Monday, January 31, 2011

Town-hall meeting for football scheduled Feb. 9

If you've got questions about the Charlotte 49ers' football program that begins play in 2013, you can ask them at a town-hall style meeting on Feb. 9 at UNC Charlotte's McKnight Hall.

Chancellor Phil Dubois and athletics director Judy Rose will be at the forum, which is scheduled to start at 4 p.m., and is open to the university community and general public.

"We want to reach out to the campus community, as well as the general public, to help answer questions that they might have about the 49ers football program," Rose said in a statement. "We are aware of the wide-ranging impact this football program will have and we want to hear from those that it will impact. This is their program. It is designed to impact campus life, student spirit, alumni relations and to build a stronger university. To be successful, we need to hear their voices, and this is another great opportunity that is still early in the game."

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Finding new ways to lose

Can't blame the turnovers this time. No, this loss to La Salle -- 91-86 in double overtime -- was more confounding than others because free-throw shooting has been one thing the Charlotte 49ers have been consistently good at all season.

They led the Atlantic 10 with a 74.0 percent mark entering the game. It actually got better by halftime -- ticking up to 74.6  -- because Charlotte was 10 for 10 from the line by that time. The 49ers actually finished the game making 31 of 46, a 67.4 percent mark.

But it's not how many you make, it's when you make them. And ironically, the 49ers' season average won't dip much.

Derrio Green (an 84.5 percent free throw shooter) was seven of 12 for the game, but four of eight down the stretch. Deuce Briscoe (82.1) was two of five, including missing the front end of a one-and-one late in regulation with the 49ers up six. K.J. Sherrill -- who otherwise had a great game with a career high in points (24) and rebounds (13) was 14-of-18 from the line, but missed two that would have given Charlotte a lead in the second OT.

Javarris Barnett, who disappeared after scoring 16 points in the first half (he finished with 19) said the 49ers play a game at every game-day practice in which each player has to hit a free throw for his team or he's disqualified. "You've got to make that one free throw or you're out," said Barnett.

 "If you miss, you're letting your team down."

49ers baseball gets underway

The 49ers baseball team -- the Atlantic 10's preseason favorite -- opened preseason practice Friday at Hayes Stadium.

Charlotte, which opens its season Feb. 18 at home against Coppin State, will play 27 of its first 32 games at home. The 49ers will be going for their fourth league championship in the six seasons they've been in the A-10.

Coach Loren Hibbs' team returns six players who hit higher than .300 last season, including senior second baseman Corey Shaylor. Shaylor hit .388 last season on his way to making first-team all conference.

"We like having the bulls-eye," said Hibbs in a statement. "We've become accustomed to it. It's something we talk about with the players. It's nice to be respected by the others in the league and around the country, but we have to prove it on the field and take care of business."

-- In other "spring" sports news (although it's still January), Charlotte's tennis teams have started playing. The women opened with a 6-1 victory Friday against Radford at Davidson's indoor facility and are host to N.C. Central today at 1 p.m. The men, who lost their opener last week to North Carolina, play Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach on Sunday.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

49ers headed home

PHILADELPHIA -- The 49ers were scheduled to get a flight out of Philadelphia on Thursday morning. It was delayed, but seems like they're going to make it back.

Snow gets best of 49ers, too

PHILADELPHIA -- The 49ers are spending Wednesday night in Philadelphia, rather than flying back to Charlotte after their 76-67 loss against Temple.

It was a crazy day of weather in Philly. It started with a snow storm in the morning, then changed over to a steady rain in the afternoon. Sometime after the Charlotte-Temple game began Wednesday night, more snow came, and this was even heavier than earlier in the day.

With up to a foot of snow falling, the 49ers changed their post-game travel plans: Instead of taking a planned two-hour bus ride to Baltimore after the game and catching a flight back to Charlotte, the team remained in Philadelphia -- the safe, sensible thing to do. The 49ers are scheduled to fly back to Charlotte on Thursday morning.

This snowstorm is so severe though, that there's no guarantee the Philadelphia International Airport will be open Thursday, at least in the morning. We'll keep you posted.

Notes from Temple

-- Charlotte forward Javarris Barnett, who had become one of the team's best offensive weapons, has slumped recently. He's made just 3 of 11 3-pointers in Charlotte's last four games. He's still rebounding well, though, and had seven against Temple.

-- The 49ers followed a season-high 26 turnovers performance against Duquesne last Saturday with just 12 against Temple. But the Owls scored 20 points off of them, while Charlotte managed just six points off nine Temple turnovers.

-- Point guard Jamar Briscoe, who didn't have a turnover, had four assists against Temple. He made two 3-pointers in the first five minutes of the game, then went 0-5 from long-range the rest of the way.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Looking (through the snow) at Temple

PHILADELPHIA -- Temple coach Fran Dunphy is a little worried about his team, which plays the Charlotte 49ers at 7 tonight in snowy Philadelphia (the game is on Time Warner Cable in Charlotte channel 519).

"I'm not sure who we are at this point," Dunphy said of the Owls (13-5, 3-2 Atlantic 10), the league's preseason favorites who have lost two of their last three (road games at Duquesne and Xavier). "We had good stretches (against Xavier) but couldn't sustain. This isn't the most consistent team I've been associated with."

Dunphy says forward Lavoy Allen, the league's preseason player of the year, has struggled. Guard Juan Fernandez has also been bothered by a knee injury.

Here's Dunphy's take on the 49ers, who have lost four of their first five A-10 games:

"They’re like a lot of teams in our league: Anybody can beat us. If you watched them play against Tennessee, they (did) a spectacular job and they can be ready to throw that at you at any moment. They've got great quickness in their guard play and that's a big concern. (Chris) Braswell is terrific. (An'Juan) Wilderness is playing well and (Javarris) Barnett is getting playing time now. This is a great opportunity for us."

-- Funny tweets this morning from former 49ers guard Trevin Parks, who's now at Johnson C. Smith: (Does) anybody that goes to JCSU have an umbrella? .... I don't want to walk around Golden Bulls territory with a ninernation umbrella. LOL."

Parks, incidentally, is leading the CIAA in scoring at 22.7 ppg.

-- Charlotte's women's team tries to bounce back from Saturday's loss against Xavier in a noon game today at Richmond. It won't be easy for the 49ers (15-5, 3-2) against the Spiders (13-6, 4-1), who have the league's leading scorer in Brittani Shells (20.7).

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Can 49ers reverse things -- again?

This isn't the first time it's appeared this season might be spinning out of control for the Charlotte 49ers.

When they were blistered by Davidson by 14 points in early December, the 49ers had dropped to 4-6 and -- with Tennessee coming to town -- were wondering when the next win would come. Four straight victories ensued and the the winning streak seemed to establish the 49ers as a gritty, won't-lay-down-for-anybody team.

Well, the 49ers are back under .500 again (9-10 overall) after double-digit losses 73-54 against UMass on Wednesday's and Saturday's turnover-fest at Duquesne (a 83-67 loss). The 49ers have started 1-4 in the league.

Coach Alan Major knows what worked for his team during the winning streak -- victories at home against Tennessee and Wright State, then two on  the road against Mercer and Georgia Tech -- and he wants to get it back.

"We know we're better than what we've played recently, we've shown it," said Major. "I told them I want to get back this team that was running around the state of Georgia in late December. Skinning their knees, getting on the floor for loose balls, competing on every possession, those types of thing. Taking care of the basketball. We've shown that.

"We continue to believe in them. We're going to get back to work doing the things we have to do to be successful. You have to catch yourself, because as coaches you look at numbers and film and it's our nature to be critical. That's part of the profession, you choose the good and bad, the right and wrong. But kids are kids and you can't let them they get down and beat themselves up."

Is another winning streak possible? The 49ers play at Temple at Wednesday, where a victory would be as unlikely as beating, well, Tennessee. Then three straight home games await -- La Salle, Xavier and George Washington.

"We can recapture it," said Major. "I told them that. They've shown that in the past and I told them I believe they can do it again."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Next up: Duquesne

Duquesne might qualify as one of the surprise teams in the Atlantic 10 – if not the country – this season.

The Dukes, who host the Charlotte 49ers at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Palumbo Center on their downtown Pittsburgh campus, are tied for first with Xavier in the league with a 4-0 record, 12-5 overall.

It’s all been put together by coach Ron Everhart, who is in his fifth season with the Dukes. He’s got a guard-oriented team that plays like it: Duquesne leads the A-10 in steals (9.8 per game), assists (18.7) and turnover margin (plus-6.1).

Everhart uses four guards regularly – freshman T.J. McConnell, junior Mike Talley, sophomore Sean Johnson and junior Eric Evans. Three of them are often on the floor at the same time.

So the Dukes play an up-tempo, fast game, and with all those guards, they should.

“You can criticize being too big and slow, too,” Everhart told reporters after Duquesne beat 19th-ranked Temple last week in Philadelphia. “If you’re going to be a good college basketball team, you’re going to have to overcome something. So in our situation, we’ve got to overcome the size factor.”

The 49ers have struggled in the areas where Duquesne excels. Charlotte is 13th in the 14-team league in assists (12.3), averages 6.6 steals and is last in the conference in turnover margin (minus-3.4).

But because of the reliance on its backcourt, Duquesne isn’t a strong team on the boards, with a rebounding margin of minus-1.8. Charlotte, although hampered on the front line after center Phil Jones was declared academically ineligible two weeks ago, had been outrebounding foes by double-digit margins in three of its previous four games prior to Wednesday’s loss against UMass.

“Our guys are really making a concerted effort to do what we want them to do,” said Everhart, whose team leads the league in scoring (81.2) and scoring margin (plus-14.4). “They’re trying to rebound, they’re making that effort.”


-- The 49ers average 5,811 fans at their home games in Halton Arena, fourth in the league behind Dayton (12,406), Xavier (10,066) and Saint Louis (6,472). George Washington gets the fewest fans, averaging 1,117. At least the Colonials are averaging more than 1,000 now, something they weren’t doing earlier this season. Fordham and La Salle also average fewer than 2,000 in their tiny gyms.

-- The Atlantic 10’s RPI dropped to ninth (behind Conference USA) through Friday, and two league teams – Temple (29) and Xavier (37) – are in the top 40. The league is on track to get just two NCAA bids this season unless there’s an upset in the league tournament. Charlotte is ranked 186th.

-- If the eight-team Atlantic 10 tournament were held today, the 49ers (1-3 in the league) wouldn’t qualify. Dayton (2-2) occupies the eighth spot, and Charlotte is tied with St. Bonaventure and a half-game behind Saint Louis (2-3) in the standings. 49ers coach Alan Major said earlier this week that it was too early to be worrying about making the tournament and not fair to his players to talk about it.

-- The 49ers women play seventh-ranked Xavier Saturday at 7 p.m. at Halton Arena. Coach Karen Aston will be in barefeet for the Samaritan's Feet charity. Look for a story about the game in Saturday's Observer.

-- Charlotte's softball team is picked to finish third in the Atlantic 10's preseason poll behind UMass and Fordham. The 49ers were 40-18 last season.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Settling for jumpers doomed 49ers

The 49ers' problem against UMass on Wednesday? They settled for jump shots in the 73-54 loss to the Minutemen. That might be understandable, with Charlotte's front court diminished now -- 6-8 center Chris Braswell is the biggest guy on the team and two of the team's other tallest players (6-7 Javarris Barnett and 6-8 Gokhan Sirin) are primarily jump shooters.

The 49ers made five 3-pointers in the game's first eight minutes, but that couldn't last. They finished seven of 22 from the 3-point line.

"The fact that we made some shots early was good," said coach Alan Major. "It got us into an offensive rhythm. But we hung on a little too much with the jump shooting instead of grinding it out a bit more and getting inside.

"We were getting some really good movement, our driving and kicking (the ball outside) was terrific, but we just shot too many jumpers."

The 49ers' size problems also showed up on the boards, where UMass outrebounded them 40-32. It was the first time in five games Charlotte had been outrebounded.

-- Derrio Green's streak of 28 straight free throws was snapped when he missed in the first half. He had missed since the Winthrop game on Dec. 7.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Briscoe bouncing back

Point guard Jamar Briscoe seems to have regained his offensive mojo after scoring in single digits for four consecutive games.

Briscoe has had back-to-back 20 point-games against St. Bonaventure and Fordham and now is averaging 13.2 points, second on the team behind Derrio Green's 13.7.

A low point for Briscoe was a loss at Richmond last week, when he scored two points, missing all six of his shots.

"I really haven't done anything with him, but he's come back from a couple of tough games," said coach Alan Major. "He's gone in and worked with film to see where he can get better. Credit him for taking the bull by the horns and looking to see what he needs to do to improve. It's no shock to me: He loves the game and he's always going to find ways to get better."

Briscoe continues to get a feel for what Major wants from his point guard, however. He came to Charlotte as a score-first point guard (he was second in the nation in freshman scoring at N.C. Central two seasons ago). His assist-turnover ratio is essentially 1.0 (56 assists, 54 turnovers this season).

49ers notes

-- Charles Dewhurst has been practicing this week after missing the Fordham game with a strained groin. Look for him to be back Wednesday against UMass. Dewhurst has played in just one game this season because of knee and finger problems and now the groin injury.

-- Major will coach against Massachusetts in his bare feet to help raise awareness for Samaritan’s Feet, a non-profit organization that provides shoes to millions of people around the world.

The 49ers’ Samaritan’s Feet effort is being coordinated by 49ers track and field star Darius Law.

Fans are asked to bring new pairs of children’s athletic shoes or a monetary donation to the game. Donations will also be taken by texting “SHOES” to 85944 for an automatic $5 gift.

Charlotte-based Samaritan’s Feet’s goal is to provide shoes for 10 million people in the next 10 years.

-- Track and field news: 49ers junior Isaac McReynolds won his second consecutive Atlantic 10 performer of the week award after breaking the school record in the 60-meter hurdles at the Virginia Tech Invitational last weekend. McReynolds' time of 7.78 seconds is the second fastest in the nation this season.

McReynolds, from Charlotte's Vance High, also won the long jump at the meet (23-06).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

49ers-Fordham: By the numbers

Charlotte's 71-61 victory Saturday over Fordham by the numbers:

3: Times in last four games Charlotte has outrebound opposition by double digits (41-24 against the Rams).

19: Second-half points scored by Derrio Green.

37: Second-half points scored by Charlotte.

33.5: Green's shooting percentage entering the game (he was seven-of-nine against Fordham).

6: Rebounds by 5-10 49ers guard Jamar Bricoe (only one Fordham player had more than three).

17: Turnovers by Charlotte -- the problem persists.

23-5: Charlotte's advantage from the free-throw line (FTs taken). Yes, there were reasons for that, mostly Fordham needing to foul down the stretch. Just saying, though.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Green: We have to deal with it

The Charlotte 49ers are used to it, getting these blasts of bad news.

The latest came Monday, when Charlotte’s players were told that reserve center Phil Jones was academically ineligible. That was after hearing in November that leading scorer Shamari Spears had been thrown off the team, two players would miss sizeable chunks of the season with injury and freshman guard Luka Voncina was out indefinitely due to eligibility questions with the NCAA.

But after a shaky start, the 49ers (8-8, 0-2 Atlantic 10) have turned into a resilient team that’s not backed down from the significant challenges it continues to be confronted with.

“Coach (Alan Major) has taught us to deal with whatever comes our way,” said guard Derrio Green. “Those kinds of things aren’t in our control, we’ve just had to battle through. Coach Major has a never-quit attitude and it rolls on down to us.”

Charlotte plays its first game at Halton Arena in more than three weeks Saturdayt against Fordham (7 p.m.). The team will have a different look from the one that beat Wright State on Dec. 22.

With Jones gone, forward K.J. Sherrill will get more minutes than the 17.0 he’s been averaging since returning from knee surgery six games ago. Sherrill said he’s still getting into game shape.

Also, guard Charles Dewhurst, who missed the first 15 games with knee and finger injuries, returned last week against St. Bonaventure and provided a spark off the bench.

Around the Atlantic 10

Xavier is ready to make league history. The Musketeers have won 33 straight league games at home, one shy of the league record set by Temple from 1987-91). Xavier, which hasn’t lost at the Cintas Center since 2006, can tie the mark today against Massachusetts ... Xavier’s Tu Holloway and Richmond’s Kevin Richardson were named finalists this week for the Bob Cousy Award, emblematic of the country’s top point guard.

Rhode Island coach Jim Baron can win his 300th career game in the Atlantic 10 today with a victory against St. Bonaventure. Baron also coached the Bonnies from 1993-2001 ... The league’s least-experienced team is Saint Louis, which doesn’t have a senior on its roster, although Saint Joseph’s leads the league with 38 freshman starts ... La Salle’s Ruben Guillandeaux scored 24 points in a victory against Pennsylvania on Wednesday -- 22 in the second half.

RPI update

The Atlantic 10 is eighth in the latest RPI rankings (through Friday). Seven teams are in the top 100 -- from Temple (20th) to St. Bonaventure (99th). Charlotte is 189th, 12th in the 14-team league.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A-10 commissioner responds -- sort of

Here's the response I got from Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette McGlade today about concerns she heard from Charlotte 49ers athletics director Judy Rose about the disparity in fouls called in 49ers games last week against Richmond and St. Bonaventure:

“I have heard the concerns brought to light by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and have discussed them with our coordinator of men’s basketball officials," McGlade said in an email through a conference spokesman. "Officiating is a challenging profession. If a mistake was made we will address it appropriately.”

Monday, January 10, 2011

Seniors let 49ers down

It's hard to imagine a college basketball team being let down by its senior class more than the Charlotte 49ers have been.

With center Phil Jones being declared academically ineligible on Monday, the four seniors the 49ers started the season with are down to two. With Shamari Spears already having been thrown off the team, Charlotte is left with starting forward An'Juan Wilderness (who was suspended for one game earlier this season as well) and guard Charles Dewhurst on the roster (among the eight scholarship players remaining).

And, boy, how Jones and Spears let this team down. Here's what Jones told me the day after he, Spears and Wilderness had a seniors-only, late-night meeting after Charlotte had beaten East Carolina in the Charleston Classic in November. The victory against the Pirates had come after the 49ers were blown out by George Mason 78-56.

“We probably talked for three hours,” said Jones. "In a few months, the three of us are going to be out there in the real world, so this is our chance to do something as seniors.”

Oh well, so much for that.

Wilderness and Dewhurst (who's finally back from injuries) are both solid guys who are important to the team and I don't want to paint them with the same broad brush as Spears and Jones.

But here's something for the 49ers to think about as they head into the meat of the Atlantic 10 schedule (goal for the season now: qualify for the A-10 tournament) without their leading scorer from last season and the school's third all-time leading shot blocker:

If it hasn't happened already, it's time to turn the team over to players like juniors Derrio Green and Javarris Barnett and sophomore Deuce Briscoe. They're the ones who need to lead the 49ers into this next era under coach Alan Major, whatever that may hold.

And by the time they're seniors, they'll be able to look back to the class of  '11 and see how senior leadership doesn't work.

Phil Jones ineligible for rest of season

49ers senior reserve center Phil Jones has been declared academically ineligible for the rest of the season.

 Jones, who was averaging 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds while shooting .558 from the floor. In accordance with the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act, no details will be released, according to a statement by the school.

"We are very disappointed to receive this news about Phil," said 49ers head coach Alan Major in the statement. "We will have to stay together as a team and move forward. Phil will still have the opportunity to finish his degree in May."
Charlotte already had lost starting forward Shamari Spears, who was thrown off the team earlier this season. Freshman point guard Luka Voncina also hasn't been able to play because of eligiblity issues with the NCAA.

Rose expresses concerns to A-10 about officiating

49ers athletics director Judy Rose has been in touch with Atlantic 10 officials to express her displeasure in the officiating in Charlotte's first two league games.

Rose sent emails and spoke with commissioner Bernadette McGlade and supervisor of officials Jim Satalin about the disparity in the number of of fouls called against the 49ers in road games against Richmond last Wednesday and St. Bonaventure on Saturday.

The 49ers shot four free throws against the Spiders (who shot 16) and nine in a triple-overtime loss against the Bonnies (who shot 42). The 49ers didn't reach the bonus until the second overtime against St. Bonaventure. They never got into the bonus against Richmond and the Spiders weren't called for a foul in the final 6:22 of the game.

Rose sent a DVD to the league office of the two games. She said she is also concerned about a double-dribble call made against 49ers guard Derrio Green as time ran out in the second overtime against St. Bonaventure and the score tied.

"There's not much that can come of it other than them hearing us out," said Rose. "But I hope they look at the (foul) differential in both games., that's what I think they need to focus on.

"It's a matter of consistency. Not just for Charlotte, but for everybody in the whole league."

The 49ers, the league's best free-throw shooting team, made 12 of the 13 free throws in the two games. Charlotte's next game is Saturday against Fordham at Halton Arena.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Point-counterpoint from St. Bonaventure

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. -- Let's play a little point-counterpoint after Charlotte's 92-88 triple overtime loss to St. Bonaventure:

Point: How can the 49ers expect to win when they shoot just nine free throws, compared to St. Bonaventure's 42?
Counterpoint: How can the 49ers expect to win when they continue to turn the ball over at such an alarming rate? They had plenty of chances to win despite the foul disparity and didn't do it. Charlotte kicked it around a season-high 23 times (OK, it took three overtimes to do it, but 19 came in regulation). They had 18 against Richmond on Wednesday, 16 against Georgia Tech and 22 against Mercer.

Point: Didn't TV replays appear to indicate that at the end of the second overtime that Derrio Green didn't double dribble and that the ensuing inbounds pass by St. Bonaventure didn't touch anybody, thereby giving the 49ers another shot with 1.6 seconds left?
Counterpoint: How many more chances did Charlotte need to win? The 49ers had the ball with opportunities to win at the end of both overtimes. When St. Bonaventure's Ogo Adegboye missed two free throws and Charlotte up by two with 14 seconds left in regulation, the Bonnies' Da'Quan Cook chased down the rebound and was fouled. He made his and the game was tied and went to OT.

Point: The 49ers sure show a lot of heart and are impressive in coming back from these huge deficits (two double digit ones in the second half, continuing a pattern they benefited from in the four-game winning streak but which has now bitten them in two Atlantic 10 games).
Counterpoint: It's time for them to reverse that pattern. With a week off and two straight games coming up at Halton Arena against Fordham and UMass, the 49ers need to live on the other side, getting an early lead and making the other team worry about coming back.

Notes: Charles Dewhurst came back and gave Charlotte lots of energy off the bench. He had six points in 15 minutes ... Jamar Briscoe's offensive slump ended with 20 points ... Derrio Green had a career-high 10 assists ... St. Bonaventure's bench is as short as Charlotte's. The Bonnies played eight guys, Charlotte nine. Two Bonnies -- guards Adegboye and Michael Davenport -- played all 55 minutes. Green played 50 minutes and Briscoe 49 for Charlotte.

Friday, January 7, 2011

49ers face tall task in Bonnies' Nicholson

Charlotte might not see a big man as good as St. Bonaventure's Andrew Nicholson this season when they play Saturday at the Bonnies' Reilly Center.
“He knows how to get what he wants in the post, and that’s a great quality to have in a big man,” said Charlotte coach Alan Major. “He’s really talented. He’s got an array of moves, a good spin move and has range from 15 feet.”

Charlotte (8-7, 0-1) might be one of the few teams in the league with the size to handle Nicholson, who also averages 8.5 rebounds. Chris Braswell (6-8), Phil Jones (6-11) and K.J. Sherrill (6-7) each figure to spend time defending him.

“It’s going to be defense by committee,” said Major. “You can’t do it with just one guy, you’ve got to have help.”

The Bonnies (8-5) will be playing their first league game. They've got a victory earlier this season against St. John's, which upset Georgetown earlier this week.

-- Major said he hopes to get guard Charles Dewhurst back “any day now.” He said Dewhurst, who has been out with a broken finger, should be out of his cast soon.

-- We had some technical problems with the blog the other night at Richmond. Sorry about not posting one.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

49ers' RPI takes a jump

The 49ers' men's basketball RPI still isn't great, but it improved to 190 this week. Thanks to the road victories against Mercer and Georgia Tech, it was the sixth largest leap in the country (52 places) during that time (through numbers posted this morning).

Charlotte's RPI didn't get much help from its Atlantic 10 brethren. Losses by Rhode Island (to Florida) and Massachusetts (getting blown out by Central Connecticut State on Monday), in addition to Richmond's loss at home to Bucknell on Sunday, dipped the league's RPI from eighth to ninth.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Big day for honors

-- On the heels of victories against ACC teams Sunday, two 49ers basketball players were named Atlantic 10 players of the week:

Forward Javarris Barnett, who averaged 16.5 points in victories against Mercer and Georgia Tech, is the men’s co-player of the week. Guard Epiphany Woodson averaged 17.3 points and 2.7 assists in three games -- victories against Virginia Tech and Nicholls State and a loss against Old Dominion.

-- 49ers midfielder Tyler Gibson was named to the College Soccer News freshman All-American second team. GIbson was the Atlantic 10’s midfielder and freshman of the year.

49ers officially searching for football coach

The Charlotte 49ers' search for a coach for their first football team became official today.

Although athletics director Judy Rose has been thinking about the hire for several months, the position was posted on the UNC Charlotte, American Football Coaches Association and NCAA websites today. The 49ers will begin football in 2013. Rose hopes to have a coach hired this spring, before the school breaks ground on an on-campus stadium.

"The buzz surrounding the 49ers football program continues to grow," said Rose in a statement. "Each week, we take steps closer to 2013 and with each step comes another level of excitement. The hiring of the head coach is obviously one of the biggest steps in unveiling our program and we are thrilled to officially move the process forward. From our fans' perspective - and from ours - each new announcement makes 49ers Football, 2013 more real. More tangible. And each announcement brings it that much closer."

The new coach will immediately begin recruiting a class of red-shirt freshmen for the 2012-13 school year.

Charlotte's first two football schedules (partial):


Aug. 31, 2013 - CAMPBELL (H)

Sept. 14, 2013 - NC CENTRAL (H)

Sept. 21, 2013 - at Old Dominion (A)

Oct. 5, 2013 - GARDNER WEBB (H)

Oct. 26, 2013 - at Charleston Southern (A)

Nov. 2, 2013 - at Coastal Carolina (A)

Nov. 23, 2013 - at Morehead State (A)

Sept. 6, 2014 - OLD DOMINION (H)

Sept. 13, 2013 - at NC Central (A)

Sept. 20, 2014 - at Campbell (A)

Sept. 27, 2014 - CHARLESTON SOUTHERN (H)

Oct. 4, 2014 - at Gardner Webb (A)

Nov. 8, 2014 - COASTAL CAROLINA (H)

Nov. 22, 2014 - MOREHEAD STATE (H)

Barnett is A-10 player of the week

Charlotte's Javarris Barnett has been named Atlantic-10 Conference co-player of the week. Click here for the release.

Just how good is this Charlotte 49ers' women's basketball team this season?

   Just how good is the Charlotte 49ers' women's basketball team this season?

   On the surface, it appears very good. The 49ers finished their nonconference season 12-3 with a 60-58 home win over Virginia Tech on Sunday. Charlotte's only losses so far have been at Florida, home against then-sixth-ranked Duke and to Old Dominion in a tournament in New Orleans. The three losses were each by six points.

   Charlotte has found a nice mix between experienced players like seniors Shannon McCallum and Kendria Holmes and junior transfer Epiphany Woodson and younger players like Jai Forney, Jennifer Hailey and Amanda Dowe.

   With the 49ers opening Atlantic 10 Conference play on Friday when they host Temple at noon at Halton Arena, we asked two 49ers who have experienced success in their respective careers how good this team can be.

   Head coach Karen Aston: I think it is definitely one of our better teams. The talent level is definitely better. We need to see how they deal with things like we are playing a lot of people, will they be happy with their minutes? We need to keep building the team chemistry. Focus is the big thing for this team. If they can stay focused and take one day at a time and play like they have been, I think this will be the best 49ers team we have seen in a while. I would not even base that just on wins and losses. This is a very, very talented team that is really trying to do what's right.

  Senior 5-10 guard Shannon McCallum: I think we are well prepared for conference play. We still need to get better in practice every day. But these games we have played have gotten us ready, especially against Duke, this game (Virginia Tech) and Florida. They got us ready for conference. We know how it's going to be in our conference, where it's tough.
   I think this team is very athletic. We just need to keep our heads up and play hard all the time. I have to know that we have some younger players and I need to stay positive. You can't be negative all the time because then younger players just put their heads down and won't look at me as a leader.

   -- Jim Utter

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Green not allowing 49ers to lose

If there's been a true revelation about the Charlotte 49ers in this four-game winning streak, it's been Derrio Green. And it's more about Green's mental toughness than anything else.

Green, Charlotte's junior guard, isn't allowing his team to lose.

Green isn't a great shooter -- he was making 34.8 per cent of his shots entering Sunday's game against Georgia Tech and was 5-of-20 against the Yellow Jackets. But he's become tough in the clutch and he's finding ways to help the 49ers in just about every other way.

-- Against Georgia Tech on Sunday, he made a huge 3-pointer in the second overtime to give the 49ers a six-point lead and was 8 for 8 from the free throw line (he's making 83 percent this season and hasn't missed since the Davidson game). With Tech's big, physical guards slowing down 5-10 point guard Jamar Briscoe, Green took over the ball handling duties and had nine assists (with three turnovers).

-- Against Mercer, Green's steal and layup gave Charlotte the lead with 2:50 lead.

-- Against Wright State, Green's 3-pointer with 16 seconds left were the winning points.

-- Against Tennessee, Green's assist to Phil Jones with 7.4 seconds left won the game.

Green likes being in the role of the 49ers go-to guy.

"I do, but I'm trying to not be selfish," he said. "But I felt like I could make plays and either get to the basket or get a teammate a shot.”

And look for Briscoe and Green to switch around some more in the backcourt.

"(Briscoe) is learning how to play off the ball a little bit and Derrio is learning how to play on the ball," said coach Alan Major. "I think it's a blessing in disguise for both guys if we can continue to get better at that."