Spears scores 28 in Charlotte win
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. ó Shamari Spears hit 13 of 15 shots, scored a career-high 28 points and carried Charlotte to an 88-74 victory over Yale in the third round of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Hofstra.
Spears, a former Salisbury High School star who played two seasons at Boston College before transferring, scored 18 second-half points. Sophomore Derrio Green knocked down six 3-pointers for a season-high 18 points.
Spears’ previous high of 23 points came in debuts for both BC and Charlotte.
“He’s such a great scorer,” Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. “He has such confidence, and his teammates have a lot of confidence in him. He’s hard to handle in the post. He’s the best low-post scorer in my time as head coach.”
K.J. Sherrill (West Rowan) had one assist in four minutes off the bench, and Spears had six rebounds. He’s averaging 23.7 points for the 49ers (3-1).
“Phil (Jones) had some good entry passes to me,” Spears said. “I’ve got to have a enough (moves) to go against different sized defenders. It’d be tough with just one move, so I need a few so it’s never easy for guys to stop me.”Charlotte led by one point at halftime, and Yale (1-4) took its first lead at 51-50 with 14:12 to play.
A 3-pointer by Green and layup by Spears gave Charlotte a lead it eventually pushed to nine thanks to a three-point play from Phil Jones and two DiJaun Harris free throws.
With the lead at seven, Spears hit a turnaround, baseline jumper and grabbed a defensive rebound that led to a 3-pointer from RaShad Coleman to push the 49ers in front 77-65 with 5:30 to play.
“Coach kind of got on me about rebounding, so I went out and rebounded and got some steals,” said Spears, who didn’t have a rebound in the first half. “We felt like if we stayed focused as a team and stayed physical as a team we could get out of here with a win.”
With Spears pouring it on, the 49ers also enjoyed their best 3-point shooting of the season. Green, who was 1-for-14 from long range entering the game, hit 6 of 11 attempts as Charlotte finished 9-for-22.
“Just go to (Spears) and he’s always going to get something ó two points, a foul or he’ll kick it out,” Green said. “That really helps us out.”