Both coaches will be looking for defensive improvements Saturday afternoon when the Charlotte 49ers and Davidson renew their Hornets Nest basketball rivalry.
The teams, each 3-1, meet at 4 p.m. at Davidson. The 49ers lead the series 28-14, but Davidson has won the past three, including a 109-74 rout last season on Charlotte’s home floor. The 49ers lead 28-14 in the all-time series.
Davidson is coming off a fifth-place finish in last weekend’s Tire Pros Invitational, and coach Bob McKillop said his team must improve defensively from how it played in Florida.
McKillop also was unhappy with how the Wildcats allowed Arizona State to chip away at a big lead in the final game of the tournament. Davidson won 68-60, but McKillop said, “That’s not the way I coach, that’s not the way these guys play, so I take responsibility … because we were not in attack mode.”
Charlotte coach Mark Price was not pleased with the 49ers’ defense in Tuesday’s 108-103 overtime loss to South Carolina-Upstate.
“I thought we made some progress on the defensive side of the floor after the ECU game (a 49er victory), but we took a step back (against USC-Upstate),” Price said.
Sophomore guard Jon Davis averages 23 points to lead Charlotte, and Davidson senior guard Jack Gibbs appears to be healed from a preseason shoulder injury. He averaged 23.7 points in the Wildcats’ three games in the Florida tournament.
APPALACHIAN STATE (3-2) at DUKE (5-1)
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, noon, FSCR
The Mountaineers have outrebounded their past four opponents, but they face a Blue Devils team that has scored 42 percent of its points in the paint. Ronshad Shabazz scored 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds for ASU in a Wednesday victory at Hartford. Amile Jefferson has three straight games of 10 or more rebounds for Duke.
LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (5-1) at N.C. STATE (4-1)
PNC Arena, Raleigh, 4 p.m.
Both teams played in last weekend’s Paradise Jam in the Bahamas, but they didn’t face one another. Loyola is off to its best start in six years and is shooting 51.4 percent from the floor. The Wolfpack’s highly regarded freshman, Dennis Smith Jr., averaged 22 points and six assists in three Bahamas tournament games.
SOUTH CAROLINA (5-0) vs. NO. 18 SYRACUSE (4-0)
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y., 2:30 p.m.
Syracuse is shooting 52.4 percent from the floor and making nearly 45 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Gamecocks are coming off a 15-point win against 25th-ranked Michigan. They have held their past four opponents to under 40 percent field-goal shooting, and Michigan hit only 19 percent from the floor. This is South Carolina’s first game away from home.
QUEENS (5-0) at JOHNSON C. SMITH (2-3)
Brayboy Gymnasium, Charlotte, 5 p.m.
While Davidson and Charlotte are meeting in a Queen City-area rivalry, these two Division II city foes also square off. Mike Davis scored 29 points in Queens’ 104-86 victory Tuesday over Newberry. The host Golden Bulls are coming off a road loss to Lees-McRae. Robert Davis, who had been hitting 52 percent from the floor, was held to 2-of-14 in that game. Queens beat the Golden Bulls 87-77 last year.