The Charlotte 49ers’ first-half performance Monday should give the young team’s fans plenty of hope for the future.
The second half showed how much the 49ers must improve before they can contend in Conference USA.
The 49ers went 9 1/2 minutes without a field goal in the second half and dropped a 76-70 decision to Old Dominion in a Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday matinee at Halton Arena.
Charlotte was sharp in the opening 20 minutes, taking a 34-24 lead against an Old Dominion team that was tied for third in the conference.
“It was an inspiring first half – great defense, sharing the ball well,” 49ers head coach Ron Sanchez said.
Then the second half happened.
The 49ers led 39-30 with 16:28 to play after a basket by Brandon Younger. Charlotte didn’t score another field goal until the 6:59 mark, when Jon Davis hit a jump shot. By that time, the Monarchs led 58-46, and the outcome essentially was decided.
The 49ers closed the game with Davis scoring 13 of his team’s final 16 points. But the six-point final margin was deceiving, as Old Dominion (15-5, 5-2) led comfortably most of the way.
“Very few teams can handle failure, but even fewer can handle success,” Sanchez said, referring to his team’s second-half performance. “When you have a half like the first, you start hard in the second half.
“You don’t take your foot off the pedal defensively.”
The 49ers (5-13, 2-5) held Old Dominion to 35 percent shooting (8-of-23) in the first half. The Monarchs shot 50 percent in the second half (12-of-24). Meanwhile, the 49ers made only three of their first 16 shots in the second half.
The 49ers are Texas-bound, playing UTSA on Thursday and UTEP on Saturday. Old Dominion also heads for Texas, facing UTEP on Thursday and UTSA two nights later.
3 who mattered
Ahmad Caver (Old Dominion): A 6-2 senior guard from Atlanta, Caver scored 20 points, 16 in the second half. He added four assists and two steals.
B.J. Stith (Old Dominion): Stith, another senior guard, had team-high totals of 22 points and seven rebounds.
Jon Davis (Charlotte): The 49ers’ season scoring leader had a game-high 30 points, but he was double-teamed much of the game and scored 13 of his points in the closing minutes.
▪ Charlotte forced seven Old Dominion turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The Monarchs had only two turnovers in the second half. Charlotte turned the ball over nine times in the closing 20 minutes.
▪ The 49ers got what was, in essence, a four-point play in the first half. Dajour Dickens, the Monarchs’ 7-foot center, blocked a Davis layup but received a technical foul for taunting. Davis made two free throws, and the 49ers then scored on a Milos Supica hook shot.
▪ Sanchez said coaching a game on the MLK Holiday was “a blessing.” “What an honor to have the opportunity to play and coach on this day,” he added.
▪ Old Dominion entered the game with Conference USA’s No. 1 scoring defense. The Monarchs had been holding opponents to an average of 60.4 points a game.
They said it
“This is a part of our growth, another lesson we can learn from.” – Sanchez.