Charlotte (20-10) vs. Richmond (18-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 12 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Barclays Center (17,732) -- Brooklyn, New York. Television: NBCSN. Home Record: Charlotte 12-4, Richmond 15-2. Away Record: Charlotte 5-6, Richmond 3-10. Neutral Record: Charlotte 3-0, Richmond 0-1. Conference Record: Charlotte 8-8, Richmond 8-8. Series Record: Richmond leads, 11-7.
GAME NOTES: First-round action of the Atlantic 10 Tournament gets underway with the eighth-seeded Richmond Spiders taking on the No. 9 seed Charlotte 49ers at the Barclays Center.
The winner will move on to play top-seed Saint Louis on Friday at noon.
Charlotte won 20 games for the first time since the 2007-08 campaign. The 49ers started the season 9-0 but struggled down the stretch and brought a season-long, four-game losing streak into their final two games. However, they won their final two games over Duquesne (89-87) and Saint Joseph's (52-40) to earn a spot in the tournament.
Richmond won its regular-season finale against Duquesne, 79-55, to punch its ticket into the tournament field. The victory also snapped a two-game slide for the Spiders, who tied the single-season school record with 15 wins on their home floor. However, they went just 3-11 elsewhere.
Both of these teams finished 8-8 in league play. Richmond, which leads the all-time series, 11-7, was an 81-61 winner over the 49ers when these teams faced each other on Jan. 19 at the Robins Center. Richmond's Darien Brothers scored his team's first 17 points of that game and finished with a career-high 39. It was the highest-scoring performance by a Spiders player since 1976, as his eight 3-pointers tied the school-record.
Leading the way for Charlotte is Chris Braswell with 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. DeMario Mayfield was the leading scorer through 18 games (11.7 ppg), but he was suspended indefinitely on Jan. 30 and was later dismissed from the team. Sophomore guard Pierria Henry, the team's second- leading scorer (10.0 ppg) is the first 49ers player to earn a spot on the A-10 All-Defensive team since the school joined the conference. Henry averaged nearly three steals per game, and his 83 thefts on the season ranked second in the league and seventh nationally. Freshman forward Willie Clayton was named to the league's all-rookie team, an honor that Henry took home last season. Clayton (8.1 ppg) leads the A-10 in field-goal percentage (.586) and his 6.2 rpg average tops the team. In their last outing, the 49ers held Saint Joe's to 40 points, which was its lowest point total since 2007. Charlotte's defensive pressure stifled the Hawks to the tune of 29.2-percent shooting from the floor. Henry recorded his second straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
When these teams met up in the regular season, Richmond won handily despite playing without third-leading scorer and top rebounder Derrick Williams (11.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg), who missed nine games this season. Unfortunately for Charlotte, Williams is indeed healthy for the rematch, and is playing well. However, leading scorer Brothers (14.6 ppg) cut his shooting hand in the regular-season finale against Duquesne and the injury required stitches, although he is expected to play with a bandage. Brothers needs five more threes to tie the school's single-season record, as he ranks fifth in the A-10 in 3-point percentage (.432). Second-leading scorer Kendall Anthony (12.0 ppg) is a 42.5- percent shooter from the perimeter (57-of-134). As a team, the Spiders lead the conference in treys per game (8.4) and they are second in 3-point percentage (.381). Keep an eye out for Cedrick Lindsay (11.5 ppg), who has scored in double figures in nine of the last 12 games and is averaging 16.4 points over his last eight.
Richmond is two years removed from winning this tournament and won by 20 when these teams met earlier this season. Brothers may not duplicate his effort from that first meeting, but the Spiders certainly have the supporting cast to win the rematch.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Richmond 75, Charlotte 65
03/14 10:34:17 ET