Charlotte (15-13) at Marshall (10-20)
GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers will try to build some momentum as they close out the regular season with a Conference USA tilt against the Marshall Thundering Herd at the Cam Henderson Center.
The 49ers finally snapped their six-game losing streak on Sunday with a 74-63 decision over Old Dominion. The much-needed win improved Charlotte to a 15-13 overall record and put it into a three-way tie for ninth place in the C-USA standings with North Texas and FIU. Coach Alan Major's squad is just 2-8 in true road tests after losing its last six.
Marshall had lost four games in a row before it edged East Carolina, 64-61, on Sunday in Huntington. Coach Tom Herrion could have had one of the C-USA's top teams this season had DeAndre Kane stayed put and Elijah Pittman avoided the suspension that ended his college career in December. Without those marquee players, the Thundering Herd compiled only 10 wins with twice as many losses. They have managed to go 8-7 at the Cam Henderson Center, but also own a 4-11 C-USA ledger.
One of Marshall's four wins in C-USA play came when it visited the Tar Heel State last month to defeat the 49ers, 59-56. The matchup was the first in history between the programs on the hardwood. Late in the contest, the 49ers forced a Marshall turnover and had several chances to send the game to overtime, but a pair of 3-point field goal attempts in the final moments fell off the mark, allowing the Herd to escape with the victory.
The 49ers controlled the entire contest versus ODU as it outscored the Monarchs in both halves and finished the game with a 40-28 advantage in points in the paint. Charlotte also outrebounded ODU, 35-25, and connected on 51.7 percent of its shots from the floor with assists on 21 of its 30 made field goal tries. The Monarchs managed to sink an even 50 percent of their shots from the field versus the 49ers, but also turned the ball over 14 times.
Willie Clayton and Mike Thorne Jr. each netted 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Charlotte on Sunday. Marcus Bryan came off the bench to score 10 points, while Pierria Henry dished out a team-best 10 assists in the win. Henry is the only player in the conference that averages double-figures points (12.1 ppg) and at least five rebounds (5.1 rpg) and five assists (6.1) per game. Sophomore guard Shawn Lester is netting a team-high 12.4 ppg while shooting 43 percent from the field. Clayton (10.9 ppg) is pacing the 49ers and ranks fourth in the C-USA with 8.8 rpg.
In its last outing, Marshall was trailing, 61-59 with less than a minute to play when a three-point play from freshman forward Ryan Taylor gave the team a one-point edge on the scoreboard. The Herd, who limited ECU to 28 percent efficiency from the floor in the second half, then came up with a stop on the other end to secure the decision. Taylor tallied 15 points, 12 rebounds and five assists, while freshman point guard Kareem Canty added 11 points and six assists and Shawn Smith chipped in 10 points.
Due to the early season loss of Pittman, the Herd's ability to light up the scoreboard diminished once they entered conference play. Marshall netted 82 ppg during its non-conference slate, but that number has dropped to 64.3 ppg versus league foes. Canty has wasted no time becoming the new leader of the program as he is producing a team-best 16.3 ppg and ranks third in the league with 5.7 apg. Taylor has been steady during his freshman campaign as well with 13.3 ppg and 7.0 rpg, while Chris Thomas chips in 12.6 ppg on 45.9 percent efficiency from the floor.
Canty poured in 21 points versus Charlotte at Halton Arena. Marshall will be able to complete the sweep of the 49ers if Taylor and Thomas are on target since the 49ers will have trouble matching Marshall's quickness on the perimeter.
GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers will try to build some momentum as they close
out the regular season with a Conference USA tilt against the Marshall
Thundering Herd at the Cam Henderson Center.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cam Henderson Center (9,048) -- Huntington, West
Virginia. Television: CBS Sports Network. Home Record: Charlotte 10-5,
Marshall 8-7. Away Record: Charlotte 2-8, Marshall 2-12. Neutral Record:
Charlotte 3-0, Marshall 0-1. Conference Record: Charlotte 6-9, Marshall 4-11.
Series Record: Marshall leads, 1-0.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 7 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Marshall 70, Charlotte 68