ABILENE, Texas -- Abilene Christian's LaDarrien Williams led all players with 24 points and Sacramento State was limited to a season-low .321 field goal percentage as the Wildcats defeated the Hornets, 72-61, in a non-conference men's basketball game Thursday evening at the Moody Coliseum.
The Hornets, who entered the game second in the Big Sky with a .529 field goal percentage, shot just 17-of-53 from the field, including 6-of-26 (.231) in the first half. Sacramento State set season lows for overall field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage as the team converted on just 5-of-21 (.238) attempts from the 3-point line.
One bright spot for the Hornets was senior guard Dylan Garrity, who entered the game needing just two points to become the 12th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Garrity buried a 12-foot jumper with 15:48 remaining in the first half to secure the milestone, and eventually went on to score a team-high 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
The loss snapped a four-game winning streak and the Hornets, who were playing Abilene Christian for the first time ever, dropped to 4-2 with the loss. Sacramento State will conclude its stretch of three games in six nights when the Hornets travel to Southern California to take on UC Irvine on Saturday evening.
Abilene Christian, a member of the Southland Conference, improved to 3-3 with the victory and 3-1 on its home floor. The Wildcats never trailed the entire way, opening up a lead as large as 17 points in the second half before settling for the 11-point victory.
Sacramento State began the game ice cold, missing on 18 of its first 22 attempts from the field while committing seven turnovers over that span. By the time Sacramento State converted on its fifth field goal of the half, a jumper from Dylan Garrity, the Hornets found themselves down, 27-16, with four minutes to play before the break.
The Wildcats led by double figures a good portion of the second half until the Hornets eventually used a 13-6 run to get the lead all the way down to 62-55 with 1:32 to play. That was as close as Sacramento State would get, however, as Abilene Christian converted on 9-of-10 free throw attempts during the final 1:17 to put the game away.
While the Hornets had trouble shooting, the Wildcats were proficient from the field, shooting .511 (23-45) from the floor, .412 (7-17) from the 3-point line and .792 (19-24) from the free throw line. A pair of those 3-pointers were made during the game's final 3:45 to help thwart any potential Hornet rally.
Sacramento State went to the free throw line a season-best 31 times, converting on 22 of those freebies (.710). Sacramento State also had a season-high 17 offensive rebounds, but turned those extra looks into just 12 second chance points. The Hornets' second unit, which had been very good the first five games of the season, combined for just 12 bench points tonight on 3-of-12 shooting.
Joining Garrity in double figures for the Hornets was senior guard Mikh McKinney who had 12 points, six rebounds, three assists and a career-high five steals in 38 minutes of play. Junior guard Cody Demps added nine points, four rebounds and team-high four assists while center Eric Stuteveille and six points and six rebounds and forward Nick Hornsby added three points, six rebounds and two blocks.
Nearly half of the Hornets' total of 61 points came from second-chance points (12) and points off turnovers (16) as Sacramento State finished with a season-high tying 10 steals. The Hornets, who were outrebounded, 34-33, had more offensive rebounds (17) than defensive rebounds (16).
For Abilene Christian, Williams' 24 points came on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 from distance and 9-of-10 from the free throw line. He was joined in double figures by Parker Wentz (15 points) and Austin Cooke (12 points, 10 rebounds). Jalen Little finished with a game-high seven assists. Both Williams and Wentz shot 3-of-5 from the 3-point line and combined for six of the Wildcats' seven makes from long distance.
Saturday's game at UC Irvine will tip-off at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets will play twice at home next week against Cal State Fullerton on Dec. 11, and Portland on Dec. 14.
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January 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. MONTANA STATE
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January 21, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN ACTION THURSDAY NIGHT AT IDAHO STATE
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