Charlotte played well both offensively and defensively in the first half but it was a tale of two halves for the Niners as they got out of rhythm and lost momentum in the second half, leading to a 76-70 loss at home against Old Dominion. With this loss, Charlotte falls to a 5-13 record and are now 2-5 in conference play.
“For us as a team, we played an inspiring first half. We played great defense, shared the ball well, did a lot of good things. I was really happy at halftime,” said Coach Ron Sanchez. “The second half was not. We lost our way. I think we reverted back to the way we were a few weeks ago when we were still trying to get to the point where we could compete.”
It was a slow start to the game for both teams, as both Charlotte and Old Dominion combined to shoot 2-for-16 to start the game and combined to commit five turnovers in the first seven minutes. The Monarchs didn’t make their first shot until the 12:48 mark in the first half. After the scoring slump to start the game, both teams started to find a rhythm on offense.
With the score tied at 14, the Niners would score the next seven points to take a 21-14 lead after a three-pointer from Malik Martin. The Monarchs scored the next four straight points but Charlotte would then go on a 13-4 run to give themselves a 34-22 lead. Ahmad Caver made a jumper for the Monarchs to close the half with Charlotte leading by double digits heading into the second half. Charlotte finished the first half with four players scoring at least eight points.
With Charlotte leading by 10 in the second half, the Monarchs would then go on a 14-2 run to take a two-point lead over the Niners. Milos Supica would make a pair of free throws to tie the game at 41. Old Dominion would continue their hot stretch, scoring the next 12 points to take a 53-41 lead with 10:17 remaining. Through the first 10 minutes of the second half, Charlotte was outscored 29-7 and committed six turnovers.
With Charlotte trailing by 14, Jon Davis and Cooper Robb would combine to score the next 12 points for the Niners but the Monarchs maintained their double digit lead with under two minutes to play. Davis would then score back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead into single digits. Davis scored 13 of the last 16 points for Charlotte as they started to cut into Old Dominion’s lead late in the game but there was not enough time left in the game for Charlotte to pull off a comeback.
Sanchez was not pleased with the team’s effort in the second half, after playing so well in the first half.
“We have to play for more than 20 minutes,” Sanchez said. “The second half, that effort that was played on the floor today was not good enough to beat a team as talented as ODU.”
Davis finished the game with 30 points and scored 21 of his 30 in the second half. Supica finished the game with 11 points and eight rebounds. Martin scored 12 points off the bench and went 4-for-5 from three-point land for the Niners.
Old Dominion finished the game with four players in double figures and were led by B.J. Stith, who recorded 22 points and seven rebounds for the Monarchs. Caver finished the game with 20 points. Stith and Caver played a big role in the second half, as they combined to score 33 of the 52 points in the second half for Old Dominion.
Charlotte will head to Texas to take on the UTSA Roadrunners on Thursday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m.