Charlotte, NC – The Charlotte 49ers outlasted the Davidson Wildcats 71-58. It was an energetic crowd at Halton Arena for the 49ers first home game of the season. Right at the tip 49ers guard Jordan Shepherd shot a beautiful floater to start the game and for the rest of the first half Davidson got attacked with stifling defense from the 49ers. Shepherd led the charge at point by sharing the ball and using his quickness and athleticism to his advantage by scoring 12 points in the game.
At the beginning of the game Davidson was overwhelmed by the 49ers defense and was a bit too passive on offense. That’s when Davidson guard Luke Frampton led the charge with his efficient catch and shoot ability which stopped the bleeding, Frampton closed the half with seven points. Whether it was man to man, help side, or a double team 49ers energy on defense was at a sky high. They also tightened up on freshman guard Hyunjung Lee who has long range 3-point shooting ability. Lee, from Yongin City, South Korea, was held him to only two points at the half and five points for the game.
Charlotte’s defense created so many problems for Davidson in the first half as the Wildcats were held to only 13 percent from beyond the arc. 22 of the 49ers 39 first half points was in the paint, while Charlotte had 14 bench points to Davidson’s two. Charlotte held a 39-22 halftime lead. 49ers Forward Milos Suplica was dominant in the paint offensively in pick and rolls and using a variety of post moves at the rim which nearly got him a halftime double-double with nine points and six rebounds.
In the second half the 49ers started to get a bit lazy on defense and Davidson came out with a lot of energy and ball movement on offense. Because of minimal communication Davidson got easy uncontested layups at the rim and was consistent at the 3-point line. Davidson Guard Kellan Grady led the charge shooting (9-of-17) and ending up with 20 points helped by his activity and aggression around the rim. Davidson got the score to within 59-45 with 7:51 remaining when 49ers Head Coach Sanchez called a timeout.
Davidson gained a lot of momentum, but players like Cooper Robb and Amidou Bamba came off the bench for the 49ers and sparked energy by crashing the boards, setting good screens, and sacrificing their body for loose balls. It was a back and forth battle with Davidson’s push on both sides of the ball. Davidson aggression got them within nine points with 5:08 remaining. Charlotte then dug deep and was clutch iny making five free throws in the last minute to pull the 13-point victory. After the game Head Coach Ron Sanchez said “Charlotte is still growing defensively and the team is experienced and doesn’t panic”.