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Charlotte stays the course, bounces back to turn away Old Dominion

CHARLOTTE – As Charlotte guard Jahmir Young took his seat alongside coach Ron Sanchez at the podium after Wednesday night’s game, 49er sports information director Dom Palumbo addressed him as the “20-piece machine.” It’s a title well-earned – Young had turned in 10 20-plus point efforts prior to the mid-week outing against Old Dominion.

Put him down for 11.

The star guard’s 21-point line paced his side, helping the Niners bounce back from a double-digit deficit and turn away a persistent Old Dominion club, 71-67, before an announced crowd of 2,561 at Halton Arena.

“It just came down to our competitive spirit. We wanted it more,” Young said. “(It was) just executing the gameplan and coming up with those possessions at the end of the game.”

Charlotte (11-7, 4-2 CUSA) jumped out early, taking a 7-3 lead on the strength of five Austin Butler points and a Jackson Threadgill dunk. The run proved to be short-lived, however. Old Dominion (7-12, 2-4) went on an extended burst of keeping the homestanding 49ers off the board. C.J. Keyser put home a triple at the 16:17 mark to give his Monarch side its first lead of the game at 8-7. The Monarchs grew their advantage to 19-7 with 8:44 to play in the period, before a Robert Braswell three broke an 8:54 scoreless string for Charlotte.

The Niners worked the Monarch margin down to just four points on back-to-back Young conversions and a Butler trey. ODU quickly countered, using a 6-0 burst to again take a double-digit lead with 2:32 remaining in the half. Another Young triple just before the horn knifed into the deficit a bit, but the Monarchs still held a 33-26 lead at the interval.

Old Dominion continued its tenuous grip on the advantage. Austin Trice put home a free throw that helped the advantage swell to eight with 15:43 remaining. Charlotte roared back, using a 12-2 run capped by two Jackson Threadgill buckets – first a triple off a beautiful tap-back pass, then a jumper in the lane – to wrest the lead back at 47-45.

After the Monarchs again pulled ahead by a point, it was Charlotte’s turn to pull away.

The Niners tore off a 15-4 burst to take their own 10-point lead, with an Aly Khalifa bucket providing the double-digit advantage. Khalifa knocked home two more on his next two touches, which put his side ahead by nine inside the five-minute mark.

The Monarchs refused to go away, whittling the Charlotte advantage to a perilous point on a Jaylin Hunter triple with 2:47 remaining. Following two Threadgill free throws, the Monarchs again sliced the score to a razor-thin point on a Keyser bucket. After a Clyde Trapp free throw, the stage was set for Charlotte to go to its calling card -- defense.

After a time out, Old Dominion called a play that took the ball toward the basket on an inbound play, giving the visitors a look that could have tied the game. Butler provided one of the plays of the night, deflecting away the entry pass and allowing his club to retrieve the loose ball and salt away the game at the free throw line.

“For us to be successful, it’s gonna have to be on that side. This is another game where we had to get a defensive stop to come up with the victory,” Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez said. “We’re hoping that this continues to encourage them to understand the value (of defense). We don’t have to be perfect, but we have to be continuous. We’ve just gotta be the harder-playing team, whether it’s at home or on the road.”

“We know how much (Sanchez) preaches defense,” Young added. “We’re a defensive-minded team. If we get stops, we feel like we have a good chance of winning the game. That means a lot to us and we know how important that is, so we try to value every possession on that side of the floor.”

Young’s 21 led all scorers. Butler added 12 to guide the pair of remaining Niners in double figures, with Khalifa contributing 10. Charlotte shot a strong 59.1 percent (16-for-27) from the deck in the second half, helping to grab the victory. The Niners also knocked down 8-of-11 from the line, all in the second stanza.

Keyser topped ODU with 20 on 8-of-16 shooting. Austin Trice turned in a 15-point, 14-board double-double, with Mekhi Long adding 12 and Hunter 11. Charlotte limited ODU to just 39.4 percent (13-for-38) in the second 20.

The clubs face off again Saturday, with this outing at the Constant Center in Norfolk, Va. Tip time inside the Constant Center is set for 7:00.



OLD DOMINION (7-12, 2-4 CUSA): Long 5-8 0-0 12, Hunter 4-9 0-0 11, Ezikpe 3-9 3-6 9, Trice 7-16 1-1 15, Keyser 8-16 2-2 20, Essien 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-62 6-11 67.

CHARLOTTE (11-7, 4-2): Trapp 2-5 1-3 7, Young 7-14 3-3 21, Butler 5-7 0-0 12, Threadgill 3-7 2-2 9, Khalifa 5-9 0-0 10, Cannon 0-0 0-0 0, Francois 0-2 0-0 0, Braswell 2-5 0-0 6, Jallow 1-4 2-2 4, Garcia 1-3 0-1 2, Vasic 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-57 8-11 71.

Halftime — Old Dominion 33-26. 3-Point Goals—Charlotte 11-27 (Trapp 2-3, Young 4-9, Butler 2-4, Threadgill 1-2, Khalifa 0-2, Braswell 2-5, Jallow 0-2), Old Dominion 7-12 (Long 2-2, Hunter 3-5, Ezikpe 0-2, Keyser 2-2, Smith 0-1). Fouled Out — NA. Rebounds — Old Dominion 44 (Trice 14), Charlotte 28 (Jallow 6). Assists —Charlotte 18 (Trapp 4), Old Dominion 13 (Hunter/Keyser/Essien/Oliver/Smith 2). Total Fouls — Old Dominion 14, Charlotte 12. Technical — NA. A —2561.


Points in the paint: Old Dominion 34, Charlotte 26 Points off turnovers: Charlotte 15, Old Dominion 6 Second-chance points: Old Dominion 15, Charlotte 7 Fast-break points: Charlotte 4, Old Dominion 2 Points per possession: Charlotte 1.109, Old Dominion 1.000


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