The Charlotte 49ers (11-11, 5-6 C-USA) will embark on arguably their toughest three-game stretch of the season starting Thursday night at 8 p.m. at UAB (14-10, 7-4 C-USA), attempting to break the 22 straight home game win streak for the Blazers, dating back to 2014.
The 49ers and Blazers will meet for the 44th time Thursday night, with UAB leading the all-time series between the two teams 28-15. The last time these teams met, UAB escaped with a victory in Halton Arena, 74-72, despite 30 points from Curran Scott, who transferred to Tulsa after the season. Joseph Uchebo also scored 14 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in the loss.
Charlotte’s high-scoring attack
Offense has not been an issue for Charlotte this season. Coming into Thursday night’s game, the Niners have four players averaging double figures, led by Jon Davis’ 19.8 points per game, which also leads Conference USA. The sophomore from Maryland is shooting over 50 percent from the field and also 40 percent from downtown. He also leads the team in assists with 91 on the season.
Charlotte has seen the emergence of transfer Austin Ajukwa as of late, who is coming off of a 30-point, 11-rebound performance. He is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 per game, while also grabbing 4.5 boards per game. Andrien White is currently averaging 11 points per game, along with 4.0 rebounds per game and leads the team with 30 steals. Senior Braxton Ogbueze, Charlotte’s biggest three-point threat, averages 10.8 points per game, and is coming off a game where he hit five three-point shots against FIU.
The 49ers, led by NBA-great Mark Price, average 78.9 points per game, but surrender 81.4 points per game.
Junior William Lee has been dominant in the paint and outside all year for the Blazers down in Birmingham, Alabama, averaging 12.5 points per game and 6.7 boards per game. Lee has connected on 32 threes this season, but defends the rim just as good as anyone in the conference, collecting 57 blocks this season. Chris Cokley is is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 points per game and reeling in 5.8 rebounds per game. Dirk Williams is third on the team in scoring and rounds off the double-digit performers, averaging 10.3 points per contest.
With point guard Nick Norton out for the season due to an ACL injury, Deion Lavender has picked up the production in the assist department, dishing out 90 on the season.
As a team, the Blazers score 73.8 points per game, while giving up only 70.0 points per game. The Blazers have not defended the three-point shot very well this season, giving up 7.4 per game. Look for Charlotte, who has been on fire from deep as of late, to build on their 8.0 made threes per game. Both teams have struggled rebounding the ball as well this season, as Charlotte has only out-rebounded three opponents this season (32.7 rag), while UAB averages 36.3 boards per game.
Look for this to be a close game down the stretch, with UAB wanting to end their two-game losing skid and the 49ers trying to grab a much needed win to stay in the middle of the pack in conference action.