After a trip to Wilmington to take on the Seahawks, the Charlotte 49ers return home to take on Valparaiso. The Niners are coming off of a very dominant victory over UNC Wilmington. Milos Supica and Drew Edwards led the charge with excellent performances. Overall, the team had an exceptional performance and will need to replicate that against Valparaiso.
Players to watch
Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte: Shepherd has had a fairly strong season offensively. His combinations of scoring and ball distribution has made him a valuable asset to the team. It has also made him a threat for opponents' defenses this season. Shepherd is currently the team leader in scoring, assists and free throw percentage. An efficient offensive performance from him could be a big factor for the Niners.
Javon Freeman-Liberty, Valparaiso: Freeman-Liberty is a player that can be a headache for any team that faces him. He is an impact player on both sides of the ball. He currently leads the team in scoring, rebounds and steals. He averages 22.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds per game and 2.5 steals per game. Freeman-Liberty is a game-changer that can become an issue if teams let him get going early. Charlotte is going to have to execute a game plan to limit him and make him less efficient.
Keys to the game
Head Coach Ron Sanchez understands how difficult Valparaiso’s defense can be. He stated that Valparaiso is “one of the top teams in causing turnovers.” Valparaiso’s turnover numbers back this statement up. Valparaiso ranks 32 out of 350 teams in turnovers-forced with an average 17.5 turnovers per game. Charlotte will need to take extra care of the ball in this matchup or the game could get out of hand.
Ball distribution has been a key part of the Charlotte 49ers' offense. Their last game against UNC Wilmington showed how ball distribution can be key. In the game against the Seahawks, five players scored 10 or more points. Ball distribution needs to continue to be a central part of the Niners' offense in order for them to be successful.
The Charlotte 49ers will take on Valparaiso on Tuesday, Dec. 16 inside Halton Arena at 7 p.m.