This is the first time in the past 7 seasons Charlotte has taken home The Battle of the Hornets Nest Trophy, the trophy they call the “ugliest in college basketball.” However Coach Ron Sanchez reiterated time after time, “this is just one game.”
Sanchez gutted out this win with defense, his patented pac line defense, he brought with him from Tony Bennett and Virginia. They quickly doubled the post, and pushed everything to help in the middle of the floor. It really set Davidson back in the first half, keeping the Wildcats to 12.5% from 3 and only 22 points.
Davidson’s Bob McKillop talked up Charlotte’s ability to execute and run their methodical offense, “staying true to their concepts.” Charlotte got to the line 20 times, shooting 75% and they finished 50% shooting from the field. Conversely, Charlotte was able to turn Davidson over 12 times while only having them shoot 2 free throws, for the game.
Ron Sanchez was big on their style of play, “we make shots and we rebound, its very simple, but very effective when we do it.” Sanchez also went on to praise his team on their resilience, “This team showed intent and a desire to do the little things that win you games.”
McKillop talked about getting punched in the mouth early and not really being able to rebound from that, “when you get on your heels early, you start to play tentatively.” Even though a late charge, Davidson never could overcome how deep on their heels they got.
Kellan Grady Can Score the Ball
Even in defeat, Grady was showcasing the ability to get his shot, almost willingly. He used his long 6’6″ frame to go with a great pace to finish 9-17 from the field. He also initiated a late second-half run cutting the lead from 19 to 8 with 5 minutes to go. He should continue to have a big year, as most defenses will key in on him, however, not many defenses will be like this Charlotte team.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson & Drew Edwards Played Quite the Feisty Matchup
It is rare when the team’s lead guard is also pushing double figures in rebounding, however, it certainly happened tonight as Gudmundsson finished with 8 and Edwards finished with 9. Both players played with grit and toughness, but more so they played with poise and pace, exactly what you’d want from your senior backcourt guys. Both players finished with 2 steals, they really defended and both finished 50% from the field. From a basketball purist standpoint, this was quite the matchup.
Jordan Shepherd Continues to Shine
Shepherd was last at Oklahoma, playing with Trey Young. Battling that in practice every day is a daunting task, to say the least. Now he is the starting point guard for a Charlotte team who is on the rise. Shepherd has a sense of pop to his game that you don’t often find from the point guard position. His pace is off the charts, as he is very rushed, and his methodical way of running the offense fits in exactly with what Sanchez likes. Shepherd touches the paint seemingly at will, where he showcases explosion and touch. Tonight, the finished with 12 points, 8 down the stretch to close the game in the second. He is the leader of this team and will be the face of the program, he seems to be ready for the task.
Cooper Robb Makes Winning Plays
While he may not start the game, Sanchez seems to have great comfort with Cooper Robb finishing the game. While his floor burns may not show up as a stat at the end of the game, Sanchez showed a penchant for using him as he not only wins the 50-50 balls, but he also defends the opposing team’s best player. That is quite the task, but Robb seems to be a “Sanchez guy” and is rewarded for that regularly.