After a trip to UNC 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 Wilmington. Milos Supica and Drew Edwards led the charge with excellent performances. Overall, the team had an exceptional game and will need to replicate that against Valparaiso.
Players to watch
Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte: Shepherd has had a fairly strong season offensively. His combination of scoring and ball distribution has made him a valuable asset to the team. It has also made him a threat for defenses this season. Shepherd is currently the team leader in scoring, assists and free throws 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 that plays both sides of the ball well. 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-wrecker that could become an issue if teams let him get going early. Charlotte is going to have to create 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 care of the ball in this game especially well.
Ball distribution has been a key part of the Charlotte 49ers' offense. Their last game against UNC Wilmington showed how important ball distribution can be. In the game against the Seahawks, five players scored 10 or more points. Sharing the ball and keeping it moving will need 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 Monday, Dec. 16 inside Halton Arena at 7 p.m.