On Feb. 10, the Niners played host to the Old Dominion Monarchs at Halton Arena, where Charlotte lost the first game of the home and home series in overtime, 78-76.
"To be honest, this one stings," said Head Coach Ron Sanchez.
The first half was a strong one for Charlotte, scoring 41 points. They were led by Jhery Matos's 13 points on 5-7 shooting and Jahmir Young's 10 points while shooting 50% from the field. Brice Young also contributed to the halftime lead off the bench shooting 3-3 to give him eight points.
Both teams' offenses were going back and forth to make it 20-18 with ten minutes left in the first half. Charlotte then went on an 8-0 run making the score 28-21. As the half was coming to a close, Charlotte held a sizable 41-34 lead over Old Dominion, but as the buzzer went off to end the half, the Monarchs' Mekhi Long hit the three-point corner shot to make the halftime score 41-37 in favor of Charlotte.
The momentum from the buzzer-beater carried over into the second half, which resulted in the second half starting in disaster for the Niners, allowing the Monarchs to score 16 of the first 20 points of the half. With 10 minutes left in the game, Charlotte trailed 56-48. Charlotte and Old Dominion battled back and forth after that, making the score 63-58.
Momentum swung back into the Niners' favor when Jordan Shepherd got the steal resulting in a 3-pointer by Jahmir Young, who then followed up with another three-pointer in the next possession. The following possession resulted in a 3-pointer by Brice Young, tying the score 67-67 with 2:43 left.
Both teams battled back and forth, with Charlotte tying it 70-70 with 11 seconds left in the game. The defense stood tall to close out the half sending the game into overtime.
Overtime was neck and neck. Every-time Charlotte would score, Old Dominion would answer back. Ultimately, Charlotte gave the ball to Old Dominion, with the game tied with 23 seconds left after missing the layup on their final possession. Old Dominion's Malik Curry hit the game-winning shot over two defenders in the paint with 1.5 seconds left.
The star players of the game for Charlotte were Jahmir Young, Jhery Matos, and Brice Williams. Jahmir Young scored 26 points on 11-19 shooting with three assists and four rebounds. Jhery Matos ended the game with only 14 points when starting the game with 13 in the first half. He also tallied two assists, two rebounds, one steal, and one block. Brice Williams ended the game with 13 points on 5-8 shooting while also grabbing two rebounds. Young said their goal was "sharing the ball and making the right play."
What ultimately led to Charlotte's loss was the questionable foul calling that seemed only to occur when the Monarchs were in the paint. Old Dominion had 27 free throws, while Charlotte only had 12. When asked about the foul calling, Coach Sanchez said, "I think that's the difference tonight."
Charlotte moves to 9-10 on the year after the game while being 5-6 in Conference USA. Old Dominion is now 10-5 and is 6-3 in Conference USA. When asked about each game's standings, Guard Jahmir Young said in the postgame press conference, they check each day and that "every game is so important."
When asked about the overall game, Coach Ron Sanchez said he was proud of the team and that "we fought hard" but acknowledged that they "made some mistakes down the stretch." He also said that the team "will learn from it."
Charlotte and the team look to bounce back and even up the series Saturday at Old Dominion at 4 p.m. on ESPN+.