MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY TOURNAMENT THURSDAY VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Sacramento State Game Notes (31 pages) - pdf
North Dakota Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Tournament Brackets (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings
HORNETS IN THE BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
• Sacramento State's appearance in the Big Sky Tournament will be the team's first since reaching the semifinal round of the 2006 tournament.
• There are zero players on the roster with postseason experience in a Hornet uniform.
• The top seven teams in the 11-member league reach the postseason and the Hornets qualified by virtue of holding a tiebreaker over fellow seventh place finisher Eastern Washington.
• Sacramento State has beaten five of the six teams in this year's tournament, owning a 1-1 record against everybody except Montana (0-2).
• Since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97, the Hornets have reached the Big Sky Tournament four times, and that happened four straight years from 2002-03 through the 2005-06 season.
• Sacramento State is 2-4 all-time in tournament play, including semifinal appearances in 2003 and 2006. The Hornets hosted quarterfinal games in 2004 and 2005, and lost to Weber State by six points or less both times.
• In the two seasons where Sacramento State played its quarterfinal game away from home, the Hornets were victorious both times, beating Montana in 2003 and Montana State in 2006.
• Sacramento State was the No. 4 seed in both the 2004 and 2005 tournaments, the No. 5 in 2006, and the No. 6 in 2003. The tournament switched from a six-team to a seven-team format last season.
VS. NORTH DAKOTA
• Sacramento State is 3-3 all-time against North Dakota with the home team winning each meeting. The two teams have never met on a neutral floor.
• None of the six meetings have been decided by more than 11 points, and the average margin of victory in the six games is 7.0 points. The teams' first-ever meeting was Nov. 19, 2010, a three-point UND win, when North Dakota was not yet a member of the Big Sky Conference.
• The teams split their two meetings this year with North Dakota winning at home, 82-71, on Jan. 23, and the Hornets winning at home on Feb. 20 by a 71-65 score (box scores from both meetings and cumulative Sacramento State stats against UND can be found on pgs. 9-11).
• In the game at North Dakota, Troy Huff had 20 points and 14 rebounds, and sparked a 16-8 UND run over the final 4:10 to beat the Hornets, 82-71. During the game-clinching run, Huff had seven of North Dakota's 16 points.
• In the game at Sacramento, the Hornets never trailed the final 38:46 of the contest, and Mikh McKinney finished with a team-high 19 points. North Dakota made things interesting with a 10-0 run late in the second half to cut a 57-41 Hornet lead all the way down to 57-51 with 4:06 remaining. UND eventually cut it to five points 52 seconds left, but would get no closer.
• Three Hornets have averaged double figures in points against North Dakota this year, comprised of Zach Mills (14.5 ppg), Mikh McKinney (14.0 ppg) and Dylan Garrity (11.5 ppg). Mills' 20 points at North Dakota were the most scored by a Hornet against UND this year.
• Both teams struggled on the road this year with North Dakota going 4-12 away from home (4-10 on the road, 0-2 at neutral sites) and the Hornets going 3-12 on the road.
McKINNEY AND GARRITY RECEIVE ALL-BIG SKY HONORS
• Junior guards Mikh McKinney (first team) and Dylan Garrity (honorable mention) were both recipient of all-Big Sky honors when the accolades were released by the league on Monday.
• McKinney was a unanimous first team all-Big Sky selection, becoming the first Hornet to be unanimously selected to the first team since the program joined the Big Sky in 1996-97.
• McKinney also became the first Sacramento State player to earn first team accolades since DaShawn Freeman and Alex Bausley accomplished the feat during the 2005-06 season.
• Garrity becomes the first Sacramento State player to receive all-Big Sky recognition three times. He's been named honorable mention all-league during each of his first three years.
BIG SKY TOURNAMENT FORMAT
• On Thursday, there will be three quarterfinal games played with the Hornets taking on North Dakota at 1:05 p.m. PDT, No. 3 Northern Arizona facing No. 6 Northern Colorado at 3:35 p.m. PDT, and No. 4 Montana taking on No. 5 Portland State at 6:05 p.m. PDT.
• On Friday, the highest remaining seeds from the quarterfinals will play in one semifinal at 3:30 p.m. PDT and the lowest remaining seed will take on Weber State at 6:05 p.m. PDT.
• If the Hornets win Thursday, they will be playing Weber State on Friday.
• The championship game, which will be televised on ESPNU, is Saturday at 5:05 p.m. PDT.
• The tournament host has won each of the last three Big Sky Tournament titles.
TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS OF THE TOURNAMENT
• Each of the first five games from this year's tournament will be available for free on Big Sky TV. Weber State and the Big Sky Conference will give fans a true tournament experience through Watch Big Sky. Press conferences from all of the games will be available for fans. Steve Klauke and Lance Barton will call all of the action on Watch Big Sky starting with all three first-round games on Thursday. The two semifinal games will also be available on Watch Big Sky. Watch Big Sky can be accessed on your computer at www.watchbigsky.com. The free Watch Big Sky App can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play.
• Saturday's championship game will be televised live on ESPNU starting at 5 p.m PDT. Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams will call the action on ESPNU. The championship game will not be available on Watch Big Sky.
• Thursday's game will be aired live on the radio at KSAC 105.5 FM and www.hornetsports.com with play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy on the call.
QUICK NOTABLES ON THE SEASON
• The Hornets have clinched a Big Sky Tournament berth for the first time since 2006.
• The Hornets have set their record for most Big Sky wins (10) since joining the league.
• The team has now improved its conference record every year of head coach Brian Katz's six-year tenure - 1-15 in 2008-09; 3-13 in 2009-10; 4-12 in 2010-11; 5-11 in 2011-12; 8-12 in 2012-13; 10-10 this year.
• At 10-10, the Hornets finished with a .500 mark in Big Sky play for just the third time since joining the conference in 1996-97. The 2003-04 squad was 7-7, and the 2004-05 squad finished 8-6.
• The 7-game home winning streak from Jan. 18 - Feb. 22 matched the team's longest home streak during the Div. I era (1991-pres.)
• The team's seven-game home winning streak against Big Sky competition was easily the longest since joining the league in 1996-97.
• The team had a 4-0 homestand for the first time since the 1981-82 season.
• The Hornets went 11-3 at home, the most wins in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and most since the 1988-89 squad also posted 11 home victories.
• Sacramento State's 8-2 home record in conference play is the team's best mark since joining the Big Sky.
• At 14-15 the Hornets still have an opportunity to finish with an overall record above the .500 mark for the first time in the Div. I era. The team's Div. I high water mark for record was 15-15, set in 2005-06.
• Mikh McKinney (first team) and Dylan Garrity (honorable mention) gives the Hornets more than one player receiving all-Big Sky recognition for just the sixth time since joining the league.
For Sacramento State's complete set of game notes, click on the link above the story.