Saturday, February 19, 2005; Page D05
Charlotte. Just south of Tobacco Road, the 49ers are playing pretty good basketball, too. Charlotte (18-4, 9-2 Conference USA) trails Louisville (22-4, 10-2) by a half-game in the conference standings, after the 49ers won four in a row, including 91-90 over Cincinnati and 66-62 over DePaul. The 49ers have good size in 7-foot center Martin Iti, a native of Sydney, and junior forward Curtis Withers, who is averaging 16.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. Former Eleanor Roosevelt player Eddie Basden is averaging 15 points and leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per game. Vanderbilt transfer Brendan Plavich entered the week leading Division I with four three-pointers per game. Charlotte, which ranks 22nd in the RPI, should finish strong with remaining games against Tulane, Memphis, Southern Mississippi and South Florida. The Conference USA regular season title could be decided when the 49ers play at Louisville on March 3. Charlotte Coach Bobby Lutz, who has led his alma mater to the NCAA tournament four times in his previous six seasons, should be a hot commodity when the season ends.
Former Montrose Christian guard Rob Monroe is a very good player on a team that's not very good. Monroe, a senior at Quinnipiac (10-13, 6-8 Northeast Conference) in Connecticut, entered the week ranked fifth in scoring in Division I, averaging 22.6 points. Monroe, who also played at St. John's/Prospect Hall and Berkshire Prep in Massachusetts, has scored 30 points or more in six games this season, including two games with 40 points or more. His 41 points and 14 assists in a 102-93, double-overtime win over Longwood on Jan. 2 were the fourth-highest totals by a Division I player this season. An all-NEC choice as a junior last season, Monroe seems to be a nearly unanimous choice for conference player of the year this season. He is averaging 39.1 minutes; his 6.6 assists per game are 15th most in the country; and he's shooting 87.5 percent from the free throw line, 17th in Division I.
Pacific 64, Utah State 63