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Charlotte 71, Butler 67

The SportsXchange

INDIANAPOLIS -- Pierria Henry scored 17 points to help Charlotte defeat No. 11 Butler 71-67 on Wednesday night.

Chris Braswell and Willie Clayton each scored 11 points and Darion Clark added 10 points and nine rebounds for the 49ers (18-6, 6-4 Atlantic 10). Charlotte shot 54 percent from the field.

Rotnei Clarke scored 18 points for Butler, including 15 in the final 3:18 to nearly bring the Bulldogs back from a 10-point deficit in the closing minutes. Roosevelt Jones had 17 points and nine rebounds, Erik Fromm scored 13 points and Kellen Dunham added 12 for Butler (20-5, 7-3), which entered the game with a 12-0 record at Hinkle Fieldhouse. With the loss, the Bulldogs fell out of a first-place tie in the conference.

Butler was without center Andrew Smith, who suffered an abdominal injury Saturday against George Washington. The 49ers took advantage by scoring 38 points in the paint and outrebounding the Bulldogs, 34-32.

Henry's 3-point play two minutes into the second half gave Charlotte a 34-29 lead, but back-to-back 3s by Fromm cut Charlotte's lead to 38-37.

Henry answered again, this time with a 3-pointer, to push the 49ers' lead to four. A putback by Charlotte's Clark bumped the lead to six. Clark's basket on a nifty cut to the hoop pushed the 49ers' lead to 57-49 and forced Butler to call timeout with 5:22 to play.

Henry's jumper off a curl near the free-throw line gave the 49ers their first double-digit lead of the night.

Clarke hit two 3-pointers in a two-minute span to trim Charlotte's lead to four with 1:30 to play. Three free throws by Clarke after being fouled on a shot made cut the deficit to 67-64.

Charlotte's Henry made the second of two free throws to make the score 68-64 with 12.6 seconds left.

Clarke stepped into an NBA-range 3-pointer and nailed the shot with 7.1 seconds left to cut Charlotte's lead to 68-67.

Henry made one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds left, giving Butler one last chance. E. Victor Nickerson intercepted Chase Stigall's inbounds pass, then made both free throws with 0.7 seconds left to seal the win for the 49ers.

Braswell scored in close with a minute left in the first half to give Charlotte a 29-27 lead.

Charlotte missed a chance to extend its lead when Marshall missed a reverse layup. Henry's layup at the buzzer was waved off, then counted and then waved off, so Charlotte maintained a two-point lead at the break.

Clarke was held to three points on 1-for-6 shooting in the first half.

Charlotte shot 57 percent in the first half to 33 percent for Butler.

Notes: Smith was recently named a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes excellence on and off the court. ... Charlotte coach Alan Major is an Indianapolis native and a Purdue graduate. The West Lafayette campus is roughly 65 miles from Butler. ... It was the first meeting between the schools since 1993. ... Charlotte had no offensive rebounds in the first half while Butler had eight offensive rebounds and six second-chance points. ... Butler committed just four turnovers in the first half.
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