MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO UC IRVINE FOR SATURDAY EVENING GAME

MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO UC IRVINE FOR SATURDAY EVENING GAME

Sacramento State Game Notes (25 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Sacramento State (4-2) will play its third game in six days when the team travels to Southern California to take on UC Irvine on Saturday. Tip-off is 7:05 p.m.
• The six-day spurt has seen the Hornets defeat Utah Valley at home on Monday, 65-56, before traveling to Texas and falling at Abilene Christian on Thursday night, 72-61
• UC Irvine is 3-3 overall and 2-0 at home. UCI won the Big West regular season title last year and advanced to the NIT. The team was picked first in this year's preseason poll.
• Sacramento State is 2-2 all-time against the Anteaters, and 0-1 when playing in Irvine.
• The two teams faced each other last season in Sacramento with the Anteaters winning, 79-53, in a game the Hornets led at halftime, 32-31.
• The Hornets had a 32-22 lead with 3:52 remaining in the first half before the Anteaters went on a 26-4 run spanning parts of the first and second halves.
• That 26-point margin of defeat for the Hornets was the worst loss at home since falling to Cal State Northridge , 99-65, on Feb. 27, 1999.
• In the teams' lone meeting in Irvine, the Anteaters won, 81-69, on Dec. 4, 2004.
• Thursday's loss at Abilene Christian snapped the Hornets' four-game winning streak, one shy of matching the longest winning streak in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• Still, Sacramento State's 4-2 record is tied for the third best mark after six games since entering the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
• The Hornets are 1-2 on the road this year, with a win at UC Riverside (70-69) and losses to 13th-ranked Gonzaga (104-58) and Thursday's loss at Abilene Christian.
• The Hornets are 4-0 when shooting at least .500 from the field, and 0-2 when shooting under that mark. In addition, the team is 4-0 when holding opponents under .500.
• In the Abilene Christian game, senior guard Dylan Garrity became the 12th player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Senior guard Mikh McKinney needs 67 points to become the 13th player in program history (1948-pres.) to score 1,000.
• Head coach Brian Katz has used the same starting lineup each of the last five games - Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity at guards, Cody Demps and Nick Hornsby at forwards, and Eric Stuteville at center. The team is 4-1 over that five-game span.
• The Hornets return all five starters from a season ago, and eight of the top nine scorers. 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 true freshmen.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• UC Irvine is offering a free live video stream through www.bigwest.tv. Fans can access that link by clicking here. All home games are streamed free in HD at WatchBigSky.com.
• Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM 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 or on the iHeart Radio application for mobile devices.
• Live stats of the game will be provided for every game this season, via www.hornetsports.com for all home games, or provided by the opponent's website for games on the road. Live stats for Saturday's game can be found by clicking here.
• Links for all multimedia options can be found next to each game on the men's basketball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

A LOOK AT THE HORNETS' LAST GAME

• Sacramento State fell at Abilene Christian, 72-61, on Thursday night.
• The Hornets shot a season-low .321 (17-53) from the field and .238 (5-21) from the 3-point line.
• Abilene Christian never trailed in a game that saw the Hornets miss 18 of their first 22 field goal attempts of the game while turning the ball over seven times during that span.
• The Hornets used a 13-6 run late in the game to trail, 62-55, with 1:32 to play, but could get no closer.
• The Wildcats shot .511 from field, .412 from 3-point line and .792 at the charity stripe.
• Dylan Garrity, who notched his 1,000th career point at the 15:48 mark of the first half, finished with a season-best 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 5-of-5 from the line.
• Mikh McKinney added 12 points, six rebounds and a career-high five steals.

EITHER HOT OR COLD FROM THE FIELD

• Sacramento State has either been red hot from the field, or ice cold, and there hasn't been anything in between.
• The Hornets have shot better than .545 four times and are 4-0 in those games, and have shot below .360 in two games, and are subsequently 0-2 in those contests.
• In fact, Sacramento State had shot better than .545 in four straight games during the winning streak, bookended by a .357 performance at Gonzaga and season-low .321 at Abilene Christian.
• The Hornets entered the Abilene Christian game ranked seventh in the nation in field goal percentage, but dropped all the way down to 25th in the nation afterwards.
• Overall, the Hornets are still shooting .494 from the field, third best in the Big Sky.
• Sacramento State's .623 against Bristol set the Div. I single-game record (1991-pres.).

DEFENDING THE 3-POINT LINE

• The Hornets did a nice job of defending the 3-point line last season, limiting the opposition to just .344 from distance. Sacramento State is at it again, limiting opponents to just .302 this season, the third best mark in the Big Sky.
• In four of the team's six games, the opposition has shot below .310 from deep.
• That includes Utah Valley, who was just 3-of-19 (.158) from the 3-point line.

IMPROVEMENT EVERY YEAR UNDER COACH KATZ

• 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.

SUCCESS 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.
• Moreover, Coach Katz's players graduate at a high rate. Of the 18 players that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 16 have graduated.

PULLING BOARDS

• Sacramento State is currently outrebounding the opposition by 3.0 boards per game, the third highest mark in the Big Sky.
• The team has been outrebounded by more than one board just once all season long, and that came via 47-28 disparity in the season opener at 13th-ranked Gonzaga.

NEED TO LIMIT THE TURNOVERS

• Sacramento State has already committed 92 turnovers this year, or 15.3 per game. That mark ranks among the bottom four teams in the Big Sky.
• The Hornets have committed at least 13 turnovers in all but one game, and have committed double figures in miscues in all six contests.
• What's so odd about the miscues is the Hornets have notoriously been a team that has taken care of the ball since Coach Katz took over the coaching duties in 2008-09.
• In fact, the Hornets averaged just 10.7 turnovers last season, second in the league.

PICKING POCKETS

• Sacramento State already has 44 steals this season, or 7.3 per game. That includes a season-high 10 vs. Simpson, and 10 more at Abilene Christian.
• Last season, the Hornets had just 158 steals all year, and ranked last in the Big Sky with 5.3 steals per contest.    

HORNETS PICKED HIGH IN PRESEASON RANKINGS

• Of the seven preseason polls released projecting 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.

PLUS/MINUS STATS

• Four of the Hornets' five starters are better than a +25 for the season in plus/minus ratio, a stat used to determine how the team performs when a certain player is on the floor.
• Mikh McKinney (+47), Cody Demps (+43), Nick Hornsby (+33) and Dylan Garrity (+27) all have healthy plus/minus ratios this year.
• In fact, the Hornets outscore the opposition by 7.8 points per game when McKinney is on the floor, and 7.2 points per game when Demps is on the floor.
• The starting five of Garrity, McKinney, Demps, Hornsby and Eric Stuteville have outscored the opposition, 123-92, when that fivesome is on the floor at the same time.

GARRITY JOINS THE 1,000 CLUB

• With a 12-foot jumper early in the Abilene Christian game, senior guard Dylan Garrity became the 12th player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
• A three-time honorable mention all-league selection, he now has 1,017 points, and needs just 53 points to move into 10th place in Sacramento State's all-time record book.  
• He became just the sixth player to reach 1,000 points during the program's Div. I era, joining John Dickson, Loren Leath, Damond Edwards, Alex Bausley and Michael Boyd.
• Garrity has improved his scoring average every season of his career from 8.1 ppg as a freshman to 11.6 ppg as a sophomore, and 13.2 ppg last season.
• Garrity's 154 3-pointers made are the sixth best mark in school history, and his .418 3-point percentage ranks as the fifth best mark.
• He has buried at least two 3-pointers in every game this season.

THE WELL-ROUNDED McKINNEY

• Senior guard Mikh McKinney currently has a well-rounded stat line of 15.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game while shooting .527 from the field, .400 from the 3-point line and .737 from the free throw line.
• McKinney has a 3.83-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (24th best in the nation), and ranks among the top five players in the Big Sky in five different statistical categories.
• That includes first in steals with 2.6 per game, a mark which ranks 27th in the nation.
• Currently fifth in the conference with 15.6 points per game, McKinney has scored at least 12 points in four of the five games he's played (nine vs. Simpson).
• A unanimous first team all-Big Sky selection last year, McKinney was also named second team all-district, becoming the first Hornet in the Div. I era to be named all-district.
• Despite being in just his third season after transferring from Ohlone JC prior to his sophomore year, McKinney is already 15th in school history with 933 career points.

THE UNDERRATED DEMPS

• One of the more unsung players on the Hornets' roster is junior swingman Cody Demps, who can guard four positions and will usually be called upon to guard the opponent's best offensive player.
• Demps has started 36 straight games dating back to last year, and is currently averaging 9.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.2 steals on .485 shooting this year.
• Demps leads the team in both free throws made (21) and free throws attempted (25).
• His value to the team is even more evident based on his robust 32.3 minutes per game.

MILLS OFF TO A NICE START

• Despite being limited to just four points at Abilene Christian, senior forward Zach Mills has a nice season stat line of 7.0 points and 5.8 rebounds on .500 shooting from the field.
• Mills has grabbed at least four rebounds in all six games (including a career-high 10 vs. Bristol), and leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game.
• Perhaps more impressive, the 6-foot-5 Mills has a team-high 13 offensive rebounds, as 13 of his 35 boards have come on the offensive glass.

NOTABLES

Junior guard Dreon Barlett is shooting .714 (10-14) from the field, and .571 (4-7) from the 3-point line. For his career, he is now shooting .433 (26-60) from distance…sophomore center Eric Stuteville has seven blocked shots in the last four games after totalling 10 blocks in 30 games last year…Nick Hornsby's career-high 20 points vs. Utah Valley is the best mark this year among Hornets not named Mikh McKinney.