Charlotte shuts down Boise State offensively in 54-42 victory

CONWAY, SC (Nov. 17, 2022) – You know you are playing good defense when your opponent can count their number of made baskets on one hand.

That was the situation for the Charlotte 49ers on Thursday, as they allowed only four buckets in the first half of their 54-42 victory over Boise State in the opening round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Both teams started slowly, as Boise (1-2) led 6-4 more than nine minutes into the game. But Charlotte (3-0) finally got hot and made seven consecutive baskets. Meanwhile, the Broncos kept missing. And missing. And missing.

By the time the half ended, the 49ers had built a 28-11 lead, and Boise had posted a dismal shooting line of 4-for-24. It was the Broncos’ lowest-scoring output in a half since 1980, and Charlotte’s best defensive performance since 1992.

“We were just so connected on the D,” said Charlotte guard Brice Williams, who led the 49ers with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals. “We came out with a mindset to force them into bad shots, tough shots, and to box out. We set the tone for the whole game in those first minutes.”

While things improved for the Broncos in the second half, they never mounted a serious comeback. The final margin of 12 points was the closest they got, and they trailed by 20 (54-34) with less than three minutes left.

“Charlotte came out a lot tougher than us with a lot more resolve,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “We missed our shots early, and let it really affect everything we did. It was really a soft mentality by us.

“If you hold a team to 54 points, you should be in the game. That’s too much pressure on your defense to win the game when you can’t make any baskets. I mean any. We had four. Four. That’s the worst I’ve ever sat through.”

Despite his team’s defensive showing, Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez insisted that the 49ers can play even better on that end of the court.

“As good as we were defensively, there’s still a lot of room for improvement. We can be a lot better than we were,” Sanchez said. “But as a whole, we contested shots, limited them in transition, and did some of the non-obvious things well. Our guys had a level of connection defensively that was evident in the first half.”