Northeastern (4-1) vs. Charlotte (5-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 12:30 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Sullivan Arena (8,700) -- Anchorage, Alaska. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Northeastern 1-1, Charlotte 3-0. Away Record: Northeastern 1-0, Charlotte 0-0. Neutral Record: Northeastern 1-0, Charlotte 2-0. Conference Record: Northeastern 0-0, Charlotte 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In the title game of the 2012 Great Alaska Shootout the Northeastern Huskies will battle the Charlotte 49ers at Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
The Huskies punched their ticket to the title game of the tournament by earning a 74-71 victory over Belmont on Friday night. The win puts the Huskies at 4-1 this season and followed in a trend of close decision. The Huskies have had three of their games decided by three points or less, with two of those by just a single point. A four-game homestand awaits Northeastern after this game beginning with a bout against Maine on Wednesday.
Charlotte earned its way to this final game with wins over Loyola Marymount (75-66) and Oral Roberts (72-58). Those two wins are just a pair in what has been a five-game losing streak to open the season for the 49ers. Up next Charlotte will play another home game against East Carolina before its first road test against Davidson.
This marks the first time these two programs have ever matched up.
Despite trailing by double digits in both halves against Belmont, Northeastern clawed its way back for the win. When David Walker nailed a 3-pointer with 58 seconds remaining it gave the Huskies their first lead of the game (70-68) one they would never relinquish. The Huskies connected on an even 50.0 percent of their field goal attempts, including 9-of-19 from beyond the arc but really heated up in the second half (54.5 FG percentage, 5-of-9 3-pt attempts). Joel Smith carried the team on has back down the stretch scoring 14 of his 26 total points in the second half.
The 74 points the Huskies put in a against Belmont was an offensive eruption, at least by Northeastern's standards. On the season the Huskies have been scoring only 64.4 points per game, while still managing to shoot a respectable 45.7 percent from the field. Where the Huskies really need improvement though is on the boards with the team managing only 29.6 rebounds per game. Smith's 24-point outing was a little less out of the ordinary that the team's point total. The guard leads the team in scoring and has also been able to contribute on the glass ($.4 rpg) while handling the distribution duties as well ($.0 apg). Quincy Ford (14.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is on the end of a number of those helpers from Smith and is also the team's leading rebounder. Reggie Spencer (11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) rounds out the squads double-digit scorers and is also a competent rebounder. Depth is the issue though as other than Zach Stahl (7.8 ppg) no other player scores more than four points or grabs more than three rebounds a game.
In the win over Oral Roberts it was yet again Charlotte's performance on the defensive end that keyed the victory. The 49ers held the Golden Eagles to just 33.9 percent shooting in the contest including a 4-of-14 effort from beyond the arc. Charlotte also got a great deal of production off its bench as opposed to Oral Roberts as the 49ers outscored the Eagles 42-0 on points off the bench. Leading the way was DeMario Mayfield, who scored 17 points in 29 minutes off the bench.
Holding opposing teams below 60 points is the norm for Charlotte. The 49ers defensive efforts have been impressive with no team shooting better than 36.5 percent in a game against them. Overall Charlotte is holding teams to a 32.8 field goal percentage and has allowed more than 60 points only once. On the other side the 49ers shoot at a 43.5 percent clip and score 69 points per game. The resurgence of Chris Braswell has been a real lift for the 49ers in the last four games. The senior forward has gotten back to the type of production he was used to last season as he is scoring 14.8 points and bringing in 7.2 rebounds per game. Mayfield (13.0 ppg) is also scoring in double figures off the bench. With Terrence Williams (10.0 ppg) the only starter averaging in double figures it may be time for head coach Alan Major to begin fitting Braswell and Mayfield in for longer stretches.
With Braswell continuing to get better each game and Mayfield adding even more offensive punch, Charlotte has looked formidable at this tournament and should be able to take the title home against Northeastern.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 75, Northeastern 67
11/24 10:31:43 ET