CARBONDALE, Ill. - An'Juan Wilderness was fouled with four seconds remaining and made both ends of a one-and-one to rally Charlotte to a 66-64 win Saturday over Southern Illinois.
Ian Anderson tied the game for the 49ers, 64-64, when he hit his sixth 3-point shot of the half with 1:07 remaining. Carlton Fay then missed a 3-pointer for Southern Illinois (3-4) with 39 seconds to go, setting up the game-winning possession for Charlotte (2-6).
After a timeout, the 49ers ran the clock down to single digits when SIU's Torres Roundtree was whistled for bumping Wilderness on the baseline.
"Whatever happened at the end of the game, was it a foul -- was it not, I don't know," said Saluki head coach Chris Lowery. "I didn't see it. I was looking other places."
The loss was a bitter pill for Southern to swallow, because it rallied from a seven-point deficit and seemingly had the game under control. Trailing, 57-50, the Salukis used a 12-1 run to take a 62-58 advantage with 2:44 remaining. During the spurt, guard Wesley Clemmons knocked down three 3-point shots.
"Wes made some big shots that seniors are supposed to make," Lowery noted.
Unfortunately for the Salukis, Anderson kept answering. He led all scorers with 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting from downtown. His bucket to tie the game at 64 was an off-balance shot that he launched with a defender in his face.
"We fell asleep (on defense)," Lowery said. "It's the same play, same call, same action. I mean, we just fell asleep, and that can't happen."
The Salukis turned the ball over on the in-bounds pass on their final possession of the game, and Charlotte celebrated just their second victory of the season.
"They're a much better team than 2-6," Lowery said. "Every game they've played has been like this. It's come down to the last possession, last shot. Unfortunately for us, we didn't finish our posessions up and take care of the ball."
Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said he was pleased with his team's composure down the stretch.
"When you lose a bunch of games in a row and all of them close, you hope you learn some things from that," he said. "We've been struggling, so it's a really good win."
Charlotte won for the fourth-straight time against the Salukis, including two wins in SIU Arena.
"I didn't tell these guys how good their record is here, because I did not want them to be afraid coming in," Lutz said. "I just told them we did win here once upon a time. Any time you win in this building, it's a quality win, and hopefully it will be an impetus for us to do well and get ready for conference play."
The loss overshadowed Tony Boyle's first-career double-double. The Salukis' senior center led the team with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He also held Charlotte's leading scorer, Lamont Mack, to just two points.
"I don't think their record is indicative of how good they are," Lutz said. "I know they are the most physical team we've played this year, and we've played some pretty good teams."
Southern Illinois played the game with a depleted front court. Forward Anthony Booker sat out with a pulled hamstring, joining 6-foot-11 center Nick Evans (broken wrist) on the sidelines.