There might come a time this season when the Charlotte men’s basketball team can’t ride the coattails of sophomore guard Jon Davis’ second-half success to victory.
Through the first three games of the season, though, that’s certainly been the case.
After the 49ers entered halftime Thursday at Halton Arena clinging to a 25-24 lead against East Carolina, the sophomore guard erupted for 20 second-half points, helping lead his team to a 76-64 win and the program’s first 3-0 start under coach Mark Price.
“There can’t be anybody playing better than him at the moment,” said Price about Davis. “He’s just doing everything for us. He gets going and he has his moments where he just takes it over and hits big shots for us.”
A sloppy first half saw Charlotte shoot 29.4 percent from the floor. During the opening period, Davis also struggled to find his groove, making two of seven shots.
When the second half began, though, he caught fire, scoring the 49ers’ first seven points. There was no looking back.
The Pirates (2-1) cut Charlotte’s lead to two points with 6 minutes, 26 seconds left in the game, but Davis responded with a 3-pointer on the other end. The shot sparked a 9-0 run by the 49ers that ultimately put the game out of reach.
Three who mattered
Davis: His 24-point performance marked his third 20-point game to start the season.
Anthony Vanhook: The senior forward registered a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds. He also added eight assists.
Braxton Ogbueze: After a slow start, the senior guard also excelled in the second half, scoring all 11 of his points in the period.
▪ Entering Thursday’s game, Charlotte ranked 29th nationally in adjusted tempo, according to KenPom.com, while East Carolina ranked 320th. It wasn’t always pretty, but the 49ers dictated the tempo for almost the full 40 minutes.
▪ The 49ers’ defense forced 21 turnovers, which led to 21 points. Meanwhile, the offense turned the ball over just eight times.
▪ Charlotte committed 11 second-half fouls, but they were whistled for only one in the final 8:54.
▪ The Pirates played without senior guard Caleb White, who was suspended one game for an NCAA rules violation. White entered Thursday leading East Carolina with 16.5 points per game.
▪ Vanhook was called for a flagrant foul with nine minutes left, leading to a four-point swing that gave East Carolina a 54-53 lead. The Pirates never led again.
They said it
“I actually felt really good shooting 29 percent and being up one at halftime. I’m sure the day will come when we’ll have two bad halves in a row, but it’s not something I think is going to happen very often. The main focus was not to let our guard down defensively and continue playing our game.” – Price on his team bouncing back in the second half.