Charlotte 77, Louisville 71

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Cam Stephens and Demon Brown scored 19
points apiece as Charlotte held off a late Louisville rally to beat
the Cardinals 77-71 on Wednesday night.
Louisville held Charlotte leading scorer Jobey Thomas to nine
points, but Thomas still hurt the Cardinals by scoring the game's
final four points from the line to secure the victory.
Charlotte (11-6, 5-1 Conference USA) led 67-54 with 7:52
remaining, but Louisville cut the margin to five on a Reece Gaines
3-pointer with 3:47 to go.
Gaines hit another 3-pointer to make it 73-71 with 1:20 left.
Erik Brown then stole the ball from Thomas, but Luke Whitehead
misfired on a 3-on-1 fast break.
Thomas was fouled with 27.8 seconds after Charlotte regained
possession and made both free throws to give the 49ers a four-point
lead. Gaines missed a pair of free throws with 14.3 seconds left,
then Thomas sealed the win with two more from the line with 7.9
seconds to go.
Gaines led all scorers with 23 points while Whitehead added 13
for Louisville (11-6, 2-4) in Rick Pitino's first college coaching
visit to Charlotte. Stephens also grabbed 11 rebounds for the
Charlotte opened up a 41-30 lead following a 12-0 run late in
the first half and led 43-34 at the break. Louisville trimmed the
deficit to 47-43 on Gaines' baseline jumper with 17 minutes left,
but Charlotte outscored the Cardinals 14-5 to lead 61-48 on Kevin
Johnson's 19-foot jumper with 11:36 left.
Charlotte hit seven of its first eight shots to lead 17-7 with
16:13 left in the half.