About 5,000 people were in attendance Sunday night at Halton Arena on UNC Charlotte’s campus to watch the 49ers men’s basketball team defeat Wake Forest 67-65 in overtime. It was the first time they have beaten an ACC team in nine years.
UNC Charlotte assistant men’s basketball coach Kotie Kimble says it came down to defense.
“We showed the ability in this game to really defend at the level we needed to.” Kimble said. “We held a good offensive team to 57 points at the end of regulation time and to 65 points at end of the game. We defended at the level we needed to consistently and that translated into a win.”
The team is 2-1. They lost their opener to James Madison University on the road.
Kimble says every game is an opportunity for the team to grow. He says winning against a quality team like Wake Forest is an important building element for the 49ers.
“For guys, it’s important for them to see success," Kimble said. "Things that we’ve been preaching our identity and defending. If we defend at the level we need to for 40 minutes we’ll have the chance to win the game. So, I think our guys are in and our challenge is to get them to believe in it and beating a team like Wake Forest really helps to boost morale, really helps.”
Winning against the No. 9-ranked Wake Forest brings more attention to the school’s program. Kimble says it shows the local community the strength of UNC Charlotte’s basketball program. He hopes that will translate into more fans coming to the games.
The 49ers next games are against Appalachian State then Georgia State.