The Charlotte 49er basketball team dropped a disappointing game to Division 2 Belmont Abbey on Saturday, Jan. 9 after the game was scheduled days before because the 49ers' series with Marshall was postponed. In a game that was mostly Charlotte dominated, the 49ers lost the big lead late in the game to drop to 5-5 on the season.
“Poor execution and shooting down the stretch is the main reason we gave up an 18 point lead,” head coach Ron Sanchez said after the game.
Charlotte came out a little flat but quickly got back on track in the first half. It was Jordan Shepard and Jahmir Young doing the heavy lifting for the 49ers early as both hit jumpers early in the half as the 49ers held a 14-9 lead at the second official timeout. After a Milos Supica free throw, the 49ers were up 22-12 with just over eight minutes to play in the half.
Belmont Abbey would claw their way back though and cut it to just a one-point deficit with seven minutes remaining in the half. LJ McCoy hit two three-pointers during the Crusader run and finished with a team-high in points with 15.
The 49ers would stretch their lead back out again in the closing minutes of the first half with a pair of Brice Williams free throws and a Jordan Shepard three-pointer. They would end the half on a 9-0 run and enter halftime with a 42-29 lead.
Milos Supica appeared to have suffered some sort of injury during the first half and Anzac Rissetto would play the majority of the minutes in the middle for Charlotte in the second half.
Charlotte came out of halftime firing on all cylinders as they scored a quick basket and getting a defensive stop in route to another easy layup by Rissetto. Charlotte held a 51-33 lead with just over 15 minutes remaining. This is where things started to go south for the 49ers as they started to go cold from the field.
Charlotte only had two made baskets from 10:17 to the end of the second half. Again, thanks to some excellent free throw shooting down the stretch, Charlotte wasn’t beaten in regulation, but the Crusaders found a way to claw their way back into the game and force overtime.
Despite the final score, the Crusaders controlled the overtime period as they stretched their lead out to 72-63 with 2:37 remaining in overtime. Charlotte scored a couple of late baskets and free throws, but the last Jordan Shepard heave at the end was no good and the Crusaders were able to get the win in Halton Arena.
Jordan Shepard and Jahmir Young both finished with 19 points. Shepard added five steals to go along with his point production. Risetto had 11 points off the bench and eight rebounds, five of which were offensive rebounds.
Charlotte shot 6-22 from the three-point line and it proved to be a key component as to why the 49ers lost.
“We didn’t shoot the three well tonight at all,” Sanchez added.
Coach added that Milos Supica had a bloody nose. The severity level is unknown currently.
“I hope it isn’t broken, but he did have to sit out the second half and Rissetto played over 30 minutes which is unusual for him,” said Sanchez.
Charlotte looks to turn it around this week as they host UAB on Jan 15 and Jan 16. Both can be seen on Charlotte Athletic's YouTube.