They are playing their best basketball of the season right now. We are not playing well right now. We need to fix some things and it needs to start in practice tomorrow."

--This is the second straight season Charlotte has knocked off a Top 20 team. The 49ers defeated then-No. 18 Clemson last year at the Tigers' Littlejohn Coliseum. Charlotte's top 20 win at Halton Arena came in the 2004-05 season over then-No. 18 Cincinnati.

--Lamont Mack on his sole 3-pointer of the game, which came with 32 seconds left and gave the 49ers a four-point lead: "Coach Lutz had faith in me. He knew I wasn't making shots but they were good shots and had been rimming in and out. He called a couple key plays for me down the stretch and I was able to convert them."

--Ian Andersen on the play of teammate DiJuan Harris: "He's running the show out there. He's finding guys and he's getting to the rack. He's playing smart and he's the floor general. It really all starts with him and you couldn't do it any better against a great team like Xavier. He controlled the game, pure and simple."

-- Here are links to Page 1A, the sports front and the inside page from today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Temple snaps 49ers' nine-game winning streak

Behind 21 points from Shenita Landry, the Temple Owls came from behind to beat Charlotte 77-73 Wednesday night at Halton Arena, snapping the 49ers' nine-game winning streak.

Charlotte (18-7, 9-2) played without starting point guard Traci Ray, who was in Texas to attend the funeral for her grandfather. The 49ers kept the defensive pressure on the Owls, however, forcing them into 32 turnovers in the game.

Trailing by four at halftime, Temple started the second half on a 9-0 run and eventually went up 13, leading 55-42 with 12 minutes, 35 seconds left in the game. Charlotte erupted on a 25-8 run to lead 67-63 with 4:28 left. The Owls (17-8, 8-3) closed the game on a 14-6 run.

Charlotte returns to action at 3 p.m. Saturday at Saint Joseph's.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Charlotte signs Hibbs through 2012

The longest serving coach with the Charlotte 49ers extended his tenure on Tuesday as the school announced baseball coach Loren Hibbs has signed a multi-year contract to keep him with the program through the 2012 season.

“Loren has proven that he is a true winner and we are very fortunate to have him in a leadership role at the university,” said 49ers athletics director Judy Rose. “He is a great role model for our student athletes."

Entering his 17th season, Hibbs has coached seven of the school’s All-America players, and has led the team to four conference titles, three tournament titles and four NCAA Tournament appearances, including its first-ever NCAA victories in the 2007 season. The 49ers have recorded the fourth-best winning percentage in Division I baseball over the past three seasons, behind only Rice, North Carolina and Florida State.

Charlotte set the school record for wins, with 49 in 2007, as well as records for consistency. The program has won 30 or more games in four straight seasons, 35 or more games in three straight seasons and 40 or more in two consecutive seasons. Charlotte opens the 2009 season Friday at Clemson.

"My family and I have invested a great deal in this institution over the years and I appreciate the commitment from our administration," Hibbs said.

Niners go Pink & White

The Charlotte 49ers - at least briefly - are changing their school colors for a pair of basketball games this week at Halton Arena.

On Wednesday, the women's basketball team (18-6, 9-1) goes for its 10th consecutive win in a home game with Atlantic 10 rival Temple (16-8, 7-3) in what is being described as the "PinkZone." The first 500 fans in attendance for the 7 p.m. game will receive a free pink T-shirt to support the fight against breast cancer.

On Thursday, the men's team (9-15, 3-7) faces 16th-ranked Xaiver (21-4, 9-2) at 7 p.m. at Halton Arena in what has been named a "whiteout" game. All fans are encouraged to wear white or purchase a "Witness the Whiteout" shirt for the game, which will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Charlotte has won four of its past five home games.

Contact the Charlotte 49ers ticket office at (704) 687-4949 for ticket information.

Monday, February 16, 2009

49ers add assistant soccer coach

Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer coach John Cullen has hired former Pfeiffer head coach and 49ers women’s soccer standout Sarah Judy Denton as an assistant coach on his staff. Denton joins second-year assistant coach Heather Dittmer on the 49ers staff.

“I’m delighted to bring on Sarah Denton as an assistant coach,” Cullen said. “She brings all the attributes you look for in a coach, vibrant, passionate, great coaching experience and playing background. Her teams have always been successful and well prepared."

Denton has spent the past three seasons as at Pfeiffer and compiled a 40-21-4 record. In 2008, Pfeiffer won the Conference Carolinas tournament and made the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. She was named coach of the year in 2007.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mack A-10's player of the week

Charlotte 49ers senior forward Lamont Mack was named the Atlantic 10 Conference's player of the week for his performance last week during which Charlotte won two of three games.

Mack averaged 19.7 points and 4.3 rebounds during Charlotte's three games last week, which included wins over Dayton and George Washington and a loss at Saint Louis. All five of Mack's 20-point performances this season have come in league play.

The honor is the first for Mack in his two-year career with the 49ers and the first time this season any Charlotte player has won weekly A-10 honors.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Niners women win ninth straight

Behind the play of Aysha Jones, Erin Floyd and Danielle Burgin the Charlotte 49ers won at La Salle 67-62 in overtime Saturday for their ninth consecutive win. Charlotte (18-6, 9-1) goes for a school-record tying 10th straight win Wednesday night when the 49ers host Atlantic 10 rival Temple at 7 p.m.

"I thought that our defense was good in the first half," Charlotte coach Karen Aston said. "In the second half, we had to many mental lapses on the defensive end of the court. La Salle is difficult team to guard."

Floyd led the 49ers in rebounding with 10 rebounds and she added 11 points for her third double-double of the season. Burgin led the 49ers with 20 points and had nine rebounds. Jones scored 19 points.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Niners split softball opener

Line Score, Charlotte v. Army:
Charlotte 49ers 6, Army Black Knights 4 (Feb 13 at Charlotte)
Charlotte 49ers..... 001 100 4 - 6 13 1 (1-0)
Army Black Knights.. 010 000 3 - 4 7 0 (0-2)
Pitchers: Charlotte 49ers - Katy Hackett. Army Black Knights - Muckelroy, Jessi;Bleyl, Shawna(5).Win-Katy Hackett(1-0) Loss-Muckelroy, Jessi(0-1) T-1:42 A-100HR CHA - Jaime West.Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees

Line Score, Charlotte v. UNC G:
UNC Greensboro 3, Charlotte 49ers 2 (Feb 13 at Charlotte)

UNC Greensboro...... 100 100 01 - 3 10 1 (4-3)
Charlotte 49ers..... 000 002 00 - 2 3 2 (1-1)
Pitchers: UNC Greensboro - HARRELL, Amber. Charlotte 49ers - Emily Jeffery.Win-HARRELL, Amber(1-1) Loss-Emily Jeffery(0-1) T-2:03 A-100HR CHA - Serena Smith.Weather: Cloudy, 55 degrees

On tap: Charlotte vs. George Washington

As remarkable as it may sound, it is still possible - maybe even a better-than-average shot - the Charlotte 49ers could finish the Atlantic 10 season with a .500 or better league record. Including Saturday afternoon's homecoming game with George Washington, Charlotte (8-15, 2-6) has seven conference games remaining. Of those seven, four are at home and six are against teams (G.W., Richmond and Fordham) currently ranked at or near the bottom of the league standings. The only exception is Thursday night's home game with Xavier.

The Colonials, like the 49ers, have struggled this season, and some of their problems have been self-inflicted. For instance, in GW's 68-57 home loss to La Salle last weekend, the Colonials committed 16 turnovers and were called for two technical fouls. GW is 2-7 on the road this season while Charlotte is 6-5 at home. The Colonials, however, have won three of the last four meetings at Halton Arena.


--The Charlotte 49ers invite the public to a baseball open house Saturday as part of homecoming activities. The team concludes its preseason practice schedule with scrimmages Saturday at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans can get on the field during batting practice as well as tour the press box and hospitality suites.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

On Tap: Charlotte vs. Saint Louis

The road back to .500 gets no easier Wednesday night as the Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team will face another of the best defensive teams in the Atlantic 10 Conference for the second straight game. The Billikens are tied with Dayton for the lead in scoring defense, allowing 59.0 points per game. Charlotte handed Dayton just its third loss of the season on Sunday.

Saint Louis also tops the conference, holding opponents to 26.4 percent from the field in 3-point shooting. Charlotte's performance from behind the 3-point line has been very inconsistent this season. When forward Lamont Mack and shooting guard Ian Andersen are hitting consistently from the outisde this season, the 49ers have seen their chance at success greatly improved.

Defensively, Charlotte will need to focus on Kevin Lisch (who averages 13.8 ppg) and Tommie Liddell III (12.8 ppg). Liddell is lso averaging 6.2 rebounds a game. Point guard Kwamain Mitchell is eighth in the league in assists at 3.77 apg.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Several 49ers athletes win Atlantic 10 awards

Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball junior guard Aysha Jones was named Atlantic 10 co-player of the week for her performances in 49ers' wins over Saint Louis and Duquesne. Jones scored a team game-high 18 points Charlotte's 70-58 win at Saint Louis last Tuesday. Then, she tied her career-high with 28 points in the 49ers' 83-78 win over Duquesne on Saturday.

Other award winners:

-- Charlotte women’s tennis senior Yudeshnee Pillay was named the A-10 Player of the Week while freshman Andrea Rivera picked up her second consecutive rookie of the week honor following Charlotte’s home weekend victories over Mercer and Pfeiffer. The team is 3-0.

-- After turning in a number of strong performances last weekend, senior Aja Jackson, freshman Sam Jordan and sophomore Korel Mack each picked up Atlantic 10 track and field weekly awards. Jackson and Mack each won Athlete of the Week honors while Jordan was named Rookie of the Week.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dayton coach Brian Gregory called out Niner Nation on Sunday.

The Flyers' game with the Charlotte 49ers drew an announced crowd of 5,939 to 9,105-seat Halton Arena, which didn’t go unnoticed by Gregory, whose teams are 0-3 at Charlotte.

Gregory was asked what makes Halton – which rarely sells out for 49ers games -- so difficult for the Flyers. “No offense, it’s not the venue,” he said. “It’s the players. It’s not a super difficult place to play. Unfortunately, with as much success as his program’s had, (coach Bobby Lutz) should have better crowds. I know it’s a beautiful sunny afternoon. But let’s be honest, the reason it’s a tough place to play is because of Bobby and the players that he has and how hard they play.”

-- David Scott

Saturday, February 7, 2009

On tap: Dayton vs. Charlotte

It's no question Dayton has the Wright stuff right now. The Flyers are 34-4 overall, 24-0 at home and 4-0 against ranked opponents with Chris Wright in the lineup during his career at Dayton. He missed most of last season due to a severe ankle injury.

Last season, Wright earned a spot on the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team even though he played just eight minutes in conference play. So far this season, Wright leads the Flyers scoring (12.9 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg), field goals made (107), offensive rebounds (63), defensive rebounds (97), blocks (26), free throw attempts (112) and double-doubles (four).

The 49ers obviously will have their hands full in trying to contain Wright in Saturday's matchup at Halton Arena. What helps Wright the most is the Flyers' ability to run up to 11 players into the game, keeping their top players fresh when they are needed most. With a rash of injuries, Charlotte doesn't have the same luxury.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Niners women looking to extend streak

The Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball team (16-6, 7-1) puts its seven-game winning streak on the line when it battles Atlantic 10 rival Duquesne (13-9, 3-4) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Halton Arena.

The 49ers are currently in sole possession of second place in the Atlantic 10 and their seven game winning streak is the third longest conference winning streak in the program’s history. The record is 10, set in 2006.

Junior Aysha Jones, who scored a team game-high 18 points in the 49ers' win at Saint Louis this week, leads the team, averaging 12.7 points a game. She also has already dished out a career-high 59 assists this season.

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for youth (17-and-under). All Charlotte 49ers students with a valid student ID are admitted free.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Coley's best in-game dunk?

Despite the loss to Rhode Island, Charlotte's game Thursday night did feature some crowd pleasing moments, particularly from senior forward Charlie Coley who had four dunks.

For those who attended the game, all four were fairly memorable but one - a one-handed windmill dunk late in the second half while Charlotte was mounting a comeback - was particularly powerful. It even appeared the Rhode Island players were running for cover.

It may be the best dunk in a college game I have seen. And when looking on Facebook Thursday night I found several people who already had posted similiar messages.

What do you think?

Soccer star Ozimek to have jersey retired

Former Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year and three-time ESPN The Magazine academic all-American soccer star Lindsey Ozimek will become the first women's soccerplayer in Charlotte 49ers history to have her jersey retired.

The ceremony will take place during halftime of the Feb. 14 homecoming men's basketball game between Charlotte and George Washington. This past fall, Ozimek was one of nine finalists for the 2008 NCAA Woman of the Year award.

During her four-year career, Ozimek helped the 49ers win 45 games, two A-10 regular-season titles, one A-10 Tournament title and a bid to the 2007 NCAA Tournament. She also for the United States U-23, U-20, U-17 and U-16 national teams and helped the U-20 national team win the CONCACAF Championship in January 2006. She graduated in 2008 with a 4.0 GPA in Special Education.


--Charlotte 49ers all-America junior golfer Corey Nagy will open competition in the Jones Cup on Friday. The 54-hole individual stroke play event will be held at the Ocean Forest Golf Club through Monday. The Jones Cup was first contested in 2001 as a prelude to the 38th Walker Cup Match. This event brings together many of the finest amateurs from the United States and abroad for three days of competition.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On Tap: Charlotte vs. Rhode Island

The Charlotte 49ers aren't the only Atlantic 10 team that has taken a hit with injuries this season. Although Rhode Island (15-7, 4-3) sports a good record, the Rams have struggled recently with the loss of junior guard Keith Cothran to a ligament injury.

Cothran has missed four games and remains doubtful for Rhode Island's matchup with Charlotte at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Halton Arena. "It's a ligament in his knee and all we can do is take it one step at a time," said Rams coach Jim Baron. "We want him back as quickly as we can, but at the same time we want him healthy."

Before his injury, Cothran was averaging 14.3 points a game and still leads the team with 33 steals. Junior forward Lamonte Ulmer has started the four games Cothran has missed and has played well in his place. "Against La Salle (a win), he had five steals, five assists, four rebounds. He's been playing very well. He's just so aggressive."

-- Charlotte hopes to have one of its injured players, sophomore forward An'Juan Wilderness, back in the lineup against Rhode Island. Wilderness has missed the last three games after re-aggravating a stress fracture in his left foot during the 49ers' win last month over Massachusetts.

Basden to have jersey retired Feb. 19

Former Charlotte 49ers men's basketball standout Eddie Basden will have his jersey retired during halftime of Charlotte's Feb. 19 showdown with Atlantic 10 power Xavier.

Basden, a former Conference USA player of the year, wore the No. 13 throughout his four-year career with Charlotte and will be the eighth men's basketball player in school history to have his jersey retired. In 2005, his senior season, Basden was named league player of the year, National Defensive Player of the Year by ESPN analyst Jay Bilas, and named second-team all-America by Basketball Times.

“Eddie Basden is truly one of the great players in Charlotte 49ers basketball history,” said Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz, who coached Basden throughout his career. “Always a terrific defender, Eddie developed into one of the best all around players in the nation by his senior year. He is the best off-the-ball defender I have ever coached and was able to make big shots and plays on the offensive end as well."

Basden graduated with all-time school records for steals in a career and single-season and shares the record for steals in a game. The 49ers made three NCAA trips during Basden’s four-year career and posted back-to-back 20-win seasons in his junior and senior seasons. Basden joins Byron Dinkins, Charles Hayward, DeMarco Johnson, Jarvis Lang, Cedric Maxwell, Melvin Watkins and Henry Williams as men’s players that have had their jerseys retired.

Basden graduated from UNC Charlotte in 2005 with a degree in African American and African Studies. Originally signed as a free agent in 2005 by the Chicago Bulls, Basden played overseas in France and Germany before signing as a free agent with the Miami Heat this past summer. He is currently playing professionally in Turkey.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Niners baseball preparing for '09 season

The Charlotte 49ers baseball team has started its first full week of practice and has several scrimmages planned. The 49ers will scrimmage at Hayes Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 10:30 a.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Gates are open to the public each day.

Charlotte has won the past two Atlantic 10 Conference tournaments and won 92 games over the past two seasons. The 49ers were selected by the league's coaches and by Baseball America to win a third consecutive A-10 title this season.

The 49ers' 2009 season begins with a three-game series at Clemson beginning Feb. 20. Charlotte's home opener is Tuesday, Feb. 24, with a three-game series against Oakland (Mich.).

Monday, February 2, 2009

Burgin A-10 co-player of the week

Charlotte 49ers women’s basketball senior center Danielle Burgin was named co-player of the week in the Atlantic 10 Conference as a result of her performances in 49er wins over Richmond and Fordham last week.

Burgin recorded her fifth double-double of the season and 16th of her career with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the 49ers' 62-55 win at Richmond. Then, she had 14 points and nine rebounds in the 49ers' 60-38 win over Fordham Saturday.


--After turning in exceptional performances on Saturday at both the Carolina Classic and the Penn State National Open, sophomore Darius Law and freshman Jake Deaton earned Atlantic 10 weekly awards. Law was named infoor track and field performer of the week while Deaton was named rookie of the week.

Beam earns more All-American honors

Charlotte junior Hailey Beam, the 2008 Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year and the MVP of the Atlantic 10 tournament, has been named to SoccerBuzz Magazine's All-America second-team.

Beam led the conference and ranked among the nation's leaders with 17 goals, 13 assists and 47 points. Her 17 goals and 47 points are the third-highest single-season totals in program history, while her 13 assists tied for the second-highest single-season total.

Charlotte captured its third straight regular-season title and second consecutive A-10 championship and made its fourth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The 49ers advanced to the second round and ended the season with a school-record 18 wins.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Niners eye a young recruit

Statesville's Tyler Lewis, a phenomenal freshman point guard at Forsyth Country Day in Lewisville, was on an unofficial visit Saturday at Charlotte's win over Winthrop. Tyler's older brother, Colby - a 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior shooting guard - was also on hand, which was no coincidence.

It's no secret the Charlotte coaching staff has zeroed in on the younger Lewis - who had 25 points and 12 assists in his most recent game - as a possible 49ers recruit down the line.

The Observer has learned the older Lewis may be making plans to enroll at Charlotte in the fall for college and intends to try to walk on the men's basketball team. He has had some offers to play from NCAA Division II schools himself.

Interested in checking out the Lewis brothers? Their next home game is Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. against Woodson of Winston-Salem.