By looking at a few crucial numbers, its not difficult to understand why the Charlotte 49ers are more successful at home than on the road.
Charlotte (14-9, 5-5), which opens a three-game Conference USA home stand Saturday against Marshall (8-17, 2-8), is 4-0 in the league at Halton Arena and 9-2 overall at home. Where it gets dicey for the 49ers, however, is when they travel. Theyve lost five straight C-USA away games after winning their league season opener at Texas-El Paso.
Why has Charlotte had success at home in the league? Mainly because of 3-point shooting, both offensively and defensively. The 49ers make 42.2 percent of their long-range shots at home and hold opponents to 25.0 percent. In a 73-61 victory against Florida International, Charlotte went 8-of-15 from 3-point range (with Ben Cherry going 5-for-6) and held the Panthers to 1-of-12.
When the 49ers go on the road, their carelessness with the ball invariably costs them. Charlotte averages 17.0 turnovers in league road games and opponents have turned those mistakes into 113 points, an average of 18.8 points.
In addition, Charlottes assist-to-turnover margin on the road is a shaky minus-3.0, as opposed to plus-1.2 at home.
Junior point guard Pierria Henry had 11 turnovers in road defeats against Tulane (six) Southern Mississippi (five) last week.
If a guys doing that 10 or 15 times a season, then thats something (to be concerned with), 49ers coach Alan Major said. What (Henry) did was he hung on to the turnovers after they happened. He let a couple affect the next one. I tell the guys, if you turn it over once, dont do it over again in your mind. Thats like letting it happen three or four times.
• Conference USAs standings got a good shaking up on Thursday. With Texas-El Paso losing to Florida Atlantic and Southern Mississippi falling to Alabama-Birmingham, there is now a four-way tie for first at 8-2 among UTEP, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee, with Tulsa one game back at 7-3.
Middle Tennessee, which has won six straight, is the team to watch for now. But the schedule toughens for the Blue Raiders, who are home against Southern Miss on Saturday and then play three consecutive games on the road beginning next Thursday at Charlotte.
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