The Mark Price era with Charlotte’s men’s basketball team began not with a bang, but with a clang.
“Clang,” in this case, was the sound of 49ers’ shots hitting the rim instead of going in the basket in their 85-74 season-opening loss to Elon on Friday at Halton Arena.
Ridell Camidge, one of eight new players on Charlotte’s roster, scored 18 points, Bernard Sullivan added 13 and Andrien White 10 for Charlotte (0-1) in losing Price’s debut as the 49ers’ coach.
“Obviously a disappointing start to the game,” Price said. “To be honest, I haven’t quite seen anything like that. We couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean … and dug ourselves a big hole. But we settled ourselves in the second half, and played much better basketball.”
Dmitri Thompson had a game-high 21 points and three other players finished in double figures for the Phoenix (1-0). Tanner Samson added 12 points, and Tyler Seibring and Dainan Swoope had 11 each.
The term “clank” applied equally to both teams in Friday’s game.
Charlotte missed 13 of its first 14 shots and hit just 27.3 percent from the field in the first half, while Elon hit at a 57.6-percent clip in building a 53-26 halftime lead.
The Phoenix built that lead to as many as 37 points in the second half before they too began clanking the ball off the rim. That allowed the 49ers to pull within 10 points with less than 90 seconds remaining and chances to pull even closer.
Three worth mentioning
Ridell Camidge: The 49ers’ most-consistent shooter against the Phoenix. He hit 6 of 7 from the field, including 3 of 4 3-pointers – the only Charlotte player to make more than one – and 3 of 5 from the free throw line.
Bernard Sullivan: Struggled close in and far away from the basket Friday, making just 4 of 14 shots. He was better at the free-throw line (5 of 9), and also pulled down eight rebounds and had one of the 49ers four blocked shots.
Andrien White: Also had his problems shooting, going 3 of 7 from the field (1 of 4 on 3-pointers) but was 3 of 3 from the free-throw line.
▪ Charlotte’s stat lines from Friday’s loss: in the first half, the 49ers were 9 of 33 from the field, 2 of 7 on 3-pointers and 6 of 13 on free throws; in the second half, they hit 15 of 32 from the field, 4 of 9 3-pointers and 14 of 21 free throws.
▪ Compare those numbers to Elon’s: 19 of 33 from the field, 7 of 12 3-pointers and 8 of 11 from the line in the first half; 14 of 36 from the field, 1 of 12 on 3-pointers and 3 of 5 from the line in the second half.
▪ White did have a highlight-reel play in the second half, stripping Elon’s Collin Luther and racing down court for a two-handed reverse dunk with 10:52 left in the second half.
▪ Anthony Vanhook was whistled for the 49ers’ first technical foul of the season, coming with 10:06 left in the first half when he appeared to push Samson after battling for a loose ball. However, the push may have been a well-timed flop by Samson that fooled the referees.
▪ Charlotte officials did a classy thing by holding a pregame moment of silence for Elon football player Demitri Allison, a Cornelius native who died Wednesday after falling from a 10-story dorm on the UNC Chapel Hill campus.
▪ The 49ers hit the road for their next game, traveling to Greenville, to play East Carolina on Monday at 7 p.m.
▪ Phoenix freshman guard Steven Santa Ana, who earned AP All-State honors at Ardrey Kell, played 12 minutes in Friday’s game. He was 0 for 3 from the field, and missed a pair of 3-point attempts.
They said it
“You don’t want to lose your home opener, but we dug ourselves a big hole. I was proud of the guys and the way they fought back in the second half. Maybe we learned a tough lesson tonight.” – Price.
“The first half, they made everything and we missed everything. I know I missed a lot of shots that are easy shots I usually make.” – Sullivan.