Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball coach Mark Price couldn’t help but comment on the irregularity of having just one game this week, calling it strange during his Tuesday news conference.
Price and the 49ers, however, aren’t complaining.
With its lone game coming Saturday at Old Dominion (15-10, 8-5 Conference USA), Charlotte, losers of four of its past five, will rely on extra practice time to refine some issues that have plagued the team.
“There’s more of a singular focus,” Price said. “You’re not having to prepare for two games over the course of the week, so basically all of our marbles are focused on Old Dominion.”
Referencing what problems the 49ers (11-13, 5-8) are trying to fix, Price said the team’s offensive spacing has regressed. That didn’t help against Middle Tennessee last Saturday, when Charlotte shot 38.5 percent and a season-low 17.6 percent on 3-pointers.
This six-day break between games marks the 49ers’ longest for the rest of the regular season. Thus, with just five games remaining before the conference tournament, this week of practice could be crucial.
“We need to have some really good focus,” Price said. “In practices, we’re going to be breaking things down more than we normally would just to try to clean up some things, do some things better and make sure everybody understands what their roles are and the things we have to do to be successful going down the stretch.”
Rest for Vanhook’s shoulder
Perhaps no player will benefit from this week more than senior forward Anthony Vanhook, who returned Thursday against Ala.-Birmingham after missing one game with a left shoulder injury.
Price said Vanhook’s shoulder will remain wrapped to prevent it from slipping out again and hoped Vanhook, the 49ers’ leading rebounder, could use this week to heal and regain his confidence.
Women’s team looks to rebound
The Charlotte women’s basketball team (17-7, 9-4 C-USA) has experienced few disappointments this season. However, after dropping home games against Ala.-Birmingham and Middle Tennessee last week, the 49ers fell from their perch atop the conference standings.
Now, Charlotte will look to respond amid adversity when it hosts Old Dominion at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“We did a lot of things really well in those games and you just can’t dwell on the negative because we don’t have time for that,” coach Cara Consuegra said. “We have to be able to finish the season strong, which we can and I certainly hope we will.”