La Salle (10-3) at Charlotte (12-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,105) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: La Salle 6-1, Charlotte 7-1. Away Record: La Salle 4-2, Charlotte 2-1. Neutral Record: La Salle 0-0, Charlotte 3-0. Conference Record: La Salle 0-0, Charlotte 0-0. Series Record: Charlotte leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: Atlantic 10 Conference play begins for a pair of teams, as the La Salle Explorers head south to take on the Charlotte 49ers at Halton Arena.
The Explorers rebounded from a loss at Miami by defeating Penn, 74-57, at Tom Gola Arena in a Big 5 contest on Saturday afternoon. Tyreek Duren and Ramon Galloway each dropped in 17 points to lead the way. The Explorers forced 21 turnovers and held the Quakers to just 36 percent shooting from the field.
La Salle's backcourt continues to thrive at both ends of the court, with three players averaging double figures in scoring (Galloway, Duren and Garland at 17.8, 15.3 and 14.7 ppg, respectively). The team ranks in the top-20 nationally in turnovers per game (11.3). Galloway's scoring total continues to lead the A-10, while his 3-point field goal percentage (.476) and 3-point field goals per game (3.33) ranking in the top-15 nationally.
This game marks the ninth meeting between Charlotte and La Salle, with the former leading the series, 5-3. However, the Explores have won the last two meetings.
The 49ers defeated visiting UNC Asheville, 71-63, in overtime last Wednesday. It was their final non-conference game of the season. Freshmen Willie Clayton and Denzel Ingram each scored 16 points in the game. Clayton also grabbed 16 rebounds, for his second straight double-double and his third of the season, helping to earn Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors. DeMario Mayfield scored 15 points off the bench. Pierria Henry scored 11 points, grabbed six rebounds and recorded three steals.
The 49ers started the season on a hot streak, winning their first nine contests before getting blown out, 77-46, at Miami. The 49ers have outscored 12 of their 14 opponents in the paint, and the team averages 37.6 ppg down low. Strong defense and rebounding has been one of the keys to Charlotte's success this season, including an A-10 best field goal percentage defense (.368), which ranks its 15th nationally. The 49ers also rank in the top three in the conference in three point field goal percentage defense (.308) and rebounding margin (+3.8). Senior forward Chris Braswell paces the Niners in scoring (12.5 ppg), blocked shots (1.1 bpg), and is the team's second-leading rebounder (6.2 rpg). Sophomore guard Pierria Henry is averaging 3.07 spg, which ranks fifth in the country.
These two teams appear to be evenly matched, therefore expect the little things to make the difference. The 49ers defense and rebounding prowess should be enough to tilt the scales in their favor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 72, La Salle 67
01/09 10:37:16 ET