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Men's Basketball

 

HUGE SECOND HALF PROPELS MEN’S BASKETBALL TO 60-53 WIN OVER EASTERN WASHINGTON

CHENEY, Wash. -- Sacramento State outscored Eastern Washington in the second half, 37-20, including 8-0 over the game's final two minutes, to defeat the Eagles, 60-53, in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Saturday evening at Reese Court.

Trailing by 10 points at halftime (33-23), the Hornets seemingly did everything right in the second half. The team had just three turnovers in the second stanza, outrebounded the Eagles by a 22-12 margin, scored 20 points in the paint, and limited EWU to 28.6 percent (8-28) shooting from the field. Conversely, Sacramento State shot 48.1 percent (13-27) from the field in the second half while also going 9-for-10 from the charity stripe. That included the Hornets shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line over the final 1:47 of the contest.

The Hornets went on one of their biggest runs of the season in the second half, using a 19-2 run that spanned seven minutes and turned a 35-25 deficit into a 44-37 lead with 11:21 to play. Five different Hornets scored during the run, including six points from Mikh McKinney and four points each from Dylan Garrity and Konner Veteto.

Sacramento State maintained that lead for nearly seven minutes of game clock before the Eagles went on a 10-2 run to reclaim the lead (53-52) with 2:23 left. From there, it was all Hornets as EWU was held scoreless the rest of the way, missing their last four field goal attempts. Just as important, Sacramento State allowed no second-chance opportunities on any of those final four EWU possessions.

Veteto knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Hornets back on top, 54-53, with 1:47 remaining. Joe Eberhard, who had just five points the first 39 minutes of the contest, scored the Hornets' final six points of the evening. That included a jumper at the 45 second mark before going 4-for-4 from the free throw line during the game's final 31 seconds.

With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the Big Sky. The Hornets, who are in the midst of a season-long four-game road trip, are off to their best record after 14 games since the 2005-06 squad was 9-5. The 8-6 record also matches the team's second best mark after 14 games since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92 (the 1999-00 squad was also 8-6).

The Hornets have also won four of the last six meetings with Eastern Washington, including a victory on the Eagles' home floor for the second straight year. Prior to those two wins in Cheney, the Hornets had been 1-16 when playing EWU at Reese Court.

Eastern Washington, which was coming off a convincing 23-point win over Northern Arizona on Thursday night, dropped to 4-12 overall and 2-4 in the Big Sky.

Overall, Sacramento State shot 43.6 percent from the field (24-55) and all 10 of the team's free throw attempts came during the second half. The Hornets outrebounded the Eagles, 36-27, and have now outrebounded all six league opponents thus far. Sacramento State also held a commanding 38-20 advantage in points in the paint.

The Hornets had four players score in double figures, comprised of Veteto (12 points, eight rebounds), McKinney (12 points and four assists in a team-high 37 minutes), Eberhard (11 points, five rebounds) and Garrity (10 points, six assists and just one turnover). John Dickson added eight points and a career-best 10 rebounds. Of the team's 60 points, 53 where scored by the Hornets' five starters.

For Eastern Washington, Kevin Winford had a team-high 12 points and six assists, Venky Jois added 10 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots, and Martin Seiferth had 10 points.

The Hornets conclude their road trip next week with games Thursday at Idaho State, and Saturday at Weber State.

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