“I don’t know when it will happen, but it will happen and I keep believing it. Something special is going to happen with this group. I don’t know what that means. But if we keep going, keep fighting and don’t crack, the game honors that. If you do things right – even if you don’t win every game — the game will find ways to take care of you.” – Alan Major
It happened on Friday December 17th, 2010 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Uptown Charlotte. The 49ers kept going, kept fighting and didn’t crack. Trailing 48-42 with 2:30 left in a defensive showdown that special thing happened for Charlotte. First Junior Javarris Barnett uses a pump fake to set up a wide open 3-point shot. 45-48. A couple of possessions later Deuce Briscoe forces a loose ball on a Tennessee inbounds play resulting in a jump ball in favor of Charlotte. After two free throws by Briscoe, Melvin Goins of Tennessee ends up at the line for 1 and 1. The energy in the arena slowly builds and clang, the free throw bounces of the rim and into the hands of the 49ers. Derrio Green advances the ball up court, Phil Jones sets a screen and rolls to the basket, finding himself open, catches the pass from Derrio and lays in the game winning basket. After a desperation 3-pointer from Cameron Tatum bounced off the backboard it was over, the Charlotte 49ers had defeated the #7 Tennessee Volunteers 49 to 48.
Fans of offensive basketball would have cringed at times during this game, it was all defense from both teams for most of the game. Charlotte controlled the tempo of this game, keeping the score low and the legs fresh, and in the last 2:30 minutes, one defense folded and one held serve.
A few observations on the night:
- KJ Sherril didn’t light up the box score in his return(2 pts, 1 rebound), but his 12 minutes were greatly appreciated
- Colby Lewis did not see the floor for the first time this season
- Phil Jones played 34 minutes, Chris Braswell played 17
- Braswell, Wilderness and Sherrill should not be taking 3-pointers period, one would think that shots like are scorned by the coach, but they keep happening.
- Not 1 Tennessee player played more than 30 minutes, 3 Charlotte players played 34+ minutes.
- Javarris Barnett was the leading rebounder, with 8
- 3rd win versus a Top 10 team for the Atlantic 10 this season, along with Temple over Georgetown and Richmond over Purdue
- Tennessee hardly pressed, did we withhold the Winthrop game-tape?
- The team went into the Davidson game with low confidence, but after watching Oakland win in Knoxville on Tuesday they knew that Tennessee was beatable, and that they had a shot.
It is fair to wonder what this win means going forward. Certainly it means we can play with any team remaining on our schedule(None of which are currently ranked). KJ should become a more integral part of our offense going forward, it was the right decision to play him this season rather than redshirt him. Our only shot at any post-season play is through in an impressive performance in the Atlantic 10, he should be into the flow of the team by then, along with Dewhurst, and this will be different team with the new found confidence Friday’s win has given them.
The 49ers look for their first winning streak of the season at 7:30 this Wednesday when they host the Wright State Raiders of the Horizon League at Halton Arena, the last game there until Fordham on January 15th.