It’s another Conference USA gameday Saturday at Halton Arena for the Charlotte 49ers. Tonight, they’ll look to sweep the week at home when they welcome the league’s second Florida team, FIU, to the Queen City (7pm, WCCB-TV). The Panthers (3-3) are looking to get back to over .500 in conference play and can do just that with a victory over the Niners this evening. Here’s three things you need to know about the matchup:
–Anthony Evans is the team’s first-year head coach, jumping aboard after six seasons guiding Norfolk State. His biggest year was 2011-12, when he led the Spartans to their first ever MEAC title and an upset of 2nd-seeded Mizzou in the NCAA Tournament, the fifth time a 15 seed had ever topped a 2 seed.
–Tymell Murphy is the one to watch for the Panthers. His 17.0 points per game is fourth in the conference, but he is second in league matchups with 19.3. He’s also eighth in the league in rebounding with eight per game (9.5 in C-USA contests, third best). If the Niners can stop Murphy, the Panthers can fall back on Rakeem Buckles–averaging 13.0 points and 8.9 rebounds an outing.
–If the Niners want to beat FIU, besides stopping Murphy and Buckles, they may want to employ a zone defense to force the Panthers to take shots outside. FIU only makes 4.52 threes a game while averaging just over 15 attempts, but Marco Porcher Jimenez does look to be the primary outside threat.
Bonus points: It’s a homecoming for Dominique Williams. The former Mallard Creek and Bellevue Prep (DC) standout, who was offered by Georgia Southern and North Florida, is averaging 16.9 minutes a contest.