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804 Ballers: L.C. Bird's Charles Falden starring at undefeated Winthrop

804 Ballers: L.C. Bird's Charles Falden starring at undefeated Winthrop

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L.C. Bird’s Falden starring for undefeated Winthrop

When Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey talks about senior guard Charles Falden (L.C. Bird), he can’t help but gush. Two years ago, the coach commended the then-sophomore for working hard to earn playing time on an upperclassman-heavy team through defensive improvement.

“He doesn’t have bad days at practice. He comes with a willingness to get better,” Kelsey said at the time.

Today, the effort has paid off. Heading into the week, Winthrop is 11-0, the best start in school and Big South Conference history. Leading the way on both ends of the floor for the Eagles is Falden, who is averaging a team-best 13.2 points and helps command the team’s pack-line defense while playing a little more than 21 minutes per game as a starter.

It’s a big jump for a player who averaged 6.7 points and played less than 15 per minutes a game a year ago while accumulating six starts over three years.

“[Falden] was humble. He realized his shortcomings. He owned them. He committed to improving on them and he stuck to it,” Kelsey said of his leading scorer. “Most kids don’t have the patience and the wherewithal to realize they’re in a great spot. Now he’s an all-conference guard.”

Kelsey describes Falden’s offensive game as “analytic friendly.” The senior has shown an ability to efficiently score from all three levels, while coming up with big baskets in crunch time. Falden said plenty of offseason work and watching tape have helped him continue to improve in that area. But defense is the biggest part of his game he continued to work on heading into this season.

“I had to get better at guarding the ball and always being aware and always being active in my gaps,” Falden said.

Kelsey has noted that improvement. He said his star player has become a reliable defender on and off the ball.

“Really that’s where he’s earned the trust of not only me, but his teammates. [Falden is] a comfort when he’s on the floor,” Kelsey said.

While on-court production has been a force behind Falden’s emergence, his leadership on and off the floor is noteworthy as well. Falden is known more a leader by example rather than by voice, but has worked to step up in that area to help mentor freshmen Toneari Lane and Kelton Talford.

“It’s a combination of a lot of things — pulling them aside when they mess up, letting them know what they did wrong and how to improve it,” he said. Hot shots

  • Sydnei Archie (St. Catherine’s) notched her second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 rebounds in VCU’s win over St. Bonaventure. She came up a rebound shy of doing it in the Rams’ previous game against Duquesne.
  • Taya Bolden (Highland Springs) pushed her double-doubles mark to 20 for her career with a pair against Longwood over the weekend. She averaged 15 points and 11.5 rebounds over the two-game stretch.
  • Jeremy Sheppard (John Marshall) returned to the area for a pair of games against Richmond and VCU. The Rhode Island senior made the most of it, recording career highs with 20 points and 7 rebounds in win over the Rams.

Men’s statistics

Daryl Anderson (Millwood), Norfolk State: Saturday — 7 minutes, 1 rebound in loss to Morgan State; Sunday — 4 minutes, 1 rebound in win over Morgan State

Armando Bacot (Trinity Episcopal), North Carolina: Tuesday — 20 minutes, 7 points, 2 rebounds in win over Miami

Jamon Battle (L.C. Bird), UNC Asheville: Saturday — 24 minutes, 7 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists in loss to Hampton; Sunday — 28 minutes, 18 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Hampton

Ameer Bennett (St. Christopher’s), Delaware State: Jan. 4 — 15 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Coppin State; Tuesday — 10 minutes, 5 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in loss to Coppin State

Robbie Beran (Collegiate), Northwestern: Thursday — 24 minutes, 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in loss to Illinois

Rasir Bolton, Iowa State: Tuesday — 29 minutes, 10 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to Texas; Saturday — 32 minutes, 15 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in loss to Texas Tech

De’Monte Buckingham (Henrico), Cal State Bakersfield: Friday — 19 minutes, 5 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Cal Poly; Saturday — 29 minutes, 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal in win over Cal Poly

Henry Coleman (Trinity Episcopal), Duke: Wednesday — 1 minute, 1 rebound in win over Boston College; Saturday — 1 minute in win over Wake Forest

Aaron Duhart (Trinity Episcopal), Army: Saturday — 23 minutes, 7 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals in win over Holy Cross; Sunday — 21 minutes, 5 points, 2 assists, 2 steals in loss to Holy Cross

Charles Falden (L.C. Bird), Winthrop: Jan. 4 — 20 minutes, 14 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Charleston Southern; Tuesday — 27 minutes, 17 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Charleston Southern; Saturday — 23 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in win over Gardner-Webb; Sunday — 25 minutes, 15 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Gardner-Webb

Chris Ford (L.C. Bird), Norfolk State: Saturday — 16 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks in loss to Morgan State; Sunday — 12 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block in win over Morgan State

Dimitri Georgiadis (Benedictine), IUPUI: Friday — 4 minutes, 1 rebound in loss to Milwaukee; Saturday — 2 minutes in loss to Milwaukee

Miles Gibson (Millwood), Eastern Michigan: Saturday — 16 minutes, 3 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal in win over Akron

Zach Jacobs (Trinity Episcopal), James Madison: Tuesday — 16 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist in win over Florida Atlantic; Sunday — 17 minutes, 8 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Chowan

Malik Jefferson (Hopewell), Mount St. Mary’s: Thursday — 24 minutes, 11 points, 14 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to St. Francis (NY); Friday — 20 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block in loss to St. Francis (NY)

Tyrese Jenkins (Varina), Norfolk State: Saturday — 2 minutes in loss to Morgan State; Sunday — 10 minutes, 4 points, 1 rebound in win over Morgan State

J.J. Matthews (Millwood), Norfolk State: Saturday — 18 minutes, 7 points, 5 rebounds, 1 block in loss to Morgan State; Sunday — 28 minutes, 21 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block in win over Morgan State

Eric Rustin (Huguenot), Tennessee-Martin: Thursday — DNP in loss to Tennessee State; Saturday — 2 minutes in loss to Belmont

Chris Shelton (Louisa), Hampton: Jan. 4 — 37 minutes, 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals in loss to Radford; Tuesday — 31 minutes, 7 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to Radford; Saturday — 34 minutes, 4 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in win over UNC Asheville; Sunday — 38 minutes, 15 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist in loss to UNC Asheville

Jeremy Sheppard (John Marshall), Rhode Island: Wednesday — 21 minutes, 11 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound in loss to Richmond; Saturday — 32 minutes, 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals in win over VCU

Ben Stanley (Millwood), Xavier: Wednesday — 9 minutes, 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1 block in win over St. John’s; Sunday — DNP in win over Providence

Deandre Thomas (Millwood), Mount St. Mary’s: Thursday — 20 minutes, 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block in loss to St. Francis (NY); Friday — 19 minutes, 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in loss to St. Francis (NY)

Keaton Turner, Wofford: Wednesday — 8 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound in loss to UNC Greensboro; Saturday — 5 minutes in win over UNC Greensboro

Pinky Wiley (L.C. Bird), Delaware State: Monday — 38 minutes, 13 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals in loss to Coppin State; Tuesday — 35 minutes, 9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals in loss to Coppin State

Women’s StatISTICs

Sydnei Archie (S. Catherine’s), VCU: Friday — 36 minutes, 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 1 block in win over Duquesne; Sunday — 38 minutes, 17 points, 10 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 blocks in win over St. Bonaventure

Taya Bolden (Highland Springs), Campbell: Jan. 4 — 27 minutes, 10 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists in loss to High Point; Tuesday — 18 minutes, 2 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block, 1 steal in loss to High Point; Saturday — 32 minutes, 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in win over Longwood; Sunday — 35 minutes, 16 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in loss to Longwood

Dejah Carter (Cosby), Old Dominion: Friday — 6 minutes, 2 points, 1 rebound in win over Florida Atlantic; Saturday — 3 minutes in win over Florida Atlantic

Elaina Chapman (Trinity Episcopal), Richmond: Friday — 14 minutes, 1 rebound in win over St. Bonaventure; Sunday — 26 minutes, 13 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal in win over Duquesne

CeCe Crudup (Highland Springs), UNC Greensboro: Sunday — 21 minutes, 15 points, 4 rebounds in loss to Western Carolina

Nicole Davis (Monacan), Bucknell: Saturday — 1 minute, 1 rebound in win over Lafayette; Sunday — 1 minute, 2 points in win over Lafayette

Tyah Hunter (Hopewell), Furman: Tuesday — 23 minutes, 11 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in win over Erskine; Saturday — 15 minutes, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal in loss to Wofford

Daijah Jefferson (Hopewell), George Mason: Friday — 39 minutes, 8 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals in loss to Dayton

Paris McBride (Highland Springs), North Carolina Central: Yesterday — 37 minutes, 7 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals in win over North Carolina Wesleyan

Mallory Odell (Deep Run), Longwood: Jan. 4 — 6 minutes, 1 rebound in win over USC Upstate; Tuesday — 4 minutes in win over USC Upstate; Saturday — 4 minutes, 1 rebound in loss to Campbell; Sunday — 7 minutes, 1 assist, 1 rebound in win over Campbell

Alex Parson (Monacan), Richmond: Friday — 25 minutes, 4 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in win over St. Bonaventure; Sunday — 18 minutes, 5 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound in win over Duquesne

Taya Robinson (Huguenot), VCU: Friday — 35 minutes, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, 2 blocks in win over Duquesne; Sunday — DNP in win over St. Bonaventure

Aryna Taylor (Patrick Henry), Mount St. Mary’s: Thursday — 34 minutes, 13 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist in win over St. Francis (NY); Friday — 36 minutes, 14 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in win over St. Francis (NY)

Grace Townsend (James River), Richmond: Friday — 15 minutes, 5 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists in win over St. Bonaventure; Sunday — 22 minutes, 6 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds in win over Duquesne

Anna Wilson (Collegiate), Stanford: Friday — 33 minutes, 11 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in win over Oregon

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