Friday, January 10, 2014

Observations from Charlotte 49ers' victory at UTEP

EL PASO, Texas -- Observations from the 49ers' 73-68 victory Thursday at UTEP:

-- 49ers opponents were averaging 72.3 points before Thursday's game, a number coach Alan Major earlier this week said was too high for his liking. He said he'd prefer it to be in the 68- or 69-point range and, after the 49ers limited the Miners to 41.8 percent shooting, that's what he got in the 49ers' first Conference USA game.

-- Say what you will about how limited the Miners were due to three players being dismissed from the team for gambling, any win on the road -- especially in a tough place to play like UTEP's Haskins Arena -- is a good one. It wasn't pretty for Charlotte, but that didn't matter.

-- Keys to the victory were the continued resurgence of center Mike Thorne, who had 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds; 8 first-half points by guard Shawn Lester; and Terrence Williams' 14 points. Williams' field-goal percentage is 33.6, but he's hit 50 percent of his shots in the last four games. Williams has become a reliable 3-point shooter, too, making 43.5 percent from long range. Although he didn't try a 3 against the Miners, he's made seven of his last 10.

-- The 49ers didn't make it easy on themselves in the final minutes. After going ahead 68-60 on a pair of free throws by Williams with 3:39 left, Charlotte made just 3 of 8 free throws the rest of the way. Thorne also committed two fouls in 15 seconds, fouling out with 2:18 left. Then there were two turnovers, one that led to a layup by UTEP's Julian Washburn with 25 seconds left that cut Charlotte's lead to 4.

-- Pierria Henry missed some practice time this week with a head injury (he got bopped on the noggin in a practice after the N.C. A&T game). He was in foul trouble most of the night against UTEP, but finished with 13 points, 7 assists and 4 turnovers.

-- Best victory of the season for the 49ers now has become, not Michigan, but Kansas State in Puerto Rico. The 25th-ranked Wildcats (12-3) lost the next game in the tournament against Georgetown, but have won 10 straight, including victories against Gonzaga and Oklahoma State.

-- Next up for the 49ers is UTSA (5-9, 1-0), which beat Marshall 90-81 Thursday.


Anonymous said...

Did anyone watch that game and feel like Alan Major does much with the team? He looks disinterested. Here's a thought: Wake up long enough to voice an opinion with a referee. It's not against the law. It shows your blood is actually circulating.
Yippee. Major is finally a game over .500 in his 4th year. Nice investment.

Anonymous said...

Alan coach the game like an army major. He let his luetienents and sargents run the operations. He the quiet mastermind behind the stratige.
Alan is a pure professional on the bench. If you want a clown act go watch nc state!