Photo credit: Charlotte Athletics
Charlotte secured first win at Halton over a ranked team since 2010
Saturday has been a long time coming for Niner faithful. It’s been nearly 14 years since Charlotte defeated #15 Temple on January 30th, 2010 at Halton Arena. Since our household is getting over Covid, I wasn’t able to make it to the game, but a quick glance at the CLT/TU box score shows the disparity in things all these years later. In 2011 Charlotte had 7,623 in attendance, and yesterday the Niners hosted #17 FAU in front of 3,785. A reminder of the days of old, or a big win with glimmer of hope?
Charlotte, without starter Jackson Threadgill, surged out ahead of FAU and the Niners kept their foot on the pedal for the first 20-minutes, leading 41-26 at the break. I’ll admit, I kept waiting for a FAU spurt in the first half but Charlotte more than held their own.
“We told the guys at halftime that [FAU] was going to come out and throw some major haymakers and punches at us and they did that. We wobbled there for a long time, but we got the final knockout in at the right time,” said Coach Fearne.
FAU dominated the start of the second half to get back into the game, ultimately taking their first lead of the game with just under 4 minutes remaining 59-57 on an Alijah Martin layup. Charlotte would not fold, exchanging blow-for-blow with the Owls before Lu’Cye Patterson took over for Charlotte and ultimately sealed the deal with 2 free throws after FAU tied it up on a deep three from Johnell Davis with 13 seconds remaining to tie it. I do believe that Fearne was calling for CLT to foul but Halton was so loud the players couldn’t hear. After Patterson nailed what would be the game-winning free throws FAU made a valiant attempt to replay Valpo & Bryce Drew’s famed NCAA buzzer beater over Ole Miss, with a three-point attempt from narrowly missing.
What’s this game mean for Charlotte and Aarone Fearne?
Honestly, it’s too early to tell. The season is 30 or so games long, and you can’t jump to conclusions/decisions based on 1 or 2 outcomes. Make no mistake, this is a great win, but for it to help Fearne cement his future at Charlotte, more wins have to be stacked on the back of this one. Charlotte currently sits 7-7 (1-1) on the season and has 3 favorable AAC games coming up before facing North Texas and @ UAB. This coming Wednesday Charlotte will host Tulsa. before a road trip to UTSA and Rice. I think Charlotte needs to sweep those 3 in an effort to build the momentum and capitalized on Saturday’s win.
Beyond those 3 games, I’d say Charlotte has a pretty favorable AAC slate, with 16 games remaining, Charlotte would currently be favored in 12 of those, per BartTorvik.com. They’ll need more consistency on offense to make a push for the top of the table, and to give Fearne a solid argument for a permanent position. I think a 13-5 mark in league play would have Charlotte near the top of the league, and make a solid argument for Fearne as it heading into the conference tournament at Dickies Arena (Ft. Worth, Texas).