Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
The Charlotte 49ers look to build on a 9-2 start as they open Conference USA play—for the last time— away at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).
The Niners go into Birmingham riding a season-high 5 game winning streak after a convincing 34-point win on the road at Monmouth last Saturday. Jackson Threadgill led the way scoring 14. in a game that saw 11 different Niners log 10+ minutes. The lead grew to 20 by halftime and there was no looking back. This was a needed away reset with the nail-biters the team has worked through after close games against Davidson, App St and Detroit Mercy. What awaits them Thursday night is a far tougher opponent.
UAB comes into the contest with the same record as the Niners at 9-2 with loses to Toledo and West Virginia. After two games against the nation’s leading scorer in Detroit’s Antoine Davis they now face the second leading scorer, Jordan “Jelly” Walker”. It is early in the season, but Walker is currently averaging 24.6 points per game and is a 40/40/90 shooter; pair that with over 5 assists and it’s a problem for the Charlotte guards. Up and down the lineup this is a tough matchup for Charlotte, not only with Walker’s dominance but UAB is also very good on the boards, averaging 10 more per game than Charlotte.
How does Charlotte take home a win?
Continue to play defense the way they’ve shown they’re capable of. Slowing the game down can help against a team that likes score and score quickly, currently averaging 87.9 points per game compared to Charlottes 68.8. Igor Milicic Jr could be in line for a big game, he’s performed very well as of late, the three ball is falling at a higher clip and has averaged 7 rebounds a game across the 5-game win streak.
There is a lot on the line Thursday night, nobody wants to start conference play with a loss, especially in their last season in Conference USA. Tip-off is at 7:30pm ET and will broadcasted on ESPN+. Currently UAB is a 11 point favorite.