Charlotte falls to Rice
Three takeaways from the season finale
In the second round of the C-USA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the Charlotte 49ers fell to the Rice Owls 73-61. Charlotte came into the tournament with some momentum having beaten Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss to end the season. So, here are three takeaways from Charlotte’s opening loss to Rice.
Charlotte has to find a second big man to complement Khalifa
Early in the game, conference freshman of the year Aly Khalifa picked up two quick fouls. Naturally coach Ron Sanchez took him out. But, in comes Luka Vasic, who has yet to really show proven growth on the court.
Perry Francois came in following a short stint with Vasic on the floor. Nothing seemed to be moving in the right direction. So, lastly, Jared Garcia came into the contest hoping to provide some production, and out of the other two did seem to produce better, but still lacked on the defensive end.
“This is something we will address with recruiting,” Sanchez said following the game. “Perry is obviously a senior and will no longer be with us. That is something we need.”
Jahmir Young needs help
The all-conference first team guard did not have his best outing against the Owls as he shot 6-21 on the night and 1-8 from the three point line. A lot of this comes from having to force the offense in late shot clock situations. Shots were being taken out of the normal flow of the offense.
Young finished the game with 14 points only behind Austin Butler’s 16. With Butler and Trapp no longer going to be on the team next season, it leaves many wondering just where the offensive production can come from if it isn’t Young or Khalifa.
All is not lost
It is easy to look at this season in a negative light with the tremendous amount of talent that the team possessed. However, the team did obtain 17 wins, which as of the last three seasons is a drastic improvement.
The team has guys like Daylen Berry who redshirted this year, and will likely be an immediate impact on next year’s team. Also, one guy many overlook having not seen him this season is Brice Williams. Arguably the best all-around player on the team. He can shoot, he can drive, and he can defend at a high level.
The 49ers finish the 2021-22 season with a 17-14 record, which is not optimal, but there is plenty to be evaluated in the off-season to make improvements.
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