Photo credit: Sam Roberts, Freeze Frame
A balanced approach paces CLT to victory
Monday night Ron Sanchez and the Charlotte 49ers opened the 2022-23 campaign with a victory over Juan Dixon and the Coppin State Eagles. Charlotte and Coppin State went back-and-forth for about 9 minutes of action before the Niners finally took a 20-18 at the 11:13 on a Montre’ Gipson layup. From that point on Charlotte never looked back, taking a 45-32 point lead into halftime, and never allowing the Eagles to get back within single digits in the second half.
Before I forget, I’d like to give a shoutout to the CLT Gold Mine (official student section), as the students did a great job in the home opener. I’m excited to see how having multiple student leaders to synchronize their efforts help create a better environment in Halton Arena this year.
While Charlotte limited Coppin State to just 59 points, they did give up 34 points in the paint. That’s certainly an area I’ll be keeping an eye on as the season progresses, it’s been an issue throughout Sanchez’s tenure, and I’m curious if the expansion of the three point line has made the pack line philosophy less effective. This defense is designed to prevent penetration and force longer/tougher shots, but with the evolution of the game, I do wonder if it’s harder to successfully orchestrate this defense, as your defender now have more ground to cover.
Charlotte owned the glass, out rebounding CSU by 10, and only allowing 3 offensive rebounds, both great signs. Another great size was our defense forcing such a low percentage from the three point line, as the Eagles went 3-22 (13.6%).
When looking at Charlotte’s offensive execution, ball movement stuck out to me. At times last year, and the season before, it would see that the ball would “stick” too often and impede our rhythm during a game. There was a clear level of selflessness on Monday night between the players and it was a treat to watch. Charlotte had 4 players in double figures, led by Jackson Threadgill’s efficient 16 point performance. There were also 36 bench points scored, certainly a great sign when your non-starters are able to help score and something to watch as the rotations change throughout the season.
Watch this clip on Twitter for a prime example of beautiful ball movement from the guys.
Charlotte hosts Maryland Eastern Shore on Monday night, November 14th (7pm ET) at Halton Arena, with ESPN+ as your streaming option for this one. The Hawks opened the season with a 19 point at loss at Old Dominion and will have a home game this Saturday versus Division III’s Bryn Athyn before coming down to the 704. Hope to see you in Halton!