You’ve read the recap. Now, let’s go inside the numbers from Asheville’s win Tuesday night at Charlotte.
- I don’t want to belabor this point, but considering where Asheville is as a program, it’s incredibly important to emphasize:
Here’s why all of this is so important:
Asheville won one road game last year. It already has two (this game and The Citadel) this year. The Bulldogs were 4-27 last year, and are 4-2 this year. Asheville coach Mike Morrell mentioned after the game the similarities of his program and Charlotte’s, in that both he and Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez are in the second year of rebuilding tradition-rich programs. There’s no way of knowing where the Bulldogs and 49ers will finish the season, but the right foundation is in place to move to the next stage of the rebuild.
- Asheville forced 22 turnovers, with exactly half of those coming on steals. That is the largest number of turnovers by a 49er club since also committing 22 on November 17, 2012, against Lamar — interestingly, in a game it won. The club has only even eclipsed 20 once since the start of last season, committing 20 miscues in a December 16, 2018 loss to James Madison. Numerous full-court press looks (the “13”, or 1-3-1, the “22”, or 2-2-1, et al) slowed down the 49ers, and the Bulldogs remained defensively active in the half-court on every possession. Active hands deflected passes, proper positioning closed down cutting lanes, and diving defenders secured a number of 50-50 balls.
- Bulldog guard Tajion Jones led everyone with 21 points, but the really interesting part of that total is when he got those points. Jones tallied 15 of those points before the final first-half media, finishing the period 5-for-6 from the floor. He only took four shots in the second half — hitting three — but the Bulldogs did nicely to find alternate options and move the ball within their offense.
- Foul troubles plagued Asheville for much of the game, with star guard DeVon Baker drawing his third foul before the halftime horn. Despite only playing 24 minutes, Baker notched 15 points. Coty Jude and Lavar Batts fouled out. L.J. Thorpe finished one foul shy of disqualification. The Bulldogs finished with 24 team fouls. Still, Asheville did a great job of defending without fouling down the stretch, and got key contributions from Cress Worthy, Trent Stephney, Jamon Battle, and several others in keeping afloat their club through the foul challenges.
- Charlotte adopted a strategy for the majority of the contest around not shooting threes — the 49ers shot just 12, hitting four — but instead, driving the paint and trying to get to the free throw line. This was a defensible plan, especially considering the propensity for whistles through parts of the game, but it didn’t quite work as the 49ers would have hoped. Charlotte attempted 27 freebies, but hit just 15, with seven of those misses coming in the closing 20. In an eight-point contest, hitting even just a handful more of those tries from the stripe could have made for a different end to that game.
- And finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the Paint: Charlotte 44, Asheville 38
- Points off Turnovers: Asheville 29, Charlotte 16
- Second-Chance Points: Charlotte 16, Asheville 7 (the crazy part of that stat is that Asheville hauled in 15 offensive rebounds)
- Fast-Break Points: Charlotte 18, Asheville 12
- Bench Points: Charlotte 28, Asheville 8
- 49er guard Cooper Robb was, again, the spark his club needed off the bench. The sophomore poured in half of that bench total in 29 minutes, helping to key the 49ers’ 16-0 run midway through the second half. Forward Milos Supica also tallied 11 and snared eight boards in 20 reserve minutes.
UNC ASHEVILLE 83, CHARLOTTE 75
ASHEVILLE (4-2): Jude 6-14 0-1 16, Batts Jr. 6-11 0-2 12, Thorpe 2-6 6-8 11, Jones 8-10 3-5 21, Baker 5-8 4-4 15, Worthy 1-3 0-0 3, Stephney 2-5 1-2 5, Battle 0-1 0-0 0, Levitch 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 30-60 14-22 83.
CHARLOTTE (3-4): Bamba 1-2 0-0 2, Young 2-8 0-0 4, Martin 5-8 2-5 13, Shepherd 8-14 3-4 20, Edwards 3-7 2-3 8, Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Supica 4-6 3-4 11, Robb 4-6 4-6 14, Younger 0-0 0-0 0, Vasic 1-1 1-5 3. Totals 28-52 15-27 75.
Halftime — Asheville 34-30. 3-Point Goals—Asheville 9-25 (Jude 4-12, Batts Jr. 0-3, Thorpe 1-2, Jones 2-3, Baker 1-1, Worthy 1-1, Stephney 0-1, Levitch 0-2), Charlotte 4-12 (Young 0-2, Martin 1-3, Shepherd 1-4, Edwards 0-1, Robb 2-2). Fouled Out — Jude (AVL), Batts Jr. (AVL), Edwards (CLT). Rebounds — Asheville 34 (Thorpe 9), Charlotte 30 (Supica 8). Assists —Asheville 12 (Stephney 6), Charlotte 12 (Young 4). Total Fouls — Asheville 24, Charlotte 22. Technical — NA. A —3324.