MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Encouraged by a supportive crowd, Memphis and Rodney Carney extended the late-season slide for Charlotte.
Carney scored 20 points and Jeremy Hunt and Anthony Rice added 13 apiece as the Tigers proved to have all the answers in an 83-69 victory over the 24th-ranked 49ers to advance into the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.
Playing on its home court at the FedExForum, Memphis (18-14) outhustled a struggling Charlotte team on both ends of the court, shooting 47 percent (27-of-57) and dominating the boards by a 38-23 margin.
Making just 37 percent (23-of-63) of their attempts, the 49ers (21-7) absorbed their third straight loss, a slump started when they were beaten by Louisville, 94-82, on March 3 with sole possession of first place on the line. After getting upset by South Florida, 85-73, in their regular-season finale on Saturday, the 49ers fell into a tie for second.
Behind 13 points by Carney, the Tigers took a slim 39-37 lead at halftime. In the second half, Hunt scored six points in the opening four minutes and Charlotte missed 10 of its first 11 shots and fell behind, 47-39, with 14:12 to play. Carney started a 16-3 run with a 3-pointer that pushed Memphis' cushion to 63-45 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.
The 49ers, who were limited to numerous one-shot possessions in the second half, got no closer that 12 points down the stretch.
Carney shot 7-of-14 with four 3-pointers and Arthur Barclay chipped in seven points and nine rebounds for the Tigers, who will face either Cincinnati or South Florida in the semifinals on Friday. A win in the semifinals should solidify Memphis' bid for the NCAA Tournament.
Curtis Withers, the conferences top scorer, scored 32 points, but Brendan Plavich, the nation's leader in 3-pointers per game (4.0), finished 1-of-10 from the arc with three points for Charlotte.