The Charlotte 49ers men's basketball team came into their second game of a three-game home stretch with a 7-5 record to face in-conference opponent, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders with a 4-10 record. Charlotte came off a win earlier in the week and continued their winning ways. Charlotte held off Middle Tennessee with a 68 to 62 win.
The Niners' strong defense and offense from freshman guard Jahmir Young propelled the Niners to their win. Young led the Niners in scoring and assists with 15 points and five assists. The Niners were without their leading scorer in junior Jordan Shepherd.
In the first half Charlotte started off with aggressive defense and forced the Blue Raiders to shoot contested three pointers late in the shot clock. After five minutes the game was tied at five points. Charlotte made a point of getting to the free throw line. Charlotte shot 19 free throws and made 14 compared to Middle Tennessee’s five-for-eight from the free throw line. This lended to Middle Tennessee pulling from their bench early because of foul trouble. The Niners also outscored the Blue Raiders' bench 17 to eight. Through this half the Niners relied on redshirt sophomore guard Luka Vasic leading all scorers with 14 points. Vasic led Charlotte over Middle Tennessee to a 38 to 21 half.
The Niners came out in the second half very aggressively on offense. Charlotte extended their lead to 22 points, which was the largest lead of the game. Throughout most of the half the Niners and the Blue Raiders went back and forth, but the Niners maintained a 19 point lead. Middle Tennessee then went on a run and cut the lead to 11 with eight minutes left in the game.
“We have to manage the flow of the game," Head Coach Ron Sanchez said. "When you have an inexperienced team you make mistakes and we made a lot of mistakes down the stretch and you could see it.”
The Niners fought off the Blue Raiders' comeback, but not before the game was tied at 54 with five minutes remaining in the game and Sanchez called a timeout. After this timeout, Charlotte rallied and scored eight points in a row to go up 62 to 54. This run helped the Niners secure the game and win by six.
Charlotte won 68 to 62 with five players in double digit scoring.
The Niners next game is Saturday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. when they play Old Dominion. This is another in-conference matchup and the final game of their three game home stretch.