Charlotte vs Saint Louis

Time: 12:00 P.M. EST
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Saint Louis enters as the top seed in the Atlantic 10 tournament, but Charlotte's wild win to open it was the talk of the event.

The 49ers are hoping that victory gives them momentum heading into Friday's quarterfinal matchup with the 16th-ranked Billikens at the Barclays Center.

Charlotte (21-10) won 68-63 over Richmond in Thursday's first round. The 49ers trailed 63-60 with 4.7 seconds to go before a controversial finish that featured three technical fouls on the Spiders, leading to eight made free throws from Pierria Henry over the rest of the contest.

The craziness began when Richmond fouled Henry to prevent Charlotte from attempting a tying 3-pointer. After Henry made the front end of a one-and-one, the Spiders' Derrick Williams and Charlotte's Willie Clayton got tangled as they set up for a potential rebound, and Williams was called for a technical for shoving Clayton to the floor.

Henry made three more free throws and the 49ers retained possession. He hoisted a 3-point attempt as he was fouled after receiving the inbounds, and the referees awarded him three free throws.

Spiders coach Chris Mooney was then called for two technicals and ejected. Henry made four of seven free throws to seal the win.

"You couldn't make that up if you want to make a movie out of that one," 49ers coach Alan Major said. "But, you know, we just talked to our guys about always making sure you keep your poise."

Henry scored a career-high 28 points for Charlotte, which now looks for a fourth straight win as it tries to end a three-game skid to the Billikens.

"You're facing a top-15 team in the country tomorrow in Saint Louis, a top-10 defensive team," Major said. "Coach (Jim) Crews, the (conference) head coach of the year award because it's very difficult to take over a situation that he did and losing a coach mid-year and keep it steady the way he did all season, he deserves a ton of credit."

Crews, filling in for the late Rick Majerus, guided Saint Louis to its first outright regular-season conference title since capturing the Missouri Valley Conference in 1956-57. The Billikens (24-6) have won 12 of 13.

"I couldn't be more pleased or proud or tickled for these guys to win a championship," Crews said. "It's hard to win a game, much less a championship."

A battle of the reserves could be on tap since Charlotte finished the regular season averaging a conference-best 28.3 points from its bench while Saint Louis was second at 23.3.

The Billikens enjoyed a 47-17 edge in bench points in a 76-58 home victory Feb. 16. Cody Ellis scored 18 points, Jordair Jett had 16 and Jake Barnett chipped in 13.

Saint Louis held Charlotte leading scorer Chris Braswell to four points, matching his season low. That type of defensive effort isn't surprising, with the Billikens limiting opponents to a league-low 58.4 points per game.

Top scorer Dwayne Evans is surging, averaging 18.8 points and 12.5 rebounds over his last four games. He had 16 points and 17 boards in Saturday's 78-54 rout of La Salle.

Ellis, meanwhile, has been badly struggling, averaging 3.6 points on 5-of-40 shooting over the past five games.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Conference USA
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Middle Tenn.6-016-324
La. Tech5-113-6196
UAB5-112-7126
UT-San Antonio4-19-9312
Old Dominion4-211-7125
Marshall4-211-881
Western Ky.3-39-10226
So. Miss3-36-12338
UTEP2-34-13346
Rice2-412-7167
Charlotte2-48-9227
FAU1-55-12335
North Texas0-66-12292
FIU0-64-15347
Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Dayton5-114-428
La Salle5-111-564
Richmond5-111-7106
VCU4-214-536
St. Bona.4-212-6101
Rhode Island3-211-649
Fordham3-49-11234
George Mason2-312-6113
Davidson2-49-8104
Geo. Wash.2-410-9135
Duquesne2-49-10203
Saint Josephs2-48-993
UMass2-512-890
Saint Louis1-55-13243

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