You’ve read the recap. Let’s go Inside the Numbers on Friday’s CUSA opener between Western Kentucky and Charlotte.
- Paint touched: Anyone realistically familiar with both of these clubs had to expect an advantage on points in the paint for the Hilltoppers. That came to fruition — WKU outpaced Charlotte in the lane, 38-18. The place it became a really obvious number was in the second 20. The visitors posted a 20-4 margin in the second half, with a Charles Bassey putback with 35 seconds to play proving especially injurious. The 49ers had defended deep into the possession, but Bassey showed the form that leads many to consider him an NBA prospect and put home the bucket. Brice Williams was asked about the discrepancy in postgame remarks and responded that his team needed to be tougher. The 49ers got a boost from freshman Jared Garcia, who came in to spell Charlotte’s two other bigs and collected a block, a drawn charge, and a handful of free throws in the process, and he may be useful in that same function going forward.
- Packing it in: Western Kentucky connected on 25 buckets Friday, with a staggering 20 of those coming inside the arc. The pack line defense obviously needs to contest at the tin, but also struggled a bit Friday with defending short step-out jumpers. One of those jumpers provided the score that decided the festivities, as Jordan Rawls capitalized on a 10-foot try from the just outside the paint.
- Calling on reserves: Western enjoyed a 28-5 advantage from its bench Friday, guided by 12 from Dayvion McKnight. The freshman guard from Shelbyville, Kentucky, also drained four free throws in the final seven seconds to help secure the victory. Five 49ers spelled the starters — with three not scoring — in 45 combined minutes.
- Thriving in transition: Western scored 24 fast-break points, which is both a function of its high-powered offense and a cause for alarm. Just nine of those came in the second half, however, when Charlotte was less effective at controlling tempo and playing to WKU’s style. Seeing Charlotte score 10 points on the break in the first half demonstrates that the 49er offense is capable of that sort of output, though it tapered off in the second 20.
- Offensive efficiency: Both sides averaged a point per possession Friday. WKU tallied 1.047 to Charlotte’s 1-flat. This is another indicator that the 49ers are a capable offensive unit. Brice Williams’s 23 points were significant in the Charlotte scorebook, though WKU clamped down on him in the second half and held him to just four in the second stanza. Charlotte did work its way to the line 23 times, which is right in line with how it looks to handle its business within the offense.
And finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Western Kentucky 38, Charlotte 18
- Points off turnovers: Western Kentucky 20, Charlotte 15
- Second-chance points: Western Kentucky 8, Charlotte 6
- Fast-break points: Western Kentucky 24, Charlotte 14
WESTERN KENTUCKY 67, CHARLOTTE 63
WESTERN KENTUCKY (8-2, 1-0 CUSA): Anderson 4-4 0-0 9, Hollingsworth 3-8 8-10 14, Cooper 0-2 0-0 0, Williams 3-6 0-0 6, Bassey 5-6 0-0 10, Osawe 2-2 0-0 5, Rawls 1-8 0-0 2, Frampton 3-5 0-0 9, McKnight 4-9 4-4 12. Totals 25-50 12-14 67.
CHARLOTTE (4-5, 0-1 CUSA): Young 6-15 8-12 23, Williams 8-9 3-4 21, Supica 2-3 0-0 4, Shepherd 3-10 3-3 10, Matos 0-4 0-0 0, Stone-Carrawell 0-1 0-0 0, Byrd 0-0 0-0 0, Threadgill 1-4 0-0 0, Garcia 0-1 3-4 3, Rissetto 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-47 17-23 63.
Halftime — Charlotte 36-28. 3-Point Goals—Charlotte 6-20 (Young 3-7, Williams 2-3, Shepherd 1-3, Matos 0-3, Threadgill 0-3, Garcia 0-1), Western Kentucky 5-14 (Anderson 1-1, Cooper 0-1, Williams 0-1, Osawe 1-1, Rawls 0-3, Frampton 3-5, McKnight 0-2). Fouled Out — Matos (CLT). Rebounds — Western Kentucky 30 (Bassey 12), Charlotte 28 (Williams 7). Assists —Western Kentucky 14 (McKnight 6), Charlotte 9 (Young/Shepherd 3). Total Fouls — Western Kentucky 20, Charlotte 19. Technical — NA. A —NA.