The Charlotte 49ers are in Richmond tonight to take on the Spiders, with a thus-far unblemished (3-0) Atlantic 10 record on the line. Charlotte is coming off a 74-68 win over Fordham on Wednesday night at Halton Arena. Richmond, on the other hand, got dumped by #13 Butler 62-47 at Hinkle Fieldhouse–also on Wednesday night–to drop to 1-2 in league play. Let’s look at the matchup.
Charlotte 49ers (15-2, 3-0 A-10) @ Richmond Spiders (11-7, 1-2 A-10)
Saturday, January 19, 6pm
Radio: ESPN 730, Charlotte49ers.com | TV: None
Who To Watch For
Darien Brothers. The senior has paced the Spiders, averaging 14.9 per game–among the leaders in the A-10. He’s the best long-distance shooter in the league, shooting a red-hot 48.5 percent from 3-point land. Derrick Williams (13.6 ppg) has been nursing an ankle injury and has missed the last four games; he is expected to miss tonight’s action as well. Kendall Anthony (12.8 ppg) has done well in his appearances and has seen time as a starter over the past number of games; he’s another marksman from three-point range (31 of 73, 42.5%).
Charlotte will win if…
–They’re able to shut down Brothers and Anthony, two players that have the potential to kill teams from outside. The Spiders shot 7-24 from long range against Butler, one of the reasons they lost (including being outrebounded 53-20).
–Speaking of rebounding, Richmond isn’t a great rebounding team (last in the league with just under 30 per game)–and Charlotte just so happens to lead the A-10 in that category (nearly 40 rpg). If Charlotte can exploit that, it will be a long night for the home team. A key will be Willie Clayton and his 7.5 rpg mark. The freshman has led the Niners in boards in nine games, including four double digit performances, and may have a shot at hitting double figures again tonight.
–The Niners need to feed the ball inside–they don’t have the firepower from outside to engage in a three-point shooting contest with the Spiders. They’re around 25% from deep (last in the league). Clayton has done well in the paint, and if Chris Braswell can come out of his recent slump, they’ll be tough to beat.
–Continue to get DeMario Mayfield involved. The junior has done well in recent contests (18 against Fordham, 17 against Rhody).
–Finally, hit free throws. Only two teams (Rhode Island and Duquesne) have worse marks than the Niners from the stripe.