MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO UC RIVERSIDE FOR MONDAY EVENING GAME

MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO UC RIVERSIDE FOR MONDAY EVENING GAME

Sacramento State Game Notes (28 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• After opening the season Friday night with a 104-58 loss at 13th-ranked Gonzaga, Sacramento State will play its second game in four days when the team travels south to take on UC Riverside Monday at the Student Recreation Center. Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.
• Monday's contest is the middle game of a stretch that will see the Hornets play three times over a span of six days, including the home opener Wednesday vs. Simpson.
• Monday will mark the 18th meeting between the Highlanders and Hornets in a series which dates back to 1960.
• The Hornets are 5-12 against UC Riverside, and have never beaten the Highlanders on the road (0-6). The last meeting in Riverside came in a 61-49 loss on Nov. 18, 2008.
• In the teams' last meeting, which took place last season in Sacramento, the Hornets won by a final score of 69-67. With the score tied at 67-67, Dylan Garrity sunk a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining. UCR had a chance to tie, but the Highlanders' Steven Jones missed a jumper and Nick Hornsby grabbed the rebound as time expired. No team led by more than four points the final 11:51 of the contest.
• In its six trips to Riverside over the years, the Hornets have lost those games by an average of 15.0 points, and the closest margin of defeat was eight points in 2004.
• Sacramento State is looking to avoid its first 0-2 start since the 2008-09 season, which was also head coach Brian Katz's first season with the program.
• The Hornets will welcome back senior guard Mikh McKinney, who was suspended for the Gonzaga game for disciplinary reasons. McKinney was a unanimous first team all-Big Sky and second team all-district selection last season.
• Sacramento State went 14-16 overall and 10-10 in the Big Sky Conference last year, and qualified for the conference tournament for the first time since 2006.
• The Hornets return all five starters from a year ago, and nine players overall. The list is headlined by senior guards and team co-captains Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, who combine to make up arguably the best back court in the Big Sky Conference.
• Each of the Hornets' five newcomers are freshmen.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Monday night's game will not be televised, but a free live video stream will be available at www.bigwest.tv. In fact, Monday begins a stretch of four straight games that will offer free live video streams of the contest.
• Every game this year will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer with 18th-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy calling all the action.
• Fans outside the Sacramento area can listen to all games via www.hornetsports.com.
• Once again, free HD video streams will be provided for all home games this season via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, all road games played at a Big Sky Conference venue will be streamed free as well.
• Live stats will be provided for every game this season, either via www.hornetsports.com for home games, or provided by the opponent's website for games on the road.
• Links for all multimedia options can be found next to each game on the men's basketball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

GONZAGA GAME RECAP

• Sacramento State lost at #13 Gonzaga Friday night by a 104-58 score in a game that saw the Bulldogs lead by double figures the final 33:32 of the contest. Gonzaga led by as many as 49 points in the second half before setting for the 46-point victory. The box score from the game on page 10 of the game notes.
• Sacramento State dropped to 0-14 when facing a ranked opponent since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
• The Hornets led, 7-6, before Gonzaga ripped off a 14-0 run and never looked back.
• Three Hornets fouled out, and the Bulldogs found themselves in the bonus at the 13:32 mark of the first half and 9:10 mark of the second half.
• Guard Mikh McKinney did not play because of disciplinary reasons, and guards Dylan Garrity (13 points) and Cody Demps (10 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals) were the lone Hornets to score in double figures.
• The Hornets and Bulldogs were playing for the fifth time ever, and first since 1995. The Bulldogs now lead the all-time series over the Hornets by a 3-2 margin.

IMPROVEMENT EVERY YEAR UNDER COACH KATZ

• Amazingly, Sacramento State has improved its conference record every year since head coach Brian Katz took over the program prior the 2008-09 season.
• After going 1-15 during Katz's first season in 2008-09, the Hornets went 3-13 in 2009-10, 4-12 in 2010-11, 5-11 in 2011-12, 8-12 in 2012-13, and 10-10 last year.
• The Hornets, who joined the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97, won their most Big Sky games (10) since joining the league, posted a school-record seven-game home winning streak against the Big Sky, and went a school-best 8-2 at home in Big Sky play last year.

GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM

• The men's basketball program posted its highest grade point average in school history during the 2014 spring semester, finishing with a cumulative mark of 3.092.
• Of the 14 players on Sacramento State's roster last season, nine finished with a spring term GPA above a 3.0.
• The 3.092 gpa was the best mark among all nine men's sports at Sacramento State.
• For the entire 2013-14 academic year, the team finished with a 3.043 gpa after posting a 2.986 in the fall of 2013.
• Moreover, Coach Katz's players graduate at a high rate. Of the 18 players that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 16 have graduated.

ON THE ROAD

• Including Friday's loss to Gonzaga, Sacramento State has dropped four straight games away from home dating back to last season. That includes a 79-76 neutral site loss to North Dakota at last year's Big Sky Tournament in Ogden, Utah.
• The Hornets went 3-12 on the road last season with the victories coming at UC Davis (73-67), Southern Utah (77-49) and Portland State (72-65).
• Sacramento State's best record on the road during the Div. I era (1991-pres.) came during the 2005-06 season when the team went 7-10 on the road.
• Of the Hornets' 29 regular season games this season, 15 will come on the road and 14 will take place at The Nest. After Monday's contest at Riverside, the Hornets do not play again on the road until Thursday, Dec. 4 at Abilene Christian. Four of the team's final six non-conference games will come on the road.

ALL FIVE STARTERS BACK, NINE RETURNERS OVERALL

• Sacramento State returns all five starters from a year ago, and nine players overall.
• The list of returners includes eight of the team's nine leading scorers.
• Of the five players lost from a year ago, only one (Jordan Salley) averaged better than 1.6 points per game. Salley, who was the team's sixth man, averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting .622 from the field.
• The five starters include guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, forwards Cody Demps and Zach Mills, and center Alex Tiffin. All five started at least 24 games.
• Perhaps even more impressive is two of those starters from a year ago (Mills and Tiffin) will likely come off the bench this season. Sophomores Nick Hornsby (forward) and Eric Stuteville (center) started both exhibition games and received starter-type minutes during the last month of the 2013-14 season.
• Four of the returning starters are seniors (Garrity, McKinney, Mills and Tiffin)
• Other returners include junior G Dreon Barlett and sophomore G Trevis Jackson.
• Five of the nine returners have been in the program for over two years.

FIVE-MINUTE MARK TELLS THE TALE

• Dating back to last season, the Hornets are now 1-17 when trailing with five minutes remaining in the second half, and 13-0 when leading at that point in the game.
• The lone win over that span came at home vs. Weber State in overtime on Dylan Garrity's 75-foot shot at the buzzer to deliver a 78-75 victory.

HORNETS PICKED HIGH IN PRESEASON RANKINGS

• Of the seven preseason polls released for the Big Sky, the Hornets were picked among the top four teams in all seven polls. That includes a first place prediction from Blue Ribbon, a second place prediction by ESPN and third place by The Sporting News.
• The Hornets were tabbed fourth in both the Big Sky coaches and media polls.

THE BEST BACK COURT IN THE BIG SKY?

• When talking about the Sacramento State men's basketball program, the conversation usually begins with senior guards and team co-captains Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, who combine to form arguably the best back court in the Big Sky Conference.
• Both players can play at point and shooting guard and Coach Katz will use them in both roles throughout the season. They are team co-captains for the second straight year, and both started all 30 games a year ago.
• Last year, McKinney became the first player in school history to be unanimously selected first team all-Big Sky, and then became the first player in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.) to be selected all-district when he was named second team all-District 6 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
• Garrity has been named honorable mention all-Big Sky all three years with the Hornets, and was the league's freshman of the year in 2012. He is the only Hornet to receive all-league recognition more than two times since the program joined the Big Sky in 1996-97.

MORE ON McKINNEY

• McKinney was also named Sacramento State's Male Student-Athlete of the Year last season after averaging 16.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting .482 from the field and .820 from the free throw line.
• Has started all 59 of the games he's appeared during his Sacramento State career after spending his freshman season (2011-12) at Ohlone College.
• Last year, he led the team in scoring on 19 occasions, scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games, and tallied at least 21 points on eight occasions.
• In Big Sky play, he led the Hornets in points (17.0 ppg), rebounds (4.3 rpg), assists (5.1 apg), assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.4) and steals (1.3 spg).

MORE ON GARRITY

• Last season, Garrity averaged 13.2 points, 1.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 33.8 minutes per game while shooting .466 (123-264) from the field, .472 (75-159) from the 3-point line and .831 (74-89) from the free throw line.
• The .472 three-point percentage was the fourth best mark in the nation among players converting at least 2.5 made three balls per game.
• Buried a 75-footer at the overtime buzzer to defeat Weber State, 78-75, at home in a shot that was dubbed "The Hail Garrity". Video of the shot went viral and was featured on numerous websites including ESPN, CNN, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and Fox News to name a few. In addition, it was the #1 play on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays.

THE UNDERRATED DEMPS

• One of the more unsung players on the Hornets' roster is junior swingman Cody Demps, who averaged 8.0 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game last year while shooting .450 (86-191) from the field. Demps had averaged just 13.8 minutes per game as a true freshman prior to his production from a year ago.
• Demps is often called upon to guard the opponent's best offensive player.
• One of three players on the Hornets to start all 30 games last season.

STUTEVILLE BECOMING A FORCE

• Checking in at 6-foot-11 and 250 pounds, center Eric Stuteville doesn't look like someone who is just 19 years old. The true sophomore played starter-type minutes during the final eight games last year and was the Hornets' best player in the two exhibition games.
• As a true freshman, he averaged 9.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 20.6 minutes on .582 shooting from the field over the final eight games last year. He scored in double figures four times during that eight-game span after doing so just twice in the first 22 games.
• His brother, 6-foot-11, 230-pound Mason Stuteville, is a freshman for the Hornets.

ANOTHER TRUE SOPHOMORE GAINING THE STARTING NOD

• Like Eric Stuteville, another true sophomore, forward Nick Hornsby, has been inserted into the starting lineup this season.
• Hornsby averaged 5.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 18.3 minutes over the final eight games of last season. That included 10 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast and 4 stl in the regular season finale against Montana State that clinched the Hornets a Big Sky Tournament berth.