Coming off a season-high of 91 points in a win over UTSA, the 49ers will travel to Denton, Texas to take on the North Texas Mean Green on Thursday, Feb. 13. This will be a tough road test for the Niners as North Texas enters the contest with a 10-2 record at home and haven’t lost a game at home against conference opponents this season.
“Looking forward to taking our team back on the road and trying to continue to establish our growth,” Charlotte Head Coach Ron Sanchez said. “You want to be playing your best basketball at this time of the year.”
North Texas enters the game as the second-best scoring defense in the Conference USA, only allowing 63.3 points per game.
“They’re really good defensively [and] offensively, and they shoot the ball well,” Sanchez said. “We gotta have great position off the ball and play really good on the ball.”
In addition to being one of the best defensive teams in the C-USA, the Mean Green are the best shooting team in the conference, averaging 48.2 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from three.
“They’re a really good shooting team,” Sanchez said. “We have to contest the three-point line, get back in transition and we have to rebound.”
The 49ers have been through their share of ups and downs this season when it comes to playing at home and on the road. Charlotte is having a historically great season at home with a 12-1 record in Halton Arena. However, the Niners have struggled to pull off wins on the road with a 2-8 record.
Players to Watch:
Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte: Shepherd is coming off one of his best performances of the season with a 26-point outing that included a season-high seven three pointers. Shepherd has scored in double figures in four of Charlotte’s last five road games. Shepherd is the leading scorer for the Niners this season and will have to perform for the Niners to come away with a road victory.
Javion Hamlet, North Texas: Hamlet has been on a tear in his last six games, averaging over 18 points per game and shooting just over 50 percent from the field. The junior guard has also put up at least 20 points in three of their last four home games.
Keys to the game
Rebounding is one of the biggest differences for the Niners when it comes to playing at home and on the road. In Charlotte’s last four road games, the Niners have been out rebounded and lost all four games. However, in their last three home games, the 49ers have out rebounded their opponents and won all three games. Fortunately, North Texas is the worst rebounding team in the C-USA, only averaging 32.3 rebounds per game.
Score early and often
Charlotte is notorious for getting off to slow starts on the road and having to crawl back into the game from behind. Charlotte has good enough shooters to stay in games, but they will have to score early and stay in the game for 40 minutes.
Charlotte is 0-4 in their last four road games and haven’t won a road game since they beat Marshall almost a month ago. With the season winding down and Charlotte entering bonus play, they will have to win games away from Halton Arena in order to compete in the C-USA tournament. The game will begin at 8 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN3.