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MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTS A 74-42 VICTORY OVER SIMPSON IN HOME OPENER

MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTS A 74-42 VICTORY OVER SIMPSON IN HOME OPENER

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State junior swingman Cody Demps scored a game-high 16 points and the Hornets went on a 22-2 run in the first half on the way to a 74-42 victory over Simpson in a non-conference men's basketball game Wednesday evening at the Nest.

With the win, Sacramento State, which beat UC Riverside on the road Monday night, improved to 2-1 and completed a stretch that saw the team play three times over a six-day span to begin the season. Simpson, which is an NAIA squad from Redding, Calif., dropped to 3-6 with the loss.

The Hornets, who outscored the Red Hawks in the first half by a 45-17 margin, led by at least 14 points the final 31:11 of the contest. Seventh-year Hornet head coach Brian Katz used all 14 of his players and each of those players received at least three minutes of action. Ten Sacramento State players cracked into the scoring column, as the team finished the game shooting .551 (27-49) from the field, .333 (6-18) from the 3-point line and .737 (14-19) from the free throw line.

Sacramento State also held commanding advantages in rebounds (39-20), points in the paint (40-14), points off turnovers (19-5), second-chance points (10-4) and points off the bench (30-12). Simpson was limited to just .283 (13-46) shooting from the field, including 4-of-19 from beyond the 3-point arc. In addition, the Red Hawks had just nine assists and were forced into 16 turnovers.

"I really liked the way we played defensively, and I thought we came out and set a tone in the first half," Katz said. "Offensively, I thought we could have executed a little better, but defensively, we were aggressive and contested the guys we put an emphasis on. We still have work to do, but I was pleased with the team's effort.

"We treated these first three games like a three-game road trip. We played a great team that is one of the best in the nation (#13 Gonzaga) in a tough environment on Friday followed by a road game at Riverside three days later. Our plane landed yesterday in Sacramento and there was no time to relax before facing Simpson tonight."

During the 22-2 run, which extended an 11-7 lead all the way to 33-9 with 5:54 left in the first half, five different Hornets scored points. That included seven points apiece from Demps and senior Mikh McKinney during the spurt. After the Hornets went up, 33-9, they led by at least 22 points the rest of the way. The 32-point margin of victory was also Sacramento State's largest advantage of the evening.

Demps' 16 points came on 5-of-7 shooting from both the field and free throw line while he also had four rebounds and a steal in a game-high 30 minutes. He was joined in double figures by seniors Zach Mills (11 points, game-high six rebounds) and Dylan Garrity (10 points, three rebounds and two steals). Mills has the hot hand thus far as the forward has converted on 12-of-16 (.750) shots from the field this season.

McKinney had nine points and four assists, junior Dreon Barlett added seven points on 3-of-3 shooting, senior Alex Tiffin had six points, three rebounds and two steals, and sophomore Nick Hornsby had five points, three assists and a steal. True freshman James Herrick had four points and four rebounds in just four minutes.

Eight different Hornets had steals, 13 players had at least one rebound, and 10 players converted at least one field goal.

For Simpson, Ian Corella led the way with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting while Sam Siler had seven points. Only one Red Hawk player had more than two rebounds.

Sacramento State, which began a season-high tying three-game homestand tonight, will play Bristol (Nov. 25) and Utah Valley (Dec. 1) over its next two games.