A free throw by Willie Clayton pushed the 49ers lead to three points with 33 seconds remaining. Massachusetts cut the deficit to one point with 15 seconds left on Chaz Williams’ layup.
The Minutemen had an opportunity to pull ahead after two missed free throws by Nickerson, but they could not come away with the victory after a turnover by Williams with 4 seconds to play.
Nickerson scored 12 points and Ivan Benkovic added 10 for Charlotte (17-4, 5-2 Atlantic 10 Conference), which won despite shooting 39.7 percent from the floor (23 of 58).
Terrell Vinson scored 23 points for Massachusetts, which shot 49 percent from the floor (25 of 51). But the Minutemen had 19 turnovers and shot 37.5 percent from the free throw line (6 of 16).