Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
Charlotte starts their two-game road trip with Monmouth
If there is one adjective that can describe the 49ers to this point in the season, it is gritty. This squad, in comparison to recent years, seems to have quite an edge about them that not many have had in recent memory. Charlotte boasts an 8-2 record as they travel to take on the Monmouth Hawks, who have been in a bit of a down year, sitting at 1-10.
Charlotte has just wrapped up a stretch of three games which can be described as nothing short of thrillers. They knocked off Davidson at the buzzer, came back from a 23-point deficit against App State, and then beat a Detroit Mercy team despite their best player going for 36 points. Gritty! They have an edge about them. I have been saying it since before the season started and I think that all of Niner Nation is glad that the prediction is coming true.
So, what does Charlotte need to do to get the win over Monmouth?
1. Stick to their process
This is a trap game, and what I mean by that is simple. This is a game where everyone is thinking that the 49ers should win, and it will be easy to get complacent against a team that has proven that they are struggling to find any amount of rhythm. Charlotte just needs to handle their business against a group in which they should handle business against. And, to further explain why this is a trap game; right after this game, the 49ers face UAB, which is arguably the best team in C-USA.
2. Keep pressure on the ball
This is a Monmouth team that averages around 17.3 turnovers per game. Charlotte’s defense, if able to keep up their pressure, could force a handful of turnovers which usually plays in favor of the team forcing them. One noticeable thing in the 49ers’ last game against Detroit Mercy was their double teams.
If the 49ers found the Titans in a late shot clock situation, they would bring a double team to force the ball handler to make a quick decision. This will be something I’m sure Ron Sanchez was happy with last game because it led to 3 shot-clock violations and a few turnovers.
Key player for the 49ers
Aly Khalifa: It is going to be interesting to see how Khalifa plays coming off what, at the time, appeared to be a broken finger, although come to find out it was a severe dislocation. He is the Nikola Jokic of college hoops. A stretch, maybe, but their play style is similar. Aly is a pass first big and that is no exaggeration. He loves getting his teammates involved. This is a game where he could be on triple-double watch, because his matchup will likely be favorable for grabbing rebounds, and we all know how gifted a passer he is.
Looking to Gameday
Monmouth is 3-2 against the spread in their last five games. There isn’t currently a spread for this game as of Friday morning, but I would put it in the ballpark of around -13 in favor of the 49ers. The game is streaming on FloHoops or you can listen to 730 The Game at 2pm ET for all the game action.