Rhode Island (5-20) at Charlotte (11-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 11th, 2:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,105) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Rhode Island 2-10, Charlotte 5-5. Away Record: Rhode Island 2-10, Charlotte 6-6. Neutral Record: Rhode Island 1-0, Charlotte 0-0. Conference Record: Rhode Island 2-8, Charlotte 3-6. Series Record: Series is tied, 5-5.
GAMES NOTES: Halton Arena will be the site for a Atlantic 10 Conference showdown between the Rhode Island Rams and the Charlotte 49ers this afternoon.
There have only been 10 meetings between these two schools. The all-time series is split 5-5, although Rhode Island has been on top more often lately, with wins in each of the last three matchups.
After winning back-to-back games, Rhode Island hit a snag in its last two games in which the Rams faced two of the conferences best. First Rhode Island were downed by conference leading Temple and on Wednesday dropped a decision to Xavier, which is currently in a three way tie for second in the Atlantic 10. Rhode Island is last in the conference with a 2-8 record. Rhode Island will be at home against Saint Joseph's its next time out.
Charlotte snapped a four game losing streak on Wednesday and improved its overall conference record to 3-6 which is better than only three teams in the A-10 this season. It has been an unfortunate season for the 49ers that began with a promising 7-2 start. Charlotte will be on the road in its next two contests beginning against Dayton on Wednesday.
Rhode Island took an 84-66 defeat to Xavier on Wednesday by shooting just 36.5 percent from the floor and allowing the Musketeers to convert on 52.6 percent of its shots from the field. Xavier's also outscored the Rams 21-14 from the free throw line.
Rhode Island has been scoring well enough this season, averaging 68.3 points per game, although the Rams are weak shooting the ball, converting 40.2 percent of their shots from the floor. Where the Rams really suffer is on defense as they allow 75.8 points per game. Rhode Island has allowed an opponent to score 70 ore more points in six straight games and in 18 games overall this season. The offense has been hurt recently though with the teams leading scorer Jamal Wilson (16.5 ppg) suspended indefinitely since the end of December. Luckily the Rams have four other players averaging in double figures led by sophomore guard Billy Baron (14.1 ppg), who has played well since missing the first 11 games after transferring from Virginia. Baron had 22 points in the loss to Xavier giving him a 20-point game for the fourth time in 14 outings. Senior forward Orion Outerbridge (11.9 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the team's leading rebounder and has been a consistent scorer for the entire season. Nikola Malesevic (11.7 ppg) and Jonathan Holton (10.5 ppg) round out the team's double-digit scorers.
The 49ers toppled Fordham 69-62 in their victory last Saturday. Chris Braswell and DeMario Mayfield each had double-double for Charlotte which shot just 40.0 percent and turned the ball over 16 times to just six by the Rams. The 49ers overcame the struggles on offense by holding Fordham to just 30.9 percent shooting.
Braswell and Mayfield are two parts of a dynamic trio in the frontcourt for Charlotte. Braswell is the primary option in points (14.9 ppg) and rebounds (7.5 rpg). Braswell's performance against Fordham stretched his streak in double figures to eight straight games. Javarris Barnett (12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the second scorer of the trio, while Mayfield (10.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg) is normally third. Freshman guard Pierria Henry (7.2 ppg) is the team leader in assists (3.2 apg) and is second in the conference in steals at 2.7 per game. Although the 49ers have three strong scorers, Charlotte is still struggling this season putting in 67.6 points per game, while shooting just 40.8 percent from the floor. A major reason is the 49ers' difficulties in ball control, with the team holding a 0.96 assist-to-turnover ratio which is 10th in the conference.
Charlotte will answer the more balanced attack of Rhode Island with its frontcourt offense. Without any dominating defenders in the post as well as a 2-10 record on the road, the Rams won't be able to force the 49ers outside of the paint.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 72, Rhode Island 63
02/11 10:45:25 ET