MEN’S BASKETBALL KNOCKS OFF EASTERN WASHINGTON AT HOME, 75-64
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Dylan Garrity (18), Zach Mills (17) and Cody Demps (10) each scored in double figures to lead Sacramento State to a 75-64 victory over Eastern Washington in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Saturday evening at The Nest.
After Eastern Washington took its only lead of the game at 8-6 early in the contest, Sacramento State responded with a 10-1 run and never trailed the rest of the way. The Hornets went into halftime with a 38-28 lead, and pushed the advantage to as large as 21 points (56-35) with 14:10 to play.
Eastern Washington made things interesting with 19-4 run spanning nearly 10 minutes to cut the lead to 60-54 with 4:42 to play. However, Mills answered with perhaps the biggest shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the corner, which pushed the lead to nine points with 3:40 left. The Eagles got not no closer than eight points the rest of the way.
Sacramento State went 7-for-8 from the free throw line over the game's final 1:32 to help seal the victory. The Hornets finished the game shooting 50.0 percent (26-52) from the field, 40.0 percent (6-15) from the 3-point line and 68.0 percent (17-25) from the free throw line. Fourteen of those 17 makes from charity stripe came in the second half.
With the victory, the Hornets improved to 6-9 overall and 2-4 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State has now won two of its last three games, and improved its record to 4-2 inside The Nest. In addition, the Hornets extended their winning streak over Eastern Washington to four games dating back to the 2011-12 season. That marks the longest current winning streak over any Big Sky school.
Eastern Washington fell to 7-10 overall and 2-4 in the conference with the loss. The Eagles were limited to .408 (20-49) shooting from the field, and .353 (6-17) from the 3-point line. Sacramento State also held a decided advantage in the rebounding department (37-28).
"We really wanted to set a tone tonight early in the game, and I felt we did that," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "Two of the most important parts of the game are the first four minutes of both halves, and we did a very nice job in both those situations tonight. Our guys stayed aggressive all night and really competed, and usually the more aggressive team wins."
Garrity's 18 points came on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, 2-of-4 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. He also added four assists and three rebounds in 35 minutes. Mills, who improved his scoring average against conference competition to 11.0 points per game, finished just two points shy of his season high. He shot 6-of-12 from the field (including three 3-pointers) while also securing five rebounds. Demps had six rebounds and three assists to go with his 10 points.
Mikh McKinney finished with nine points, three assists, a team-high seven rebounds and game-high three steals in 38 minutes. Sacramento State outscored Eastern Washington's bench, 19-5, as Jordan Salley (seven points, four rebounds), Eric Stuteville (six points, six rebounds), Dreon Barlett (four points) and Nick Hornsby (two points, three assists) all contributed to the victory.
"Obviously our starters played well, but I really felt like everyone that came off the bench tonight (Barlett, Salley, Hornsby, Stuteville and Joey Quigley) had a big hand in this win," Katz said.
Sacramento State's defense limited Eastern Washington's leading scorer, Tyler Harvey, to 15 points on 3-of-15 shooting from the field. Harvey entered the game leading the Big Sky in scoring against conference competition at 23.6 points per contest. Eight of Harvey's points came from the free throw line. Four Eagles scored in double figures, including Venky Jois (17), Drew Brandon (13) and Parker Kelly (11).
The Hornets, who have played four of their first six league games away from home, will hit the road again next week for contests Thursday at North Dakota and Saturday at Northern Colorado.
NOTES -- McKinney (+13), Barlett (+11), Stuteville (+11) and Garrity (+11) all had healthy plus-minus ratios in tonight's game.