"Life in the A10, once again."
Alan Major couldn't have described the scrappy conference matchup any better as the Charlotte 49ers improved to 15-2 (3-0) with a 74-68 victory over the Fordham University Rams in Halton Arena on Wednesday night.
Forty-four of the 49ers 74 points would come from the bench as Darion Clark, Demario Mayfield, and J.T. Thompson all contributed double-figure scoring performances.
The starting five for the 49ers shot 11-for-37 (29.7 percent) from the field while the bench shot 15-for-22 for a blazing 68.1 percent.
"No matter how small or how big your contribution is it helps us win," said Coach Major on his bench's performance.
Thompson scored 12 points, a season high. Four of those came from the free-throw line, where he's connected on all 16 of his attempts this season.
"I think its great that we have the depth that have, with the guys coming off the bench and scoring the way they do," said Thompson. "There's going to be days where our first five [aren't making shots] and we can do that and its going to be really hard for teams to beat us."
Thompson provided a scoring spark for the 49ers, who had trouble putting the ball in the basket in the first half. Thompson connected on all three of his shots as the 49ers struggled at times shooting -- their low point being 23.1 percent from the field in the middle of the first half.
The 49ers were able to combat their early offensive struggles with their defensive-minded identity as they forced the Rams to shoot 37 percent in both halves. They're 13-0 when forcing teams to shoot under 40 percent.
"That's a 15 and 2 basketball team," said Rams Head Coach Tom Pecora. "They're very deep, their young players are very good."
Rams guard Branden Frazier scored a game high 23 points. All Atlantic 10 selection Chris Gaston entered the game averaging 15 points a game, but he was virtually shutdown as he only scored three points, as he only hit one of his 12 attempts from the field.
The 49ers shoot around 45 percent per game and they they shot 44.1 percent against the Rams. However, it's becoming all too evident that the 49ers are lacking a true shooter, especially from three-point range.
They went 0-for-7 in the first half and 2-for-8 in second with both makes coming from Mayfield, who would end with a team high of 18. The 49ers are averaging 26.7 percent from outside the arc this season.
Braswell led the starters with 8 points.
Coach Major stressed before the game that his team needed to play for forty minutes. They would finish the game looking fresh by dividing the workload between seven players who played over 20 minutes with Pierria Henry being the lone 49er over 30.
In all, the 49ers struggled minorly under the rim as the Rams outrebounded them 44-35. But, they forced the Rams into 18 turnovers and collected 9 steals. Henry led the team with four of those.
The 49ers face a tough road test as they venture to Richmond to play the Spiders on Saturday, January 19th.