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College basketball

Charlotte beefs up NCAA case

By Wire services
Published February 13, 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Curtis Withers scored 23, including two free throws with 30 seconds left, to lift Charlotte to its fourth consecutive victory, 77-71 over No.9 Louisville on Thursday night.

The 49ers (15-5, 7-2 C-USA) earned their third win over a Top 10 opponent (they also won at then-No.7 Syracuse and then-No.8 Cincinnati), giving them a solid case for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Louisville (17-4, 7-3) lost for the third time in four games and blew a 12-point lead, partly because Luke Whitehead, Francisco Garcia and Nate Daniels played most of the second half with four fouls each.

Charlotte used an 11-0 run to get back into it with 5:34 left, but it wasn't decided until a frantic final minute.

Withers gave the 49ers their first lead of the second half at 67-66 on a jumper with 1:42 left, and Louisville regained the lead on Garcia's basket.

Then Brendan Plavich, 3-of-11 from the floor to that point, made a 3-pointer to put Charlotte up 70-68 with 56 seconds left. Garcia answered with a 3 to put the Cardinals back up, but Mitchell Baldwin responded by going the length of the floor for a layup that drew a foul.

Baldwin missed the free throw, but Withers got the rebound and was fouled. He made both free throws to put Charlotte up 74-71. Louisville turned the ball over on the rest of its possessions.

NO.16 ARIZONA 97, USC 70: Salim Stoudamire scored 22 to lead six players in double figures for the host Wildcats, who pulled away in the second half.

Down a point at the break, Arizona (15-6, 7-5 Pac-10) outscored the Trojans 58-30 with a parade of spectacular fastbreak dunks.

Arizona avenged one of its worst losses of the season, 99-90 at USC on Jan. 15. The Trojans (9-12, 4-8) have lost six of seven since.

NO.19 UTAH ST. 69, CS-NORTHRIDGE 47: Mark Brown scored a career-high 25 and Nate Harris had 14 and a career-high 13 rebounds to help the visiting Aggies (20-1, 12-0 Big West) to their 17th straight victory.

Utah State is two shy of its record win streak, set in the 1999-2000 season. The Aggies face Pacific, the Big West's second-place team, Saturday.

Eto Onyenegecha led the Matadors (9-11, 5-7) with 12 points.

NO.20 WAKE 82, CLEMSON 67: Justin Gray scored a career-high 29 as the visiting Demon Deacons (14-6, 5-5 ACC) ended a two-game losing streak.

Wake Forest has had a rough few weeks, losing six of eight coming into Littlejohn Coliseum after rising to No.4 with an 11-0 start.

Gray's outside shooting got Wake Forest back on track. When the Tigers cut a 12-point deficit to 51-48 with 10:31 left, Gray hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Deacons beat Clemson (9-12, 2-8) for the 11th time in 12 meetings.


UCF 78, JU 69: Dexter Lyons tied a career high with 25 points, helping the host Golden Knights move into a first-place tie in the Atlantic Sun. Roberto Morentin added 16 points and Josh Peppers 10 for Central Florida (18-4, 13-2), which shares the top spot with Troy State. Nolan McBride led the Dolphins (11-12, 6-10) with 22 points.

STETSON 76, FAU 72 (2OT): Kevin Craig had 21 points and Anthony Register scored seven of his 19 in the second overtime for the visiting Hatters (11-11, 9-7 A-Sun). Mike Bell had 24 points and a school-record 23 rebounds for the Owls (8-14, 5-10). Stetson's Derrick DeWitt hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 58 and force overtime. Craig's jumper with 52 seconds left forced the second extra period.

FIU 77, FLA. GULF COAST 70: Belco Bamba had a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds, helping the host Golden Panthers (4-17) rally from a six-point halftime deficit and defeat the Division II Eagles (18-3) to snap a 10-game losing streak.


OREGON ST. 65, WASH. ST. 58: David Lucas scored 22 and Chris Stephens 19 as the visiting Beavers (9-12, 3-8) snapped a six-game losing streak by erasing a 54-51 deficit in the final 5:24. The Cougars (11-11, 5-7) were trying to win a third straight Pac-10 game for the first time since 1995-96.

[Last modified February 13, 2004, 01:45:34]

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