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March 13, 2013

49ers look to avoid one and done

ATLANTIC 10 TOURNAMENT 1ST ROUND
The Opponent
Who: Richmond Spiders
Location: Richmond, Va.
Colors: Blue and Red
Series Record: Richmond leads 11-7. The Spiders routed the 49ers 81-61 on Jan. 19, 2012 in Richmond. Darien Brothers torched the 49ers for 39 points, including the Spiders first 17 points of the game.

Record: 18-13, 8-8
National Ranking: N/R

Head Coach: Chris Mooney
Record at Richmond: 146-118, eighth season
Total Record: 164-128, ninth season


The Game
When: Thursday, Mar. 14, 2013
Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Venue: Barclays Center (18,000)

TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: ESPN 730, WZGV

Vegas Line: Richmond -4


The Numbers

1: The number of perimeter shots that the Charlotte 49ers made in their 52-40 over Saint Joseph's. That basket came at the end of from senior guard Colby Lewis.

5: The number of times that the Charlotte 49ers have been "one and done" in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament. They missed the tournament in Alan Major's first season as coach. The 49ers haven't won an A10 Conference Tournament game in five years. The 2008 tournament produced the only two wins program history.

Pre Game Reading

2013 Atlantic 10 Tournament Bracket

1.19.13 Charlotte @ Richmond BOX SCORE

Richmond Game Notes

Charlotte Game Notes

Richmond Times Dispatch: Spiders hope to shake road sickness


Incredible plays or feats stick in human minds for quite some time. For Alan Major, his lasting image of the Richmond Spiders has been one he'd like to forget.

On a cold January night in Richmond, Major watched senior guard Darien Brothers score the first 17 points of the game for the Spiders in route to a 81-61 victory. Brothers also scored the first nine points of the game as the 49ers got behind and never recovered.

Brothers scored 22 more points that evening as he buried the 49ers with a 3-point aerial assault and free throw barrage.

He tied a school record of eight made 3-pointers, scored a new career high of 39 points and also recorded eight rebounds in the 20 point victory.

"I've been watching it in my head ever since we played them," Major said of Brothers performance. "He's a senior, and he had a tremendous game against us the first time around."

In 12 games after that career night, Brothers scored 20 or more points once. In their finale against Duquesne, Brothers left the game after sustaining a cut between his pinky and ring finger on his shooting hand. Brothers is expected to play and Major knows that.

"Somebody emailed me about him hurting his hand; unless his hand got cut-off completely, he's going to be playing on Thursda," Major said.

While Brothers has cooled off to a degree since the first meeting, junior point guard Cedrick Lindsay has picked it up. Over the last eight games Lindsay has averaged 16.4 points, 3.1 assists, and 2.6 rebounds per game. He has scored 20 points or more four times in that stretch.

Sophomore guard Kendall Anthony averaged 10.4 points in league play, the last of three Spiders to average double figures.

For the 49ers, they would like to make their last appearance in the A10 Tournament a memorable one. The league hasn't been kind to them in terms of success - especially in the A10 Tournament.

Five times the 49ers have been eliminated in the opening round game. They've only won two games in A10 Tournament contests, both of those coming in 2008 thanks to Leemire Goldwire.

As a matter of fact, this is the first time the 49ers have even been to the host site of the conference tournament since 2009.

They'll need to rely on the defense that they exhibited against Saint Joseph's in the finale to make their last dance in the league worth remembering.

The 49ers turned in their best defensive performance in nearly a month against the Hawks. The Hawks scored a season low of 40 points and only shot 29.2 percent from the field, 13.6 percent from 3-point range.

Perhaps the biggest key for the 49ers was that they protected the basketball. After a sloppy first half where 11 turnovers turned into nine of the Hawks 19 halftime points, the 49ers only turned it over twice in the second half.

In the first meeting between the two teams, 17 49ers' turnovers resulted in 18 Spiders points.

Let's get statistical

1. Spider freshman forward Alonzo Nelson-Ododa led the Atlantic 10 with 40 blocked shots this season. As a team, the Charlotte 49ers had 35 blocks during A10 play, last in the conference.

1a. Nelson-Ododa was a former high school teammate of sophomore E. Victor Nickerson.

1b. Nickerson has missed seven of his last eight field goal attempts and hasn't attempted a free throw in the last two games.

2. Chris Braswell has scored in double figures in four straight games.

2a. Braswell has scored exactly 10 points in three of the last four games.

3. After poor showings against St. Bonaventure and Duquesne, Darion Clark rebounded with a solid game against Saint Joseph's. Clark scored six points and hauled in seven rebounds.

3a. Most impressive about Clark's six points? He went four of six from the free throw line.

4. The 49ers lost 10 games during the regular season. Six losses of 20 or more, three by single digits and one by 18 points.

KEYS TO THE GAME

1. Do not give Richmond easy looks: The Spiders had a lot of clean looks in the first matchup and the 49ers must do a better job of setting the tone from the get go. The Spiders - Darien Brothers - scored the first nine points of the game thanks to 49er miscues. They must communicate to avoid breakdowns since the Spiders can hit a shot from anywhere on the court.

2. Guard Brothers better, but don't forget about the other guys: Brothers buried Charlotte by himself the last time but he also had help from others. Freshman Deion Taylor scored a season and career high of 13 points against Charlotte and was wide open on a variety of looks. Every team has "that guy" to guard, but the Spiders have plenty of players who can burn the nets.

3. Protect the basketball: At this point in the season, it would be frivolous to write another 250 words on this topic. Bottom line, no careless turnovers.

4. Take opportunities to run: The 49ers need to run when they can so the Spiders cannot get set in their defense. It will be important to convert on fast break opportunities.

5. Limit gambles on defense: The 49ers - especially Pierria Henry - have a tendency to gamble on defense. They've gotten burned quite a bit on those gambles this year since it gets the defense out of position. Against a good shooting team like the Spiders, the 49ers need to keep their man in front of them.

Tim's Closing Thought

Time flies. The transition to the Atlantic 10 has been kind to the 49ers in every sport except men's basketball. This is the Charlotte 49ers last chance to do something in this league.

They have a grand opportunity to make a statement on arguably the biggest stage this tournament has ever seen.

The 49ers do not want to make their sixth one and done appearance. If they're going to stay and play they will have to defend and play smart basketball.

"Smart basketball" refers to efficient shot selection, communicating on defense and limiting gambles.

One win probably guarantees a NIT berth. The NCAA Tournament is always the goal, but there has been a casual progression each year during Major's tenure at Charlotte.

He has a good batch of young players. Let's see how they handle the biggest stage they've been on in quite sometime.


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