The Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball team wrapped up the November portion of their 2017-18 schedule with a 3-3 record. The record could be worse, but it could also be better. The team left several plays, and maybe even a couple wins, on the floor.
- 11/10: Charlotte opened up the season against Methodist University, a Division III basketball program. Charlotte reflected that by lighting up the scoreboard for a Halton-record 116 points and a 40-point victory, a good way to start any season.
- 11/13: Then, the 49ers hit the road for a contest against Oklahoma State. Charlotte suffered an 18-point defeat at the hands of the Cowboys, but didn’t help themselves much in terms of shooting. A slow start in the first half, featuring a 6-23 (26.09 percent) shooting performance for the team, dug them a hole that they just couldn’t get out of.
- 11/18: Charlotte would return back to Halton to face College of Charleston, a team projected to dance this season. In a “see-where-you’re-at” game, Charlotte again struggled to come out the gates running. They trailed by 17 with just under six minutes left in the first half. They would make an effort at the comeback, but couldn’t seem to close the gap to more than eight or nine. Charlotte also struggled with perimeter defending, allowing Charleston’s Joe Chealey to score 29 points, including 5-7 (71.4 percent) from three-point range. Charleston shot over 45 percent as a team from beyond the arc.
- 11/20: Desperate to get back to winning ways, the 49ers battled Presbyterian in Halton Arena just a couple of days later. In what turned out to be a nine-point victory, junior guard Jon Davis found his stroke and poured in a season-high 24 points and added seven assists. Davis also played a whopping 39 minutes, 10 more than anyone else on the team that night.
- 11/24: The 49ers welcomed in-state foe High Point University to Charlotte and defeated them, 70-67 to move to 3-2. The Niners again struggled defending the opposing guards, allowing High Point’s Brandonn Kamga to score 26 points on 11-16 (68.8 percent) shooting.
- 11/28: The Battle for the Hornet’s Nest. Charlotte vs. Davidson. In a 15-point loss, Charlotte couldn’t find much offensively. Davis shot 2-11 from the floor and scored only five points. Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge and Kellan Grady scored 25 points and 22 points to lead the Wildcats to victory.
Charlotte has got to find their identity on both the offensive and defensive side of the floor and stick with it. At times, they go three and four minutes without a basket and that transitions into fast break opportunities for the opposition. If they find better shots and create more opportunities, that will slow the game down and allow Charlotte to find a rhythm.
Also, the slow starts have ailed the 49ers all year. It puts them in a hole and gets them out of their original gameplan. With such a young team, falling behind early does them no good. If they can hit their shots early and play disciplined defense from the tip, that’s the difference in wins and losses right there.
Most importantly, Jon Davis has not been the Jon Davis we all know and love. Last year, any time the team needed anything, whether it was a game-winning shot or someone to get the offense going, Davis was there to answer the call every single time. In the off-season, NBA scouts and GMs alike were drooling over Davis’ potential. He was invited to Chris Paul’s camp in Winston-Salem along with other top guards around the country, including UNC’s Joel Berry III. He also attended the Nike Invitational out in California, so there’s no question the talent he has. He’s in some sort of slump and he’s got to get out of it. When he does, the offense will take care of itself because there are so many weapons for Davis to choose from, whether it be sharpshooting freshman Ryan Murphy, Davis’ roommate Andrien White or the Serbian tandem in Milos Supica and Luka Vasic. It’s not normal for Charlotte to struggle scoring the ball. They are young, and it will eventually start to click.
Charlotte didn’t start off the month of December on the right foot, losing to James Madison on the 2nd. However, they have a great opportunity Tuesday, Dec. 5 against Wake Forest to get the ball rolling and hit their strides. At 3-4, the season is still young and the corrections can still be made, but it starts now.