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Nov. 21, 2014

Final Stats | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

Team 1st 2nd Total
Charlotte 29 36 65
South Carolina 36 27 63
Coach Martin and Sindarius Thornwell

CHARLESTON, S.C. – A potential game-winning three pointer from Sindarius Thornwell caromed just off as Charlotte (3-0) earned a 65-63 win over South Carolina (2-2) Friday night in the semifinals of the Charleston Classic. Hot shooting from the 49ers early in the second half erased a seven-point Gamecock lead at the half.

With just over a minute to play in a 63-all game, Thornwell blocked a 3 to start a fastbreak with Marcus Stroman. Thornwell would take a contested floater in transition and missed, and the follow from Duane Notice would be slapped off the backboard. Charlotte would make a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession to provide the game’s final points, but Carolina still had chances late.

Inbounding from half court with 14 seconds to play and trailing by just two, Carolina was called for a five-second violation. Before Charlotte could inbound a foul put them at the line for a chance to seal it, but both attempts would be missed. On the second miss, a scramble for the ball would be called in favor of the 49ers, but after review the Gamecocks would get one last chance. Thornwell’s attempt for a 3 hit the rim, but did not connect.

The first half was dominated by Carolina after it used an 11-2 run from the 16:28 mark to 13:11 going from down 6-4 to up 15-8. The Gamecocks would make six-straight field goals early in that stretch and 10-of-15 total in the first 10 minutes of action.

The 49ers returned that favor to start the second half, hitting 7-of-9 shots in the first six minutes to erase Carolina’s 36-29 halftime lead while the Gamecocks would shoot just 37 percent in the final 20 minutes. The biggest disparity with the second-half shooting was the 49ers making 4-of-5 3s, while Carolina hit just twice on nine attempts

A 10-0 run from 12:41 to 9:09 in the second half gave Charlotte its largest lead of the game, a 55-48 advantage. Mindaugas Kacinas made sure the momentum would not swing all the way to the visitors, scoring seven-straight points on his own to put Carolina up 57-55 and force a timeout. The 49ers were able to hold on for the late win despite not making a field goal for the final three minutes of action.

Thornwell would lead all scorers in the game with 20 points, 18 of which came in the first half. Michael Carrera and Kacinas joined him in double figures, with 11 apiece.


Carolina missed two chances at a breakaway layup to take a 65-63 lead with 1:12 to play in the game. A foul on the other end led to two Charlotte free throws that gave it the lead for good.

KEY STAT Charlotte hit 13-of-25 field goal attempts in the second half (52 percent) and four 3s to come from behind and win.


  • Sophomore Sindarius Thornwell and junior Michael Carrera both went over 500 career points in the game, both coming off 3-pointers. The duo finished with 31 combined points.
  • Thornwell attempted a career-high 24 shots and matched a previous career high with 10 3-point attempts. His 20 points in the game is the eighth time in his career that he has reached the mark.
  • Charlotte attempted 10 more free throws than the Gamecocks, making 13, while Carolina only attempted nine.

QUOTABLE Frank Martin on how his team played when building its lead in the first half vs. Charlotte “We were playing well. I thought we were playing with discipline and toughness defensively. I thought on offense what we spoke about trying to do this morning in the game I thought we were doing it. When we were open we made shots. It’s hard to win when you can’t score in the paint. We got a basket in the paint every five-to-eight reads. You’ve got to score in the paint. You’ve got to drive it in the paint. You’ve got to catch it in the paint, and you’ve got to get fouled in the paint and you’ve got to make shots in the paint. When you play a team that is big and athletic like they are, it is going to be hard to settle for 3s.”


Carolina will face Akron Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The Zips opened the tournament with a win over Southern California before losing to Miami (Fla.) in the Friday game.