Malik MBB

Malik Martin heads for the basket

The Charlotte 49ers (12-9, 6-4) look to bounce back after losing two games on the road. 

The 49ers host the UTEP Miners in Halton Arena on Thursday, Feb. 5 at 7 p.m in another Conference USA game. 

Charlotte is coming off of a tough overtime loss to Southern Miss, but are back in a place where they know how to win. 

The 49ers are 10-1 at home and have won seven straight games at Halton. 

“It’s really important to defend home court,” Charlotte Head Coach Ron Sanchez said. “Just looking forward to building on what we are doing at home.” 

Players to Watch  

Jordan Shepherd, Charlotte: The junior has been exceeding expectations in his first year as a 49er. Shepherd has scored in double figures 15 times this year and will need to produce another big game against a defensive-minded Miners team. Shepherd is 10th in C-USA in scoring (14.1) and third in assists (4.2).

Malik Martin, Charlotte: The sophomore guard has done a little bit of everything for the 49ers this year. Averaging 8.9 points per game currently, Martin has proven himself as a scorer. He has scored in double figures nine times this season. Martin is also second on the team in blocked shots with 18 and is ninth in C-USA in steals per game with 1.5. Martin will be a key player on both ends of the court and a key to a 49er win. 

Bryson Williams, UTEP: Williams has been the key leader for UTEP this season. The redshirt junior is averaging 19.2 points a game and is only one of two players that are averaging double figures in points for the Miners. Charlotte will have to keep an eye on the guard.  

Keys to a victory 

Get past a tough UTEP defense 

Although Charlotte has had a couple tough losses, the 49ers are still one of the best defensive teams in the league. However, UTEP is too. The Miners rank sixth in defensive scoring limiting their opponents to 65.5 points a game. Charlotte will have to use their several offensive weapons to get another home win. 

Get back to an elite defense

The 49ers did not reach their full potential on defense during their road trip, but are still 41st in the nation in defensive scoring. Charlotte will need to get back to shutting down teams for a win on Saturday, Jan. 16. Williams, who is the leading scorer for UTEP, erupted for 34 points against UTSA just a couple weeks ago. 

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