Charlotte’s Jobey Thomas scored 28 points and USF blew a 14-point second-half lead as the 49ers defeated the Bulls 81-78 Friday at the Sun Dome.
“You got to give them credit, they made some tough shots,” Seth Greenberg said. “It’s not like we didn’t defend well. It’s not like we didn’t push their offense out.”
Thomas, who connected on 6-of-12 from beyond the three-point arc, fueled the Charlotte comeback with 22 second-half points. The senior guard also hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the game for the 49ers.
“I guarded him last year, I guarded him this year,” Reggie Kohn said. “He comes off a lot of screens (and) he got a lot of looks on their semibreak and the fast break. Them pushing the ball, him spotting up, (and he) just knocked down a lot like that. The threes killed us.”
The Bulls (12-5, 3-2 in Conference USA) used a 10-0 run to close out the first half and take a 39-29 lead, holding the 49ers to 38 percent shooting from the field. USF extended the lead to 45-31 on a three-pointer from Kohn at the 18:10 mark of the second half, and the Bulls would not trail again until just over 30 seconds to play.
“They made a lot of good shots – a lot of difficult shots,” Kohn said. “We let it get away at the end.”
Protecting a 75-73 lead with 37 seconds left, Charlotte fed the ball to Cam Stephens deep on the blocks. Stephens layed the ball in and was fouled by Gerrick Morris. He converted the three-point play from the line, and Charlotte would never trail again.The Bulls had four players in double figures, led by B.B. Waldon (20) and Altron Jackson (20). Kohn scored 12 points and dished out 11 assists.
Missing from Friday’s game were USF freshmen Kelvin Brown, Brandon Brigman and Terrence Leather, who were suspended for violating team academic policies. Brown is suspended indefinitely, while Brigman and Leather were serving one-game suspensions.
- Brandon Wright