A season ago, the Charlotte 49ers’ men’s basketball team concluded the regular season with a two-game Texas road trip before heading straight to Birmingham, Ala., for the Conference USA tournament.
The opponents have changed this year - Charlotte (12-15, 6-10 C-USA) faces Texas-San Antonio on Thursday and Texas-El Paso on Saturday instead of Rice and North Texas. But once again, a grueling road swing awaits the 49ers before going to Birmingham.
“I told the league, ‘That’s two years in a row. Next year we need to be home our last couple of games,’ ” Price said Monday. “Hopefully they’ll accommodate us that way and we can go straight from (Charlotte).”
Charlotte split the road games last year, then defeated Rice in the first round of the conference tournament. In the second round, the 49ers led by as many as nine points before losing to Middle Tennessee - which won the C-USA tournament and defeated Michigan State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
So, could a similar schedule help Charlotte?
“It didn’t hurt us last year, I didn’t think,” Price said. “I thought we played really well our first game and we played well for the first half of our second game last year. Those three days maybe, going straight there and not coming here and going back, is a good thing.”
3-point shooting struggles
Through games played on Feb. 8, the 49ers ranked 38th nationally with a 38.7 3-point percentage. Charlotte was 11-11 overall and just two games out of third place in the conference standings with a 5-6 C-USA record.
Since then, the 49ers are shooting 27.9 percent (31-for-111) on 3-pointers over their past five games. They’re 1-4 during that stretch.
“I think sometimes it’s just seeing the ball go in,” Price said. “A couple of shots go in early and then everybody starts feeling better about it. … We need to make some shots to have a chance to keep this thing going.”
Women’s basketball rebounds
Three weeks ago, the women’s basketball team sat atop the conference standings. Then adversity struck, as Charlotte dropped its next four games by 12 total points.
The 49ers (18-9, 10-6 C-USA) broke their losing streak Saturday with an 89-75 win at Marshall. Now, sitting in fifth place in C-USA, they hope that trying stretch can help them going forward.
“When we were going through it, it was hard,” coach Cara Consuegra said. “‘Why is this happening to us? We keep losing these close games. We’re a better team than this.’ I think it was a really good wake-up call for us.”