During the Charlotte 49ers current 4-game winning streak there has not been any shortage of drama. Sunday’s game at Georgia Tech was par for the course for the Niners, who trailed by as many as 14 in the first half and never led in regulation. However, they forced overtime against the host Yellow Jackets with what has become their trademark: stiffing defense and clutch plays on the offensive side of the court.
A lot of players contributed on the court today, most notably Derrio Green, who scored 21 points including 8 straight free throws to close out regulation and into overtime. Green has shifted to point guard and while still struggling with shot selection (5-20, 3-12 3-pt) is thriving as a creator for the rest of the offense, scoring 9 assists with only 3 turnovers. He may be the answer at point guard with Jamar Briscoe struggling with his shot AND taking care of the ball(1 Assist, 5 turnovers).
The front court had plenty to contribute as well -Javarris Barnett turned in his 15 points, going 3-6 from behind the arc plus 6 rebounds. Barnett continues to show that he will be a focal point of this offense, and his hustle play near the end of the game to chase a loose ball sums up everything you need to know about this player. The force of Chris Braswell and Phil Jones combined for 29 points but only 11 rebounds. The rest of the lineup made up for the rebounding, led by Briscoe’s 8, as the 49ers out-rebounded the Yellow Jackets 47-37. An’Juan Wilderness tallied a line of 9 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists, a solid performance to wrap up his visit to his home state. Gokhan Sirin once again struggled to have an influence on offense, not taking any shots in only 4 minutes of action, but pulled in 3 rebounds over that time.
The 2-3 Zone was once again Alan Major’s defense of choice, holding the Yellow Jackets to 26 points in the 2nd half after the hot shooting Iman Shumpert (6-10 3-pt) helped contribute to 40 1st-half points for Georgia Tech. Down three at the half, Charlotte controlled the tempo the last 30 minutes of play, ultimately leading the the victory. Other than the Shumpert, the Yellow Jackets only make 33.3% of their long range shots, but it wasn’t enough as an inside game never developed to take pressure off the shooters.
These games might be ugly, but the job is getting done by Alan Major’s squad. On Wednesday the Richmond Spiders await who are particularly vulnerable after a shocking 1-point loss at home to Bucknell today. A primer for Charlotte’s Atlantic 10 schedule will be posted tonight after the end of the Rhode Island-Florida game(9pm)