After surviving one of the craziest games of the postseason so far, the ninth-seeded Charlotte 49ers look to knock off the top-seeded Saint Louis Billikens in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament at the Barclays Center in the heart of Brooklyn, New York.
The winner of this game will earn a semifinals date with the victor of the La Salle Explorers/Butler Bulldogs tilt.
Charlotte was trailing, 63-60, in the closing seconds of its first-round matchup with Richmond. After the Spiders elected to foul to try to prevent the 49ers from connecting on a game-tying 3-pointer, madness ensued. Thanks to a trio of technicals called on the Spiders, Pierra Henry hit eight free throws on Charlotte's final possession to lift the 49ers to a 68-63 win. Henry sunk the first of the one-and-one, but Richmond's Derrick Williams was called for a technical foul after pushing a 49ers player following the first foul shot. So instead of having to miss intentionally for a potentially game-tying bucket, Charlotte had three more foul shots and the ball.
Henry then proceeded to make all three for a 64-63 49ers lead. Spiders head coach Chris Mooney disagreed with the officials about the prior calls and was ejected. Henry, who finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, sunk four more free throws to seal the win.
Alan Major's 49ers began their season with nine-straight victories before they were routed by the very talented Miami-Florida Hurricanes. Charlotte went through a tough stretch with just one win in seven games before it closed out its regular season with victories over Duquesne and Saint Joseph's.
The 49ers sustained a crazy bout in the first round, but it is not the first time they persevered this season. The 49ers had to endure the dismissal of their leading scorer, DeMario Mayfield, in the middle of the season. His absence has left senior forward Chris Braswell (11.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) as the only double-digit scorer on the roster until Henry's late-season improvement to the 10.0 ppg mark.
This will be the 27th matchup between these schools on the hardwood in history. Saint Louis owns a 16-11 all-time series lead after its 75-58 rout of Charlotte on Feb. 16.
With interim coach Jim Crews leading the team, Saint Louis went on a pair of winning streaks, lasting nine and 11 games in length, to crack the top-25 and build a reputation as a squad no one will want to face in the NCAA Tournament. The Billikens took down La Salle, 78-54, in their regular-season finale to notch their 12th win in their past 13 games.
Dwayne Evans leads the veteran group of Billikens with 12.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per tilt, while Kwamain Mitchell tallies 10.2 points, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per outing.