Photo credit: Sam Roberts, Freeze Frame
The Mountaineers are coming to town
The Forty-Niners return to Halton Arena tonight to take on in-state opponent Appalachian State only a few days after beating in-state rival Davidson in spectacular fashion with a buzzer beater from Jackson Threadgill.
Charlotte has been playing its best basketball in years after finishing the month of November 6-2. This team has shown resilience after losing back-to-back games, including an embarrassing performance in Detroit , before going on the road to Davidson and bringing back the Hornets Nest trophy. Aly Khalifa shined while scoring 19 points and securing 16 rebounds versus the Wildcats, a career-high in rebounds. We are starting to see what Sanchez prefers on the court with his rotations as five players played 30+ minutes in the OT win, with Threadgill and Igor Milcic Jr. both playing over 40.
Waiting for them Friday evening are the Mountaineers of Appalachian State, who started the season 3-0 with what looked like a big win then against Louisville. Since, they’ve lost to both Campbell and Kennesaw State at home. Leading in minutes are two local forwards, Donovan Gregory of Carmel Christian (played under Byron Dinkins in high school) and CJ Huntley of Davidson Day. Dustin Kearns and Appalachian State run a system very similar to Ron Sanchez and staff, so offensive execution will be key.
If the Niners are going to come away with their second win this week they need to keep moving the ball as they have all season. Where they have struggled this season is against teams who ball deny Khalifa and taken away the backdoor cuts. It happened against UMASS in the MIB final, if he’s not touching the ball at the top of the three the offense does not run nearly as well. Will the Niners be able to score points if that option isn’t there? Igor Milicic has played at a high-level over the last 2 games, and Charlotte will need his ability to stretch the defense tonight as well. Khalifa and Milicic’s ability to both be long range threats at 6’10+ are a unique weapon at this level.
Tickets are still available for this marquee matchup on the Charlotte 49er ticket site.
Charlotte opened up as 6.5 point favorites with the over/under on total points being 123. For the fellow Niners out there be sure to wear green if you’re coming to Halton tonight for a “green-out.”