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December 26, 2012

Time for a lineup change

Mere minutes after their loss to Florida State, Alan Major and his staff gathered outside of the team locker room in Time Warner Cable Arena. Each coach held a box score in their hand.

Major sat in his chair and stared at the thin piece of paper and seemed to be perplexed.

How could his Charlotte 49ers squad dominate most of the statistical categories and lose?

"Time, score, situation," was the phrase that Major uttered twice in the post game press conference.

"When you have guys at our age, I don't want to blame the loss on being young, that's not my point, but where they are, as a coach you got to meet them where they are," said Major. "They're learning how to understand what the phrase 'time, score, situation' means."

For Major, it's time to meet his team where they are by inserting junior guard DeMario Mayfield and senior forward Chris Braswell in the starting lineup for sophomore Terrence Williams and freshman Darion Clark.

Each game is different, but against quality competition Major needs to have his best lineup out on the floor from the opening tip.

The most glaring change that must be made is inserting Mayfield for Williams.

Williams has struggled mightily over the last six games. In that span he has shot 26.7 percent from the field (12-45) and has hit one of nine attempts from the 3-point line.

He seems to lack confidence in his shot. He had a chance to tie the game against the Seminoles but missed a wide open 3-pointer on a dish from Mayfield. Offensively, he's a liability and the team would be better served to have his shots to go someone else.

In the same stretch, with the exception of the Miami and Davidson games, Mayfield has excelled. Mayfield has shot 75.7 percent (22/29) from the field, 28.6 percent from beyond the arc and 72.7 percent from the free throw line.

Williams' play should relegate him to come off the bench. Mayfield has shown that he deserves to be on the floor when the game begins.

The second change that must be implemented is Braswell for Clark.

Braswell is the team's most talented offensive player on the blocks and his versatile scoring is needed.

Over the last six games Braswell has averaged 11.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

Clark hasn't played poorly, but he hasn't had a huge impact on the offensive end. He's only registered one double-figure scoring effort in the last six games, with that coming against Davidson.

He's also a liability at the free throw line. He's only connected on 4 of 14 attempts since Dec. 5 while Braswell is 13 of 16.

The Atlantic 10 is loaded this year and if the 49ers want to keep the early season momentum going into league play they will need their best players on the floor.

Major has had a lot of success with starting Henry, Ingram, Williams, Clark and Clayton.

However, if he wants this team to reach their true potential, he needs to let his reliable veterans take him there.


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