Following their home win to start the season against Monmouth, Charlotte's men's basketball team searched for a 2-0 start to the season, welcoming USC Upstate.
The 0-1 Spartans were no match for the Niners, and Charlotte moved to 2-0 for the first time since the start of the tenure of head coach Ron Sanchez with a 76-64 win.
This was not the first time these two teams have met. Charlotte has now taken wins in three of their four games playing each other. With this win, the Niners are one of just three Conference USA (C-USA) teams to start the season 2-0.
"Our group is really enjoying our crowd," said head coach Ron Sanchez. "I think our fans were awesome today. Probably my favorite part of the day was just listening to the fans cheering and enjoying being back in Halton arena."
The Niners did not hesitate to grab the momentum to start, quickly racing to an 11-0 lead within the first four minutes of the game. All 11 of those points were scored by either Austin Butler or Jahmir Young. The two players combined for 15 points before any other player for Charlotte scored.
It took over five minutes of game time before the Spartans finally sank a bucket. In those five minutes, the Niners forced five misses and three turnovers.
By the halfway point of the first half, the Niners led 21-9. From that point on, the Niners did not let their lead go under 12 points, keeping distance on the scoreboard between them and the Spartans. The Spartans finished the half with a three with just a second left to narrow the deficit to 12. At the end of the half, Charlotte led 40-28.
The second half did not look nearly as dominant for the Niners. Charlotte started the second half well, and by the halfway point, they led by 16, but things took a turn.
USC started outscoring Charlotte, and with 6:43 remaining in the game, the Niner lead fell to just seven. However, thanks to big baskets from Young and Braswell, the Niners brought their lead back to double digits. The Niners held their double-digit lead through the rest of the game and took a 76-64 win.
Charlotte shot much worse in the second half. Their FG% dropped from 58.33% to 40%, while their 3PT% dropped from 44.44% to 30%. The two teams both scored 36 in the second half.
Jamir Young proved crucial in the Niner win and put up some big numbers. Young led the team in points with 25 (two points short of his personal record), rebounds with 6, assists with 9 (new personal record) and steals with 2.
Robert Braswell had huge buckets throughout his second game with the Niners. He finished 4-6 from the three-point range and totaled 17 points. He also tied Young for a team-leading two steals.
Austin Butler came in clutch in critical moments for Charlotte and finished with 16 points. This was his second game with the Niners, and is proving to be a key player on the team.
"Playing with guys like Jamir, Aly, and everyone is talented, it really lets me focus on being the player I am, which is doing the little stuff like being an energy guy and being a leader with my fifth-year experience," said Butler. "I just feed off the energy, and I don't try to force too much. Playing with these talented guys makes my life easier offensively.
The Niners hit the road again and head for Boone to take on 1-1 Appalachian State. The game is set to tip-off at 6:30 p.m. on November 18. The Thursday night game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
These two have a long history of playing each other and have had a total of 39 matches with Charlotte taking the win in 24 of them. They have faced each other once in each of the last two seasons with App State taking the win in both of them.