Charlotte (15-2) at Richmond (11-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 19, 6 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Robins Center (9,071) -- Richmond, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: Charlotte 9-1, Richmond 9-1. Away Record: Charlotte 3-1, Richmond 2-5. Neutral Record: Charlotte 3-0, Richmond 0-1. Conference Record: Charlotte 3-0, Richmond 1-2. Series Record: Richmond leads, 10-7.
GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers look to stay atop the Atlantic 10 Conference standings when they step into the Robins Center to take on the Richmond Spiders.
Charlotte stands at 15-2 on the season and has won four straight and six of its last seven games overall. The 49ers moved to 3-0 in conference play with Wednesday's 74-68 win over Fordham. Next up, they'll host fellow unbeaten A-10 squad Xavier this coming Wednesday.
For visiting teams, notching a victory has proven no easy task inside the Robins Center, where Richmond is 9-1 this season. The Spiders are looking to get back on track after a 0-2 road trip, which included a 71-59 loss at La Salle last weekend and a 62-47 setback at 13th-ranked Butler on Wednesday.
Richmond has won nine of the last 14 meetings with the Spiders to take a 10-7 series lead.
Charlotte saw three players come off the bench to score in double figures against Fordham, as its 44-16 edge in bench points proved a key factor. DeMario Mayfield led the way with a season-high 18 points, followed by J.T. Thompson with 12, and Darion Clark with 11. Still, the 49ers were not without their issues, as they made only 2-of-15 3-pointers and were out-rebounded by a 44-35 margin. However, they made up for it by forcing 18 turnovers and claiming a 22-12 advantage in points off turnovers. Coach Alan Major has used a deep rotation to his advantage, as eight players are averaging at least five points. Chris Braswell leads the team with 11.6 points per game despite starting only four games, while Mayfield is second on the team with 11.3 ppg and has not started a single game all season.
Richmond has struggled lately in the absence of junior forward Derrick Williams, who has missed the last four contests and is expected to be out at least three more weeks with a left ankle injury. Williams is averaging 13.6 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds through 14 games and is the team's only big man with game experience prior to this season. His absence has put more pressure on the shoulders of guard Darien Brothers (14.9 ppg), who leads the A-10 and is third nationally in 3-point field-goal percentage (.485). Kendall Anthony is also averaging double figures with 12.8 ppg, although neither he nor Brothers play much of a role on the glass for the Spiders, who are -5.4 in rebounding margin. But with Brothers chucking up threes, Richmond is second in the conference with 8.1 3-pointers made per game. However, the scoring has flattened out over the last two games, and the Spiders were held to 47 points and 32.7-percent shooting against Butler.
The last time Charlotte opened a season with a 15-2 record was during the 1976-77 campaign, which ended with a trip to the Final Four. Leaving the Robins Center with a win won't come easy, although the 49ers will look to exploit the absence of Williams down low.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 68, Richmond 58
01/19 10:35:25 ET