After a successful two-game home stand that included wins against Florida Atlantic and Florida International, the Charlotte 49ers (12-7, 6-2) head down south to take on Conference USA opponent Louisiana Tech on Thursday, Jan. 30.
LA Tech (15-5, 6-2) and Charlotte are tied third in the C-USA standings almost a month into the conference season.
The 49ers will have a tough task at hand as LA Tech has won four out of their last five. However, Charlotte is looking for its second straight win over LA Tech after a 55-40 win last year at home.
“The goal is to get all five synchronized,” Head Coach Ron Sanchez said on his defense. “Some of the things they are doing are becoming habits instead of thoughts.”
This time, away from home, Charlotte will need to reverse their road woes. Sanchez and company are 2-6 as visitors this season compared to a 10-1 record at home.
Tonight’s task will be even more difficult given LA Tech is also 10-1 at home this season.
Players to Watch
Jahmir Young, Charlotte: The freshman has been successful from the start this season. He is coming off of a week where he won C-USA Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this season and reached double figures for the 14th time in his last game. Young will have to compete against a LA Tech defense that ranks 19th in the country and will need another big game for a 49er win.
Amidou Bamba, Charlotte: The graduate transfer has been the seasoned veteran all year for the 49ers and has been a big force on defense. With an offense-centered team like LA Tech, Bamba will need to make his presence felt in the post. Averaging 4.6 rebounds per game and tallying up 17 blocks, Bamba will be a force to be reckoned with.
Mubarak Muhammed, Louisiana Tech: The 6 foot 7 inch senior is only averaging 8.5 points a game but just put up a career-high 22 points at Middle Tennessee. He has plenty of experience and can be a problem for Charlotte inside the post. Muhammed had ten points against the 49ers in their last matchup last season.
Keys to a victory
Stick to Defense
It’s a well-known fact that Sanchez is a defensive-minded coach. Teams have struggled to score against Charlotte in the past and that’s the case this year as well. The 49ers rank an impressive 33rd in the country in scoring defense. They are only allowing 62.4 points per game along with 8.2 steals a game, good for 41st in the nation. With one of their toughest offensive tasks so far, limiting points will be a huge key to a win. LA Tech is scoring 75.3 points per game.
Get the shooters hot early
Charlotte has had several guys step up all season instead of having one solid scorer. Young, Jordan Shepherd, Drew Edwards and Malik Martin have all scored in double figures five or more times this season. Shepherd and Young combined for 35 in the big win against FIU. Another game like that from any of the top scorers for Charlotte will be a huge boost.
The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ at 7:30 p.m.