Photo credit: Sam Roberts, Freeze Frame
Can Brice Williams stay en fuego?
After two impressive home wins against Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee where Brice Williams scored 31 in both, the Ron Sanchez and the Charlotte 49ers are looking for a 3rd consecutive conference win in Miami versus the FIU Panthers. The Panthers come into this one 6-7 overall with a 0-2 start to conference play, losing at FAU and UNT.
The hottest start the program has had in years continued into conference play thanks to top-tier situational defense, great free throw shooting and Brice Williams. The Niners will be ready to get their first conference road win of the season after being undermanned vs UAB a few weeks back, where they were missing Igor Milicic and Jackson Threadgill was cleared (flu) just hours before the game and scrambled to make it to Birmingham.
While a lot of players have been overshadowed over the last week with the resurgence of Williams, we must mention some key contributors during this run. Aly Khalifa continues to impress with his passing and is now light years better on the defensive end. While having a rough shooting day Lu’Cye Patterson still put up 5 assists and Montre Gipson has started to find his jumper.
On the FIU side of the ball Charlotte’s guards need to be ready to defend a lot of shots. The Panthers guards combine for 30 points a game between Arturo Dean and Denver Jones. This is a deep roster with 9 players averaging more than 15 minutes a game, so expect a ton if different lineups, and for FIU to push the tempo (23rd in nation per Evan Miya). Outside of Jones it’s not a particularly good three-point shooting team, which certainly plays into Charlotte’s defensive philosophy.
ESPN currently has the Niners with an 80% chance of winning, at the point of this article there were no betting lines. Tip is at 7:00pm ET Thursday night and can be streamed on ESPN+.