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Head coach Bobby Lutz applauds his team during the first half of the 49ers' upset of Cincinnati.

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Charlotte Upsets No. 8 Cincinnati, 86-83

Curtis Withers knocks down two free throws with 45 seconds left to seal the win.

Jan 31, 2004

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Cincinnati, Ohio -- With what Cincinnati head coach Bob Huggins termed the best starting five in Conference USA, the Charlotte 49ers knocked of #8/#7 Cincinnati, 86-83, at Fifth Third Arena at the Shoemaker Center, Saturday afternoon.

It was Charlotte's second road win over a Top 10 team (W, 96-92, at #7/#7 Syracuse) and their first-ever against the Bearcats in Cincinnati.

The 49ers starting five were the difference-makers, with junior shooting guard Brendan Plavich pulling out of a shooting slump to score 17 points (5-of-12 3FG), league double-double leader Curtis Withers posting 15 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes, senior Demon Brown and junior Eddie Basden each adding 13 points and freshman center Martin Iti contributing 11 points with six rebounds and a block. All five starters scored in double figures, but 49ers head coach Bobby Lutz also got good production off the bench. Butter Johnson and C.J. Pigford both scored six points on 5-of-8 combined shooting, senior Calvin Clemmmons added four points and five rebounds and reserve point guard Mitchell Baldwin played effectively in 15 minutes of action.

Charlotte jumped out early, as Basden stole the opening tip and went in for a slam dunk as Charlotte raced to an early, 19-9, advantage.

Brendan Plavich and Curtis Withers celebrate as they walk off the court after upsetting Cincinnati.

The Bearcats, who were 62-5 in C-USA home games over the league's nine-year history, battled back to close the gap to 42-37 at halftime.


A quick Cincinnati run to start the second half put the Bearcats ahead 45-44 with 17:48 to play. Charlotte survived the burst and regained the lead 55-48 on a Brown three-pointer at 14:28. The battle ensued down the stretch with Cincinnati taking as much as a four-point lead (67-63 @ 8:39) and the game being tied five more times.

An Iti dunk/three-point play broke the final tie, giving Charlotte a 82-79 lead with 2:10 to play. After a Kareem Johnson tip-in cut the 49ers lead to one, 82-81 with 1:51 left, Withers hit a pair of free throws and Plavich hit two-of-four in the final minute to seal the win.

NOTES: Charlotte's Eddie Basden, who leads C-USA in thefts, had a steal to give him 149 in his career, tying him with Jarvis Lang for fifth-place all-time in 49ers history. Basden has had a steal in every game this year and has 46 on the season.

From the "winning plays" category, Basden tipped a missed Brown free throw back to Plavich with 21 seconds left and Charlotte holding a three-point lead. Plavich made one-of-two free throws at that point to make it a two possession ball game.

Plavich's stat line included a team-high four assists; no turnovers and two steals.

Charlotte shot .484 from the field, the best field goal pct. Cincinnati has give up this year. Cincinnati ranks ninth in the nation in field goal defense.