Thursday, November 21, 2013

Observations (from afar) on 49ers' victory against K-State

I'm not on the basketball trip to Puerto Rico (opting for Morehead State instead this weekend). But here are a few observations from television on the 49ers' 68-61 victory against Kansas State (the 49ers face Northeastern, a 63-56 winner against Georgetown) at 2:30 Friday:

-- The TV guys kept harping on it, and they were right: Charlotte's offensive rebounding did in the Wildcats. The 49ers outrebounded K-State 46-34, including 17-13 on the offensive end. Mike Thorne (16 points, 11 rebounds, five offensive) and Willie Clayton (10 points, 10 rebounds, six offensive) helped keep the ball alive after missed shots.

-- Even with Thorne and Clayton both fouled out, the 49ers held off the Wildcats in the final minutes. Denzel Ingram, playing for the first time this season, hit a huge 3 pointer right after Thorne fouled out to give the 49ers a six-point lead. Ingram's return was key and he also helped take a lot of the ball-handling pressure off Pierria Henry.

-- The 49ers were 6 of 7 from the free throw line in the final 37 seconds. Henry made all four of his. Henry's line: 10 points, nine assists, 7 rebounds, 1 block, 3 steals  -- and 8 turnovers.

-- Terrence Williams continues to struggle with his shot. He was 1 for 9 Thursday and is now shooting 22.7 for the season.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Charlotte 49ers fire volleyball coach Redding

Charlotte 49ers volleyball coach Chris Redding and his assistants have been fired, the school announced Monday afternoon.

Redding had a seven-season mark of 93-110 that included just one winning season (16-15 in 2010). The 49ers were 12-17 this past season, 2-12 in Conference USA.

Also released were assistant coaches Bethany Byers, Chad Esposito and Jay Correll.

Under Redding, the 49ers' volleyball program led the nation in two of the past four years in the Dig Pink cancer-awareness program. The 49ers were three-time recipients of the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award under Redding.

Redding came to Charlotte from Florida, where he was an assistant. He was head coach at Appalachian State from 1999-2002.

Charlotte 49ers get 13th seed, first-round NCAA soccer tournament bye

The Charlotte 49ers received the No. 13 seed for the NCAA men's soccer tournament and will receive a first-round bye.

But a challenging second-round rematch potentially awaits: The 49ers will face the winner of Thursday's first-round game between East Tennessee State (9-5-4) and Coastal Carolina (17-4) on Sunday at Transamerica Field. The 49ers beat the Chanticleers 2-1 in September, but Coastal has gone on to win the Big South regular-season and tournament championships and was ranked 20th in Soccer America's poll last week.

Charlotte has won eight straight and won the Conference USA tournament championship Sunday with a 1-0 victory against Tulsa.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Charlotte 49ers football gets commitments from two DEs

As the 49ers basketball team awaits letters-of-intent from Keyshawn Woods and Torin Dorn during this early-signing period, the football team picked up two commitments on the defensive line this week.

Cam Darley is a 6-3, 223-pound defensive end from Manning, S.C., who will play in the Shrine Bowl. He chose the 49ers over Appalachian State, Charleston Southern, S.C. State and Presbyterian.

Zach Duncan, a 6-3, 220-pounder from East Forsyth, had previously committed to Ball State but changed his mind.

Here's an updated list of Charlotte 19 commitments to date:

Christian Asher, ATH, 6-1, 212, Woodberry Forest, Va.

Brooks Barden, QB, 6-3, 200, Cartersville, Ga.

Chris Brown, OL, 6-4, 280, Vance

Tristan Butcher, LB, 6-2, 230, Coweta, Okla.

Jordan Carswell, WR/DB, 6-4, 180, North Charleston, S.C., Stall

Jean-Luc Cerza Lanaux, OL, 6-8, 280, Charlotte Christian

Cam Darley, DE, 6-3, 223, Manning, S.C.

Markevis Davis, DB/LB, 6-2, 180, Asheville

Nathaniel Davis, OL, 6-3, 275, Ashburn, Va. Stone Bridge

Zach Duncan, DE, 6-3, 220, East Forsyth

Juwan Foggie, WR, 6-0, 206, High Point Central

Arthur Hart, K, 6-2, 190, Grafton, Wis.

Denzel Irvin, DB, 5-10, 165, Winter Garden, Fla.

 Workpeh Kofa, WR, 6-0, 194, Independence

Chris Montgomery, QB, 5-9, 158, Lawndale Burns

Mark Quattlebaum, WR, 5-11, 170, Cartersville, Ga.

 Maetron Thomas, RB, 5-8, 172, Stockbridge, Ga.

 Najee Tucker, DB, 6-2, 200, West Rowan

R.J. Tyler, TE, 6-4, 230, Wagener-Salley, S.C.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Observations: College of Charleston 83, Charlotte 82

CHARLESTON -- Observations from Charlotte's 83-82 loss to College of Charleston on Tuesday:

-- Even as the Cougars continued to hit 3-pointers, it appeared the 49ers were still in good shape with 15.8 seconds left when Charleston's Willis Hall made one of two free throws. That made the score Charlotte 82, Charleston 78.

To that point, the 49ers had made nine of 12 free throws down the stretch, which is often good enough to hold off the sternest comeback.

Then Charlotte got jittery, and that's what ultimately cost the 49ers.

Terrence Williams' inbounds pass was intercepted by Charleston's Joe Chealey, who promptly hit another 3, cutting the lead to one point. Then Pierria Henry missed a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left, setting the stage for the Cougars' Hall to hit the winning layup with 1.7 seconds left.

Forward Willie Clayton attributed the loss to mental mistakes, especially in Charlotte not recognizing whom of the Cougars' 3-point shooters to guard. Coach Alan Major mentioned the missed free throws and turnovers. It was a combination of all that, hard lessons for a young team to learn.

-- Clayton was dominant inside. After grabbing just five rebounds in the season opener against East Tennessee State, he had 13 (eight offensive) against Charleston, along with 19 points. Clayton said he struggled against ETSU because he was trying to figure out the new rules that prohibit hand checking on defense.

-- Henry scored 21 points, had six assists, five steals, two blocks and five rebounds, in addition to just two turnovers. But he was just seven-of-13 from the line, and his two costly late misses were in stark contrast to the eight he made in the final five seconds in last season's Atlantic 10 tournament against Richmond.

But Henry has a fan in Charleston coach Doug Wojcik.

"We may not see a better guard all season," said Wojcik. "He's in total command of his team. It seems like he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants."

-- Major played just seven players. The bench is short with guards Denzel Ingram (foot) and Ivan Benkovic (back) still out. Ingram hopes to be back next week, but Benkovic won't likely return until sometime in December. Henry (39 minutes) and Williams (35) will be ready for their return. Shawn Lester has had an impressive first two games, and had 14 points on five-of-seven shooting (two-of-three 3-pointers) against Charleston. One of them came at the buzzer at the end of the first half. But Ben Cherry, who is supposed to be shoring up Charlotte's long-range game, has missed all seven of his 3-pointers this season.

-- Charleston's Hall, he of the game-winning basket, is from Charlotte, played at Charlotte Christian and received his first college offer from the 49ers. He said he's friends with Cherry, who played at Myers Park High and began his college career down the street at The Citadel, and 49ers grad assistant Colby Lewis.

-- Charleston's Canyon Barry, who led the Cougars with 26 points, is the son of hall of famer Rick Barry, who was in the stands. Canyon shoots free throws underhanded like his dad, although he was only one of three Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Charlotte 49ers' Parker shares C-USA's Golden Boot award

Charlotte 49ers sophomore forward Kyle Parker was named co-winner of Conference USA's men's soccer Golden Boot Award, which goes to the top scorer in league play.

Parker, who scored seven goals against C-USA opponents, shares the award with Alabama-Birmingham's Alex Clay. Parker, from Marvin Ridge High, shared the league's overall goal-scoring lead with 11 with UAB's Freddie Ruiz.

Charlotte's Giuseppe Gentile and midfielder Aidan Kirkbride were Charlotte's representatives on the first team, with defender Thomas Allen making the second team and Parker making the third team. Midfielder Brandt Bronico and defender Luke Waechter were chosen to the all-freshman team.

New Mexico's Jeremy Fishbein was named the C-USA coach of the year Tuesday, with the Lobos' Kyle Ventner winning most valuable player and defender of the year honors. Old Dominion's Tim Hopkinson is the offensive player of the year, with New Mexico's Christopher Wehan the league's freshman of the year.

The C-USA tournament begins Wednesday at Charlotte's Transamerica Field, with the sixth-seed 49ers playing No. 3 UAB at 8 p.m.

Wednesday’s quarterfinals

No. 4 South Carolina (7-6-5, 4-2-3) vs. No. 5 Tulsa (9-5-3, 4-3-2), 3 p.m.; No. 2 Old Dominion (10-4-1, 7-2) vs. No. 7 Kentucky (6-9-3, 3-4-2), 5:30 p.m.; No. 6 Charlotte (9-5-3, 4-3-2) vs. No. 3 Ala.-Birmingham (12-4-1, 5-3-1), 8 p.m.

Friday’s semifinals

South Carolina-Tulsa winner vs. No. 1 New Mexico (11-4-2, 7-1-1), 5 p.m.; ODU-Kentucky winner vs. Charlotte-UAB winner, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday’s final, 1:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)

All-Conference USA First Team
F: Guiseppe Gentile, Charlotte 
F: Tim Hokinson, Old Dominion
F: Cristian Mata, Tulsa
F: Freddy Ruiz, UAB
MF: Aidan Kirkbride, Charlotte
MF: Ben McKendry, New Mexico
MF: Michael Calderon, New Mexico
MF: Omar Mata, Tulsa
D: Kyle Venter, New Mexico
D: Jason Gaylord, Old Dominion
D: Mahamoudou Kaba, South Carolina
GK: Callum Irving, Kentucky
All-Conference USA Second Team

F: Quentin Albrecht, FIU 
F: Diego Navarette, UAB 
MF: Gonzalo Frechilla, FIU 
MF: Brad Doliner, Kentucky 
MF: Akeil Barrett, Tulsa
MF: Alex Clay, UAB
D: Thomas Allen, Charlotte 
D: Steven Perinovic, Kentucky
D: Mathew Gibbons, New Mexico
D: Braeden Troyer, South Carolina
GK: Sean Stowe, Old Dominion
All-Conference USA Third Team
F: Kyle Parker, Charlotte
F: Ryan Price, Florida Atlantic 
F: James Rogers, New Mexico 
MF: Zach Hunter, Marshall
MF: Michael Kafari, New Mexico
MF: Tony Rocha, Tulsa
D: Travis Brent, Marshall
D: Bradley Bourgeois, Tulsa
D: Darion Copeland, UAB
GK: Michael Lisch, New Mexico
GK: Raphael Ville, UAB
Conference USA All-Freshman Team
Brandt Bronico, MF, Charlotte 
Luke Waechter, D, Charlotte
Marvin Hezel, MF, FIU
Napo Matsoso, MF, Kentucky
Christopher Wehan, MF, New Mexico
Niko Hansen, F, New Mexico
Jesse Miralrio, F, Old Dominion
Cole Stringer, MF, Old Dominion
Kurtis Turner, MF, South Carolina
Marco Velez, GK, South Carolina
Quinton Duncan, D, Tulsa
Jake McGuire, GK, Tulsa
Rami Dajani, F, UAB

Friday, November 8, 2013

Observations: Charlotte 49ers 80, ETSU 75

Observations from Charlotte's 80-75 season-opening victory against East Tennessee State:

-- It's only one game and it was against less-than formidable competition, but center Mike Thorne can answer a lot of questions about this team if he can consistently play as he did Friday (17 points, nine rebounds, both career highs). Thorne never strayed far from the basket (as he shouldn't) and was eight-for-10 from the field on a variety of moves. He said he shot 100 hook shots a day last summer and it showed.

-- Newcomers Shawn Lester (10 points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Bryan (nine points, four rebounds) had impressive debuts. Lester, a guard from Mooresville High who was academically ineligible last season, is an athletic presence who also added four assists. Transfer Ben Cherry missed all five of his 3-pointers, not the kind of debut he had in mind.

-- Guard Terrence Williams' shooting problems from last season are apparently carrying over. He was just two-of-12, although he made an important 3-pointer in the second half as the shot clock expired. Forward Willie Clayton wasn't much of a factor, scoring eight points and grabbing five rebounds before fouling out.

-- Point guard Pierria Henry said the new stricter rules against hand-checking aren't a concern to him. Henry, who had five steals and created his usual defensive havoc before sewing up the game with four free throws in the final 5.5 seconds, said he's always been taught to play defense with his feet, so why would rules restricting what you can do with your hands bother him?

-- The 49ers, who were worried about their front court, outrebounded the Bucs 45-35. The 49ers, who hope to be a better perimeter shooting team this season, were two-of-17 from behind the 3-point arc.

-- Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard, who scored 31 for ETSU, had a previous career high of 16.

-- Don't expect to see guards Denzel Ingram (foot) and Ivan Benkovic (back) back until the Puerto Rico tournament in two weeks, at the earliest.

-- East Tennessee is starting football in 2015 after it returns to the Southern Conference. The Bucs' coach is Carl Torbush, a former coach at North Carolina.


Men's basketall game day: Charlotte 49ers vs. East Tennessee State

7:30 p.m., Halton Arena

The 49ers play their season opener against the Bucs and are coming off a a 21-12 season and their first postseason appearance (NIT) since 2008 ... Charlotte will be without injured guards Denzel Ingram (foot) and Ivan Benkovic (back) ... Two newcomers who figure to make an impact for Charlotte are guards Ben Cherry and Shawn Lester ... The Bucs have three starters back from last season’s 10-22 squad, including forward Lester Wilson, who averaged 13.4 point and 5.3 rebounds ... Freshman guard A.J. Merriweather scored 27 points in an exhibition victory last week against Milligan (Tenn.) ... The last time these two teams played didn’t go too well for the 49ers, with East Tennessee winning 70-69 on a buzzer beater early in the 2011-12 season ... The 49ers women open at 5 p.m. against Liberty ... Charlotte is coming off a 26-6 season that included a WNIT appearance, the 49ers' 11th consecutive postseason appearance.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Charlotte 49ers' Williams, Lester won't be suspended

-- 49ers basketball guards Terrence Williams and Shawn Lester won't face game suspensions for their arrests last summer for second-degree trespassing.

Charlotte coach Alan Major has already disciplined Williams and Lester in other, undisclosed ways, spokesman Brent Stastny said. The 49ers open their season Friday at Halton Arena against East Tennessee State.

Williams and Lester were arrested in August in Charlotte on second-degree trespassing charges. Second-degree trespassing is defined as an unauthorized person knowingly entering a premises without the intent to commit a crime.

Their October court dates were continued to February.

-- Charlotte forward Amanda Jones and defender Monica Trickett were named to the all-Conference USA women's soccer second team and defender Nicole Anderson made the all-freshman team. Jones leads the 49ers with eight goals and 11 assists. Trickett and Anderson have helped the 49ers to eight shutouts this season and a cumulative 1.06 goals-against average.

The 49ers, the top seed from the East Division, have a first-round bye in the league tournament which begins Monday afternoon in Houston. The 49ers will play the winner of Monday's game between Marshall (the East's fifth seed) and Rice (West No. 4) at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

-- Nov. 15 shapes up as a busy day at Charlotte. The Conference USA men's soccer tournament semifinals are scheduled for that day, as is a 4 p.m. men's basketball game against Elon and a volleyball match against Southern Mississippi at 7 p.m.

If the 49ers are in the soccer semifinals, they'll play at 7:30 p.m., avoiding a conflict with the basketball game. The volleyball game, which is also senior night, was scheduled before the basketball game was scheduled, forcing the early 4 p.m. start.   

Friday, November 1, 2013

Basketball teams in exhibitions Saturday

-- The 49ers men's and women's basketball teams get their final preseason tune-ups Saturday with exhibitions against Division II opposition at Halton Arena.

The women play Johnson C. Smith at 2 p.m., followed by a men's exhibition against Wingate at 4:30.

The Golden Bulls were 8-18 last season under first-year coach Steven Joyner Jr. and are picked to finish fourth in the CIAA's Southern Division this season.

Wingate, 22-9 last season, has won the past two South Atlantic Conference tournament championships and is picked to finish fourth in the league this season.

Both teams open their regular seasons next Friday at Halton, the women against Liberty at 5 p.m., the men against East Tennessee State at 7:30.

-- It's Senior Night on Saturday for Charlotte's men's soccer team, which goes against Conference USA foe Marshall at 7 p.m. at Transamerica Field. Seniors Klay Davis, Will Mayhew, Anthony Perez, Thomas Allen, Aidan Kirkbride and Chase Johnson will all be honored. The 49ers have won three in a row, including a 6-0 victory at Florida Atlantic on Wednesday.

Mayhew, who hurt his shoulder against FAU, won't play against the Thundering Herd.