Charlotte 49ers release full basketball schedules – and they include a historic meeting with Belmont Abbey

By Richard Walker

Last month, Conference USA released its schedules for Charlotte 49ers men’s and women’s league games.

On Tuesday, the 49ers released full schedules – and the men’s home opener later this month will be against nearby Belmont Abbey College.

Charlotte plays nine-league games – five of them at Halton Arena – before beginning Conference USA competition on Jan. 1.

“We are excited to have put together a competitive schedule this year,” Charlotte coach Ron Sanchez said in a school news release. “Our alumni and fan base will get a chance to see many regional teams as well as match-ups vs SEC and A-10 opponents. There were challenges putting this together, but we would like to thank our administration; Mike Hill and Chris Fuller, for their assistance during this time. We are thrilled to play so many quality opponents that will prepare us for conference play in January.”

The season opens in the Volunteer Classic in Knoxville, Tenn., during Thanksgiving. The 49ers visit No. 12 Tennessee on Nov. 26 and play VCU on Nov. 27.

The home opener against Belmont Abbey is historic as the schools located 19 miles apart haven’t played since a 2012 preseason exhibition and haven’t played a game that counted in the standings since the 1968-69 season.

Belmont Abbey leads the all-time series 9-3. That record includes Charlotte’s 104-52 exhibition victory of 2012 and three games before the 49ers had moved from downtown Charlotte to their current location off N.C. Highway 49.

The first meeting on Dec. 5, 1963 – a 75-52 Crusaders’ victory at Belmont Abbey’s old Haid Gymnasium – came in the last year of eventual Hall of Fame coach Al McGuire’s head coaching tenure at Belmont Abbey; McGuire guided the Crusaders to a 109-63 overall record in seven years at the school before winning the NIT (1970) and NCAA (1977) titles at Marquette University and later gaining even greater fame as a TV analyst.

Though the 2012 game was played at Halton Arena, Charlotte has never hosted the Abbey on its own campus in a game that counted in the standings; The 49ers “home” games of 1964-65, 1966-67 and 1967-68 were played at Garinger High School, the 1965-66 “home” game was played at Grady Cole Center and the 1968-69 “home” game was played at the Harrisburg gym.

The other matchup with a nearby rival will be the continuation of the “Hornets’ Nest Trophy game” with Davidson; This year’s matchup will be played Dec. 15 at Davidson. The 49ers won last year’s matchup 71-58 at Halton Arena.

The women’s schedule opens at Appalachian State on Nov. 25 and includes games against nearby ACC rivals Clemson (Nov. 30 at home), Wake Forest (Dec. 3 at home) and North Carolina (Dec. 6 away). The 49ers haven’t played North Carolina since 1984.

The 49ers’ women also begin Conference USA play on Jan. 1.

Charlotte 49ers basketball schedule

Men’s team

Nov. 30 Belmont Abbey
Dec. 4 Georgia State
Dec. 7 South Carolina State
Dec. 11 Appalachian State
Dec. 15 at Davidson
Dec. 19 North Carolina A&T
Dec. 22 at George Washington
Jan. 1 and 2 Western Kentucky
Jan. 8 and 9 at Marshall
Jan. 15 and 16 UAB
Jan. 22 and 23 at Florida Atlantic
Jan. 29 and 30 FIU
Feb. 5 and 6 at Middle Tennessee
Feb. 10 Old Dominion
Feb. 13 at Old Dominion
Feb. 19 and 20 UTSA
Feb. 26 and 27 at UTEP
March 10-13 Conference USA tournament (Frisco, Tex.)

Women’s team

Nov. 25 at Appalachian State – 2 p.m.
Nov. 30 Clemson

Dec. 3 Wake Forest

Dec. 6 at North Carolina
Dec. 12 Dayton
Dec. 15 Davidson
Jan. 1 and 2 at Western Kentucky
Jan. 8 and 9 Marshall
Jan. 15 and 16 at UAB
Jan. 22 and 23 Florida Atlantic
Jan. 29 and 30 at FIU
Feb. 5 and 6 Middle Tennessee
Feb. 10 at Old Dominion
Feb. 13 Old Dominion
Feb. 19 and 20 at UTSA
Feb. 26 and 27 UTEP
March 10-13 Conference USA tournament (Frisco, Tex.)