Charlotte and Miami do it again

Nov 25, 2014 - 5:05 PM Charlotte, NC ( - Miami and Charlotte will meet for the second time in three days, as the 49ers play host to the red-hot Hurricanes in a non-conference clash at Halton Arena on Tuesday evening.

These two teams met in the championship game of the Charleston Classic on Sunday and it was Miami blowing by Charlotte in a 77-58 rout. The victory now gives Miami a narrow 5-4 advantage in the all-time series.

With Sunday's win, Jim Larranaga's Hurricanes have opened the season with five straight victories. Thanks to a marquee win over a top-10 foe in Florida last week, Miami has gone from being unranked to being No. 17 in the latest Top-25 poll.

Alan Major's 49ers started the season out right with three straight wins and found themselves in the championship game after tournament wins over Penn State (106-97 2OT) and South Carolina (65-63). However, Charlotte was no match for Miami on Sunday, dropping the 19-point decision.

The game was tight for most of the first half, but a 10-3 Miami run to close things out gave the Hurricanes a 38-31 lead at intermission. A 16-4 run in the second half effectively put the game out of reach for Miami, which received a balanced effort as five players notched double-digit points. Guard Sheldon McClellan led the way for Miami with 19 points. Fellow guards Manu Lecomte and Angel Rodriguez added 15 and 13 points, respectively. Another guard, freshman James Palmer finished with 12 points off the bench, while center Tonye Jekiri tacked on another 11.

It has been strong play at both ends which has fueled Miami's early season success. The team is shooting .495 from the floor overall leading to 75.0 ppg, while holding foes to just 54.2 ppg on .373 efficiency. Getting both Rodriguez (Kansas State) and McClellan (Texas) has stabilized a team that was thought to be in rebuilding mode this season. Instead, both players have made huge impacts right out of the gate. Rodriguez has put it all together thus far. In addition to being a top-notch defender (16 steals), he is also tops on the team in scoring (16.6 ppg) and assists (5.2 apg). McClellan adds 13.8 ppg to the cause, shooting .545 from the field. Lecomte rounds out the top scoring threats on the roster at 11.8 ppg.

Charlotte's big man Mike Thorne Jr. played well, netting 19 points against Miami, but there wasn't much help outside of Pierria Henry's 11 points, as the 49ers were simply out-gunned on Sunday. Charlotte held a slight edge in rebounding (33-32), but were pestered all game long by Miami defenders and turned the ball over a costly 19 times.

The 49ers have been far more productive over the course of the first four games and still average a solid 75.5 ppg on .466 shooting. However, the team has been plagued by turnovers thus far, committing 18.0 miscues per outing. Thorne has been an anchor down low and is averaging a near double-double with team-highs of 15.0 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Guards Braxton Ogbueze and Henry add 13.0 and 10.8 ppg, respectively. Henry though has had issues with ball control, dishing out 15 total assists against 19 total turnovers.

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