Balanced Charlotte tops East Carolina|Young has 24 points in loss

Published 7:45 am Thursday, December 3, 2009

AP Sports Writer

CHARLOTTE — DiJuan Harris had 17 points and six assists and Charlotte continued its impressive start to the season with an 80-68 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday night.
A year after going 11-20, the 49ers (5-1) used their newfound depth to hold off a late charge from their former conference rival for their third straight win.
Seven players scored at least six points for Charlotte, which led by as many as 19 points in the second half in the first meeting between the teams since Charlotte left Conference USA for the Atlantic 10 in 2005.
Brock Young scored 24 points for the Pirates (3-5), who could get no closer than seven points in the closing minutes as their two-game winning streak was snapped.
Charlotte didn’t need a big game from Boston College transfer Shamari Spears, who was held to 12 points after scoring at least 20 points in his past four games.
The 49ers, off to their best start since going 6-1 in the 2000-01 season, shot 57 percent in their highest scoring first half of the season. With East Carolina playing mostly zone in an effort to slow the bruising Spears, nearly everyone got involved. Charlotte’s 16 field goals came from nine players.
Phil Jones was effective inside, while five players hit at least one 3-pointer. RaShad Coleman’s 3 with 4:25 left made it 38-24, with the Pirates staying in it mostly thanks to the speedy Young’s drives to the hoop.
Darrius Morrow, who came in averaging 13.6 points, fouled out after scoring nine points in 27 minutes, but the Pirates staged a late rally.
Jamar Abrams’ 3-pointer with just over 3 minutes left cut the lead to 70-63. East Carolina got two consecutive defensive stops, but Young missed a runner and Abrams a 3-pointer before Coleman’s 3 with 1:21 left sealed it.
Young was one point shy of his career high, while Jontae Sherrod added 13 points for the Pirates. Chad Wynn had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
With the basketball team under the radar as East Carolina’s football team prepares to host Houston in the Conference USA championship game on Saturday, a large student crowd turned up wearing all black at non-football Charlotte. They watched the 49ers show balance missing in their four-year NCAA tournament drought.
Still on the agenda, however, is a signature win. After getting blown out at Duke last month, the 49ers will get another chance Saturday when they visit another former conference rival, No. 20 Louisville.