Much changed from the first 12 minutes of the game. For one thing, Henry wasn't pulling "showtime" maneuvers around the MU defense, which wasn't attempting a man-to-man anymore. After a switch to zone, Henry was held to three assists the rest of the way, and the 49ers shot just 27.3 percent from the floor in the second half.
"We didn't do a good job in our man-to-man defense early," Herrion said. "We tried to be a little cute with multiple coverage on ball screens; Henry hurt us on high ball screens. That was my fault - we tried to have multiple coverages and we didn't adjust very well.
"I thought the zone was very effective. It allowed us to get stops, get in transition, open up the floor. Chris kind of took the game over in one stretch - and when he gets in open court and open spaces, he's hard to contain."
The 49ers crept back, but didn't do themselves any favors at the foul line. With 1:39 left, Denzel Ingram missed two free throws, and then Terrence Williams failed to finish a three-point play 12 seconds later. At the other end, Canty buried a clutch 16-foot jumper to give MU a 59-53 lead with 53.4 seconds left.
That lead was far from safe, especially after Lester drilled a 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds left. That ended a crazy sequence in which Henry and Canty traded turnovers and two Charlotte 3-point misses were rebounded by the shooter.
For a minute or two after Lester's shot, it appeared he might have a chance at a four-point play. The public-address announcer declared a foul on MU's Tamron Manning, and the officials convened for several minutes. Herrion was worried a foul had been called on Taylor away from the ball, which would have given Charlotte two shots.
Eventually, referee Zelton Steed gave the signal that there was no foul.
The Herd then failed to inbound the ball in five seconds, allowing the 49ers a chance to tie. But Lester missed and Henry gathered up the long rebound and set up his fateful final shot, which he and everybody else thought would go in.
"I always think my shot's going in," Henry said. "It rimmed out, and it's cool. Live to shoot another day."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter. com/dougsmock.