Laia Raventós crosses up her defender. Photo by Ben Coon
Laia Raventós crosses up her defender. Photo by Ben Coon

After defeating Rice, the 49ers embark on a 279 mile journey north to battle North Texas, Feb. 13. Road trips aren’t easy, especially when the total distance of travel is roughly 2,350 miles. However, the long weekends are much more manageable and enjoyable when winning basketball games. Fortunately for Charlotte, history favors the 49ers as they’re undefeated all-time against the Mean Green. They’ll look to continue the trend Saturday and return to Queen City unbeaten in the second week of February. Tip-off is scheduled for 3 p.m.

DEFENSE LEADS TO OFFENSE

The 49ers created 21 turnovers against Rice on Thursday night, nearly seven more than their season average. With that many forced turnovers, it’s obvious that the 49ers played momentous defense but their points of turnovers made the difference. For a team that wants to play with a quick tempo, a strong defensive presence is incredibly important. Down the stretch Thursday, defense was the decisive factor as the 49ers created a few noteworthy turnovers in the final five minutes that led to easy layups which deflated the Owls.

The Mean Green average 20 giveaways per game and if the 49ers can take advantage early on, they’ll hold the momentum for the majority of the game, if not all.

NORTH TEXAS SCOUTING REPORT

North Texas enters the matchup with hopes to end their four game losing streak. The Mean Green currently hold a 3-8 conference record and sit 11th in the Conference USA standings. On paper, the Mean Green boast four double-digit scorers in three guards and one forward but struggle to score as a team. Additionally, they match up fairly well with the 49ers height-wise.

While the Mean Green hold the inferior statistics in nearly every category, they do out-rebound their opponents on average. Thus far this season, rebounding has proved be an x-factor for the 49ers. When they haul in more boards than their opponents, they usually record a victory and the same can be predicted for Saturday. Eliminate North Texas’s second-chance opportunities and a pleasing flight back to the Queen City will be on the cards.

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Jared Allen is the Sports Editor for the Niner Times. He has been involved with the newspaper since August 2014. In addition to being a part of the Niner Times, he hosts "The 91st Minute Radio" and calls play-by-play for the Charlotte 49ers men's and women's soccer teams on Radio Free Charlotte. Aside from being a sports (predominantly soccer) fanatic, he enjoys blogging, traveling and occasional backpacking. You can contact him at sports@ninertimes.com

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