Out of all the games on the schedule for the Charlotte 49ers year after year, one always seems to stand out: Xavier. The Niners host the Musketeers tonight at 7:30 inside Halton Arena in a game that has been declared a “Whiteout”. Charlotte is looking to respond after their first A-10 loss (to Richmond), while X, at 4-0, are one of three teams (along with #9 Butler and #19 VCU) that are undefeated in league play.
Charlotte 49ers (15-3, 3-1 A-10) @ Richmond Spiders (11-6, 4-0 A-10)
Thursday, January 23, 7:30pm
Radio: ESPN 730, Charlotte49ers.com | TV: Fox Sports Ohio
Who To Watch For
Semaj Christon. Right now the A-10 rookie of the year honors are his to lose. He is the 12th leading scorer in the league (14.7 PPG, 18.5 PPG in league games) and has fit right in to a Xavier lineup that was hurting badly after losing Tu Holloway and company. With his emergence, the Musketeers have had few misteps during a so-far perfect A-10 slate. Not bad for a team picked to finish 9th in the conference. Brad Redford (46.6%) and Dee Davis(40.7%) are two of the top 3-point shooters in the league.
Charlotte will win if…
- They stick to their game plan of getting the ball inside instead of relying on the long ball. Charlotte was unable to establish a legitimate inside presence against Richmond, as Willie Clayton and Chris Braswell were stifled for most of the evening.
- Get the ball in the basket. This may sound simplistic–but the Musketeers (60.7 PPG) are allowing the 2nd fewest points in the league. The Niners need to score and score often, which other teams haven’t been able to do, and find creative ways to do so. Get the ball into the hands of DeMario Mayfield, who has been on fire of late, and work J.T. Thompson and Pierria Henry into the game plan. Also, see point #1.
- Make Xavier win it from the line. Only the Niners and Duquesne are worse free throw shooting teams than X. In that regard…
- Hit foul shots. Charlotte has struggled with this over the past few years, but they’ve seen a glimmer of hope with the shooting of Thompson from the stripe.
- Finally, feed off the energy of the crowd. It’s a white out, so you know the students (at least) will be bringing the noise on this night. If Charlotte can find a spark in that, they might be able to ride to victory.