DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — The Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team can call themselves postseason champions after they defeated Eastern Kentucky 71-68 Wednesday in the College Basketball Invitational final. 

The 49ers held off a furious comeback by the Colonels after holding an 18-point halftime edge.

Sophomore Aly Khalifa scored a game-high 20 points to lead the 49ers on 8 of 9 shooting and hitting 4 of 5 from 3-point range. The 6-foot-11 forward also led the team with 4 assists.

Charlotte (22-14, 9-11 Conference USA) had four players score in double figures and shot a whopping 64 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent from 3.

Grad student Motre Gibson scored 13 points in his final college game after hitting 3 of his 4 3-pointers.

Junior wing Brice Williams, a Huntersville native, scored 6 points with a team-high 5 rebounds and was named the CBI Most Valuable Player. 

The 49ers concluded its regular season with 22 wins for the first time since the 2000-01 season when the they advanced to the second round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament

Eastern Kentucky was led by Cooper Robb’s 17 points. Robb played two seasons with the 49ers, before transferring following the 2019-2020 season. The Colonels finished the year at 23-14.

After losing their final three conference games by a combined 8 points, the 49ers won four games in five days in the CBI.

Williams also was the team’s leading scorer for the season at 13.8 points per game after missing all of last year while recovering from an injury.