You’ve read the recap. Let’s go Inside the Numbers on what felt like — perish the thought of even saying this at this point in the season — a must-win by Charlotte over Western Kentucky.
- Paint touch-ups: Points in the paint were such a huge difference for WKU Friday afternoon that it seems inappropriate to start anywhere but the output on that stat from Saturday’s game. At the risk of spoiling part of your later read, Charlotte ended up plus-20 over its output from Friday, and there were a handful of reasons why. The play of Milos Supica was quite helpful Saturday, as the Serbian big man recorded 12 points and seven boards over 27 minutes. His three personal fouls slightly limited his time, but he deserves plaudits. The 49ers also somewhat limited Charles Bassey — he scored 11 and hauled in eight boards — but he also settled for jump shots on occasion and was clearly hampered by the back spasms that affected both of his weekend contests.
- Sevens up: Jahmir Young was the conductor of the 49er train Saturday, which is hardly a shock for the star sophomore. Young added to his 24 points with seven boards and seven dimes, displaying the court vision and big-play ability that has placed him atop every scouting report every time Charlotte hits the floor. He also added five of Charlotte’s 11 points in extra time. There is so much of former 49er great Jon Davis in Jahmir and his game, and it shows more and more with each day.
- You’re Joshing me: Josh Anderson looked to be — in small stretches — the best player on the floor for short stretches. The 6-foot-6 WKU wing from Baton Rouge was active defensively and proved nearly impossible for Charlotte to guard However, that defensive activity resulted in five fouls, which resulted in a DQ after just 28 minutes. Anderson tossed in 10 points on 3-for-6 shooting, recorded two steals and hit all four of his free throw tries.
- Free throws are free: Not to steal the gimmick of the great Tony Patelis, but it was truly remarkable to watch the difference from the charity stripe for Charlotte between the second half of regulation and overtime. The 49ers were just 1-for-4 from the line in the second half, clanking the front ends of one-and-ones on three separate occasions. Then, the home side dropped its first nine free throws in the extra period, missing only their final attempt of the overtime. “(It was) just locking in and focusing on that one shot,” opined Young about the difference between the periods.
- Free throws are free, part 2: WKU’s Taveion Hollingsworth dropped 11 free throws in the second period — on 11 tries. In fact, WKU missed just one free throw the entire game, which came in overtime as guard Luke Frampton walked around behind the shooter squeaking his shoes, for reasons that a) I can’t discern and b) may or may not have affected the shot.
- Battling the back-to-backs: The back-to-back games against conference foes this season has necessitated have presented some tough preparation questions that many coaches can’t — or won’t — answer. Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez actually offered some interesting insight into his club’s preparation.
“We looked at the film from last night. I’ve got a great staff, you know — (associate head) Coach (Aaron) Fearne went and attacked an area of the game. Coach Vic Sfera attacked another one, Coach (Kotie) Kimble attacked another one, and I attacked another. We met really early this morning, and we talked about those things. We put a plan in place to say, ‘How do we get them to see this, to understand, and to be better?’. We literally just shared with them the areas where we failed to execute our gameplan, and how we were going to try to do that better in the afternoon. It couldn’t be a physical practice. We couldn’t be on the floor physically, so we had to do it mentally. I think that the guys were really locked in, and I’m really proud of them.”
And finally, the Hustle Stats:
- Points in the paint: Charlotte 38, Western Kentucky 36
- Points off turnovers: Charlotte 20, Western Kentucky 11
- The 49ers forced 21 WKU turnovers, and though, as WKU radio voice Randy Lee articulated, several were unforced, this is still a significant number
- Second-chance points: Charlotte 4, Western Kentucky 2
- The teams combined for just eight offensive boards, a function of how well they both shot from the floor
- Fast-break points: Western Kentucky 10, Charlotte 9
- This number was significantly different Friday, as Western doubled up Charlotte here, 24-12. Charlotte’s ability to keep WKU from getting out in transition played a big role.
CHARLOTTE 75, WESTERN KENTUCKY 71 (OT)
WESTERN KENTUCKY (8-3, 1-1 CUSA): Anderson 3-6 4-4 10, Hollingsworth 6-12 11-11 23, Cooper 1-1 0-0 2, Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Bassey 4-9 3-3 11, Osawe 0-0 0-0 0, Rawls 4-9 0-0 10, Frampton 3-5 0-0 8, McKnight 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 24-47 19-20 71.
CHARLOTTE (5-4, 1-1): Young 6-12 9-11 24, Williams 2-8 2-2 7, Supica 5-7 2-2 12, Shepherd 5-10 4-6 15, Matos 5-8 0-0 10, Byrd 0-0 0-0 0, Threadgill 2-5 0-1 5, Garcia 0-1 0-0 0, Rissetto 1-1 0-2 2. Totals 26-52 17-24 75.
Halftime — Charlotte 36-30. 3-Point Goals—Charlotte 6-15 (Young 3-5, Williams 1-4, Shepherd 1-2, Matos 0-2, Threadgill 1-2), Western Kentucky 4-12 (Anderson 0-2, Hollingsworth 0-1, Bassey 0-1, Rawls 2-4, Frampton 2-4). Fouled Out — Anderson (WKU), Williams (CLT). Rebounds — Western Kentucky 30 (Bassey 8), Charlotte 21 (Young/Supica 7). Assists —Charlotte 17 (Young 7), Western Kentucky 12 (Hollingsworth/McKnight 3). Total Fouls — Western Kentucky 23, Charlotte 18. Technical — NA. A —NA.