WKU Men’s Basketball fall to Charlotte 49ers

Senior+guard+Jordan+Rawls+%282%29+shoots+a+three-pointer+during+the+matchup+with+Charlotte+in+E.A.+Diddle+Arena+on+Saturday%2C+Jan.+21%2C+2023.+Rawls+made+nine+field+goals+and+a+total+of+25+points+during+33+minutes+of+play.+WKU+lost+75-71.

Tucker Covey

Senior guard Jordan Rawls (2) shoots a three-pointer during the matchup with Charlotte in E.A. Diddle Arena on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023. Rawls made nine field goals and a total of 25 points during 33 minutes of play. WKU lost 75-71.

Jake McMahon

WKU Men’s Basketball (11-9, CUSA 3-6) lost a thriller to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte 49ers (13-7, CUSA 4-5) Saturday, Jan. 21 at E.A. Diddle Arena.

“Our effort is there,” said interim head coach Phil Cunningham. “This team is playing their tails off. They’re fighting and they never gave up tonight.”

Before the game junior guard Dayvion Mcknight was given a celebratory basketball as he scored his 1000th career point Thursday, Jan. 19 against Louisiana Tech University. 

Senior guard Jordan Rawls gave some great minutes off the bench. Rawls had 25 points in the game as he went an impressive 9-13 from the field. 

Dayvion Mcknight also played a great game against the 49ers. He tallied 17 points and seven rebounds. He also led the team in assists with three.

The teams stayed close to kick-off the first half. A three from Charlotte put the 49ers up 12-10 at the first media timeout. Both teams continued to stay tight in the half. A 49er lay-in had Charlotte up 24-22 with seven minutes remaining. 

Charlotte was able to find some separation late in the first half. The 49ers rode an 11-5 run into half time and let the Hilltoppers 38-30.

Early in the first half, sixth year senior Luke Frampton went down with an apparent right knee injury. He went to the locker room with the medical staff and did not play for the rest of the game. 

The Hilltoppers were able to cut the Charlotte lead down to just five to start the second half. A three from redshirt junior Dontaie Allen made it 45-50 with 12 minutes to go. The Hilltoppers had trouble cutting the deficit any further. 

A midrange jumper from Charlotte put the 49ers up 64-58 with six and a half minutes left in the game. The Hilltoppers put in a valiant comeback effort, as they ended the game on a 13-9 run, but it wasn’t enough. WKU fell to Charlotte 75-71. 

“This team [WKU] is close,” said Cunningham. “ I wouldn’t want to play this team in March.”

WKU will look to bounce back against FIU Thursday, Jan. 26 at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center in Miami, Florida. 

Sports reporter Jake McMahon can be reached at [email protected]