Charlotte (17-4) at Temple (14-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 6, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liacouras Center (10,206) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: None. Home Record: Charlotte 11-1, Temple 9-2. Away Record: Charlotte 3-3, Temple 4-4. Neutral Record: Charlotte 3-0, Temple 1-1. Conference Record: Charlotte 5-2, Temple 3-4. Series Record: Temple leads, 7-5.
GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers will try to continue to prove that they belong among the Atlantic 10 Conference's elite, as they pull into the City of Brotherly Love for bout with the Temple Owls.
Charlotte has been one of the A-10's biggest surprises this season, as it has lost just four of its 21 games and sits in a tie for second place in the league with a mark of 5-2. The 49ers' most recent triumph came last Saturday, as they held on to defeat UMass at home, 66-65.
Temple (14-7, 3-4 A-10) was expected to be one of the conference's top squads this season, but after a 10-2 start, it has gone just 4-5 in its last nine tilts. The Owls appeared to have their Saturday afternoon contest with cross- town rival Saint Joseph's well in hand, up by nine with six minutes to play, but they lost control of that advantage and were eventually saddled with the heart-breaking 70-69 loss.
Temple has won five of the last six matchups with Charlotte to take a 7-5 lead in the all-time series.
Charlotte saw its eight-point lead in the second half against UMass disappear, as the Minutemen tied the game at 63-63 with 2:22 to play, but E. Victor Nickerson went on to hit what proved to be the game-winning free throws a minute later to help seal the deal for the 49ers. Even though they were outshot from the field, 49 percent to 39.7 percent, the Niners outscored the Minutemen from the foul line, 16-6, and won both the rebounding (37-32) and turnover (19-14) battles. Nickerson scored 12 points in the win, Ivan Benkovic netted 10, and all nine players to take the floor contributed in the scoring column. Putting points on the board hasn't been Charlotte's forte this year, as it ranks 12th in the league with an average of 67.6 ppg, but it has found success this season behind its fourth-ranked scoring defense (63.4 ppg). With DeMario Mayfield (11.7 ppg) suspended indefinitely, Chris Braswell serves as the team's leading scorer with 11.4 ppg, while Pierria Henry (8.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 2.9 spg) and Willie Clayton (8.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg) are also regular contributors.
Temple played a relatively mistake-free game against Saint Joseph's the last time out, committing just five turnovers, but it was hindered by a sub-39 percent shooting effort. Despite the disappointing day for the team, Khalif Wyatt continued his outstanding season by shooting 11-of-24 from the field (including 7-of-14 from 3-point range) for a career-high 34 points, topping his previous best of 33 set in this season's win over nationally-ranked Syracuse. Will Cummings added 11 points in the setback, while Anthony Lee grabbed 10 rebounds. The Owls' season has been mired in mediocrity statistically, as they rank eighth in the A-10 in scoring offense (69.4 ppg) and ninth in scoring defense (65.3 ppg). Wyatt is the conference's leading scorer at 18.6 ppg, shooting 42 percent from the floor and 82.8 percent from the foul line. Scootie Randall is a multi-faceted forward with 11.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 bpg and 35 3-pointers, while Lee (11.4 ppg, 7.8 ppg) shoots greater than 55 percent from the floor.
As good as Charlotte has been this season, it is just 3-3 on the road, which includes losses in its last two road tilts. Temple has the talent to compete with anyone in the league, and at the Liacouras Center, it should be able to get back on track.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Temple 70, Charlotte 67
02/06 10:36:52 ET