SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State's Mikh McKinney had 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, and Dylan Garrity added 13 points and five assists as the Hornets defeated Southern Utah, 68-56, Monday evening at The Nest.
With the victory, the Hornets (10-11, 6-6) won their fourth straight game and completed their season-long four-game homestand with a perfect 4-0 record. Sacramento State now finds itself in the thick of the chase for the one of the seven spots into the Big Sky Conference's postseason tournament with eight regular season games remaining. The top seven teams in the 11-member league qualify for the postseason event, and besides first-place Weber State (10-2) and last-place Southern Utah (0-12), the other nine squads are all within two games of each other. The Hornets are sitting in a three-way tie for sixth place with Portland State and Montana State.
Below are some particulars about the Hornets' current run...
• The team's overall four-game winning streak is the longest since the 2011-12 season, and gives the Hornets just their fifth winning streak of at least four games since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
• Dating back to the home win against Eastern Washington on Jan. 18, the Hornets have won five straight at home, the longest run since the 2005-06 team won seven in a row at home.
• The team completed a four-game homestand with a perfect 4-0 record for the first time since the 1981-82 season.
• Sacramento State's four-game conference winning streak matches the longest for the program since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97 (the 2011-12, 2005-06 and 2004-05 squads also accomplished the feat). The program has never won five consecutive Big Sky games.
Sacramento State scored the game's first 11 points and never trailed the entire way. In fact, the Hornets led by at least nine points the final 34:18 of the contest. During the game's first six and a half minutes, Southern Utah was 0-for-8 from the field with three turnovers. The Thunderbirds did not score their first point of the game until a pair of Eric Rippetoe free throws at the 13:29 mark, and didn't convert their first field goal until a Casey Oliverson layup at the 13:00 mark.
Sacramento State led, 36-20, at halftime and that lead was never threatened in the second half. Southern Utah cut the deficit to nine points (63-54) with 1:08 to play, but McKinney answered with a pair of free throws to put the game away.
Coupled with the Hornets' 77-49 road win at Southern Utah earlier this season, Sacramento State swept the season series from the Thunderbirds, winning both games by an average of 20 points. The Thunderbirds dropped to 1-20 overall and 0-12 in league play, but had lost six straight games by single digits heading into tonight's contest.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting .491 (26-53) from the field, .385 (5-13) from the 3-point line and .647 (11-17) from the free throw line. The Hornets held a large advantage in the rebounding department (38-25) and scored 15 points off 13 Southern Utah turnovers. The Thunderbirds converted on just 8-of-24 from the field in the first half and finished the game at .431 (22-51) from the floor, including 2-of-8 from distance. Jaren Jeffery scored 21 of the Thunderbirds' 56 points. The Hornets did turn the ball over 14 times, their highest number of miscues in the last 12 games.
"It all starts at home, and you have to defend the home court in this conference," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said of the homestand. "I always tell our guys that every win on the road in the Big Sky is an upset, and we play Eastern Washington and Portland State later this week at their places. Nothing will come easy.
"We've been scoring the ball better lately, and our defense has really tightened up in the last month. The one negative tonight was our 14 turnovers, but we played well enough to win."
McKinney led the Hornets in scoring for the fourth straight game, and 12th time this season as his 15 points came on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. During the four-game homestand, McKinney was remarkable, averaging 24.8 points, 5.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals on .603 shooting (35-58) from the field.
Garrity chipped in 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including three 3-pointers as the junior has now converted on at least three triples on eight occasions this season. Jordan Salley added nine points, including a thunderous dunk in the second half, Alex Tiffin finished with a season and game-high 10 rebounds, and Cody Demps had nine points, seven rebounds and three assists in 31 minutes. Zach Mills and Dreon Barlett both had six points and Nick Hornsby had four points and four rebounds in 16 active minutes.
Thirteen Sacramento State players appeared in tonight's game, and 10 cracked into the scoring column.
For Southern Utah, Jeffery's 21 points came on 9-of-11 shooting while Juwan Major chipped in 11 points. Thunderbird starters accounted for just 11 points as the bench outscored the Hornets bench by a 45-22 margin. More than half those points came from Jeffery and Major.
The Hornets, who were playing the first of three games this week, will travel to Eastern Washington on Thursday and Portland State on Saturday. Sacramento State defeated Eastern Washington at home earlier this year and lost to Portland State in overtime.
May 23, 2014 HORNET HOOPS GOLF TOURNAMENT SET FOR MONDAY, JUNE 9
April 28, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS TO HOST SEASON WRAPUP/SIGNING PARTY ON MAY 8
March 10, 2014 TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR BIG SKY MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
February 28, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD GAME SATURDAY AT IDAHO ST.
February 27, 2014 WINNING STREAK SNAPPED, MEN'S BASKETBALL FALLS AT WEBER STATE, 79-67
February 26, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO WEBER STATE ON THURSDAY, SEEKS 4TH STRAIGHT WIN
February 24, 2014 VOTE GARRITY’S 75-FOOT SHOT FOR GEICO PLAY OF THE YEAR
February 24, 2014 McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR A SECOND TIME
February 22, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL CONTINUES TO ROLL AFTER CRUSHING NORTHERN COLORADO
February 21, 2014 FREE WHITEOUT SHIRTS TO THE FIRST 500 FANS AT SATURDAY’S HOOPS GAME
February 21, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 7TH STRAIGHT HOME WIN SATURDAY VS. NORTHERN COLO.
February 19, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 6TH STRAIGHT HOME WIN THURSDAY VS. NORTH DAKOTA
February 14, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO PORTLAND STATE ON SATURDAY
February 13, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL HAS WINNING STREAK SNAPPED AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 12, 2014 WINNERS OF FOUR STRAIGHT, MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 10, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS BEATS SOUTHERN UTAH, COMPLETES HOMESTAND WITH 4-0 RECORD
February 9, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 4TH STRAIGHT WIN, HOSTS SOUTHERN UTAH ON MONDAY
February 6, 2014 WINNING STREAK AT THREE AFTER MEN’S HOOPS DISMANTLES NAU, 87-70
February 5, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA
February 3, 2014 McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
January 31, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S SIXTH-ANNUAL ALUMNI GAMES TAKE PLACE SATURDAY
January 31, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS HOST BIG SKY-LEADING WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 29, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS LONG HOMESTAND THURSDAY VS. IDAHO STATE
January 25, 2014 BIG DISPARITIES HURT IN MEN’S HOOPS LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
January 24, 2014 ROAD WEARY MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS AT NORTHERN COLORADO ON SATURDAY
January 23, 2014 NORTH DAKOTA USES LATE RUN TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
January 21, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL BACK ON THE ROAD THURSDAY AT NORTH DAKOTA
January 18, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL KNOCKS OFF EASTERN WASHINGTON AT HOME, 75-64
January 17, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 15, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS FINALLY RETURNS HOME, HOSTS PORTLAND STATE ON THURSDAY
January 11, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS CRUSHES SOUTHERN UTAH, ENDS ROAD TRIP IN A BIG WAY
January 10, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS ROAD TRIP COMES TO AN END SATURDAY AT SOUTHERN UTAH
January 8, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS CONTINUES ROAD TRIP THURSDAY AT NORTHERN ARIZONA
January 2, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS BIG SKY OPENER AT MONTANA STATE
December 31, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THURSDAY AT MONTANA STATE
December 29, 2013 LATE FREE THROWS HELP DELIVER 69-67 MEN’S HOOPS WIN OVER UC RIVERSIDE
December 27, 2013 AFTER LONG LAYOFF, MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UC RIVERSIDE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
December 21, 2013 BIG SECOND HALF FUELS CAL STATE FULLERTON TO VICTORY OVER MEN’S HOOPS
December 19, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS AT CAL STATE FULLERTON ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON
December 14, 2013 MEN’S HOOPS CRUISES TO 85-54 WIN OVER WILLIAM JESSUP
December 12, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS WILLIAM JESSUP ON SATURDAY AT 7 P.M.
December 7, 2013 UTEP USES HEALTHY FREE THROW ADVANTAGE TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
December 4, 2013 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EL PASO FOR FIRST EVER MEETING WITH UTEP
November 30, 2013 UC IRVINE USES BIG SECOND HALF TO DEFEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 29, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS UC IRVINE SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
November 26, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL COMES THROUGH WITH CLUTCH WIN AT UC DAVIS, 73-67
November 25, 2013 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS TO PLAY FOR THE 112TH TIME ON TUESDAY
November 18, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS TO #22 UCLA
November 15, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO #24 UCLA ON MONDAY
November 13, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS MIRA COSTA HIGH SCHOOL FORWARD JUSTIN STRINGS
November 13, 2013 BAKERSFIELD HOT FROM DISTANCE IN 74-66 WIN OVER MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 12, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL BEGINS ROAD TRIP WEDNESDAY AT CSU BAKERSFIELD
November 8, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL BEATS UC SANTA CRUZ, 73-43, IN SEASON OPENER
November 6, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL GETS UNDERWAY FRIDAY NIGHT VS. UC SANTA CRUZ
November 5, 2013 2013-14 MEN’S BASKETBALL MEDIA GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
October 28, 2013 2013-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON OUTLOOK
October 17, 2013 BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES AND MEDIA PRESEASON POLLS RELEASED
September 24, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON COMING FAST, FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
July 23, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL RELEASES ITS 2013-14 SCHEDULE