MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS CAL STATE FULLERTON THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM

MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS CAL STATE FULLERTON THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM

Sacramento State Game Notes - 26 pages (pdf)
Cal State Fullerton Game Notes
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Sacramento State (4-3) will play the first of just four remaining non-conference games Thursday at home against Cal State Fullerton at 7:05 p.m.
• The Hornets played three times last week, which included a home win over Utah Valley (65-56) and road losses at Abilene Christian (72-61) and UC Irvine (74-62).
• The Hornets had won four straight before the losses to Abilene Christian and UC Irvine.
• In a series which dates back to 1960, the Hornets are 6-6 against Cal State Fullerton, including a 3-1 mark when playing in Sacramento.
• The Hornets and Titans played last year in Fullerton (a 59-51 Titan win), marking the first time the two teams faced each other since 2003.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92, Sacramento State has played Fullerton five times (2-3 in those outcomes), and three of those games went into overtime.
• The last time the two teams met in Sacramento was a 62-54 Titan victory on Dec. 21, 2002. In that game, DaShawn Freeman had 10 points, six assists and six steals.
• Cal State Fullerton, which is 0-5 on the road this year, returns five players (including three starters) from last season's team that finished 11-20 and 6-10 in the Big West.
• Sacramento State is 3-0 at home this season, and has won those games by an average of 25.0 points per contest.
• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 24-7 at home, including a Div. I-best 11-3 mark at The Nest last year.
• The Hornets are 4-0 when shooting at least .500 from the field, and 0-3 when shooting under that mark. In addition, the team is 4-0 when holding opponents under .500.
• Head coach Brian Katz has used the same starting lineup in six straight games - Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity at guards, Cody Demps and Nick Hornsby at forwards, and Eric Stuteville at center. The team is 4-2 over that six-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.
• After Thursday's game, Sacramento State will host Portland on Sunday, and travel to Seattle (Dec. 21) and Utah Valley (Dec. 27) before opening Big Sky play on New Year's Day against Northern Arizona.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Like every home game this season, a free live video stream will be available in HD at www.WatchBigSky.com. Fans will need to create an account before watching for the first time. In addition, all road games played at a Big Sky Conference venue will be streamed free as well at www.WatchBigSky.com.
• Thursday'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 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.
• 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 UC Irvine by a 74-62 score on Saturday night.
• UC Irvine led for nearly 37 minutes in the game, opening up a lead as large as 20 points with 4:53 to play before finishing with a 12-point victory.
• After the Hornets took a 7-5 lead on one of Garrity's game-high four 3-pointers with 17:02 left in the first half, UC Irvine ripped off a 17-6 run over the next seven minutes.
• UC Irvine held large advantages in points in the paint (46-18), points off turnovers (19-7) and second-chance points (22-8).
• Dylan Garrity had a game-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, 4-of-6 from the 3-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
• Mikh McKinney finished with 17 points, four assists and two steals in 38 minutes.

.500 OR BETTER FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE WINS....EVERY TIME

• When Sacramento State shoots above .500, the Hornets are 4-0, and the team is 0-3 when shooting under that mark.
• In addition, Hornet opponents are 3-0 when shooting better than .500, and 0-4 when Sacramento State holds them to below a .500 mark.
• The Hornets have shot better than .545 four times, and shot .412 or below in the other three contests. That includes a Div. I-era single-game record .623 against Bristol.
• Sacramento State is fourth in the Big Sky and 42nd in the nation with a .482 field goal percentage.
• Four Hornet regulars shoot better than .530 from the field, comprised of Dreon Barlett (.688), Alex Tiffin (.565), Mikh McKinney (.538) and Nick Hornsby (.531).

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 .287 this season, the third best mark in the Big Sky and 50th in the nation.
• In five of the team's seven games, the opposition has shot below .310 from deep.
• That includes UC Irvine, who was just 4-of-21 (.190) 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.

STARTING LINEUP CONSISTENCY

• Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz has used the same starting lineup in six straight games, consisting of Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney at guard, Cody Demps at swingman, Nick Hornsby at forward and Eric Stuteville at center.
• That starting lineup has gone 4-2 thus far.
• In addition, that fivesome has been together for just over 80 minutes of floor time this year, and has combined to outscore the opposition by 36 points during that time.
• That plus/minus ratio of +36 is easily the best mark among any Hornet fivesomes.
• In 80:12 of court time, the fivesome has outscored opponents, 153-117.

NEED TO LIMIT THE TURNOVERS

• Sacramento State has already committed 107 turnovers this year, or 15.3 per game. That mark ranks among the bottom four teams in the Big Sky, and 287th out of 355 Div. I basketball squads.
• The Hornets have committed at least 13 turnovers in all but one game, and have committed double figures in miscues in each of the seven contests.
• Opponents are averaging 15.9 points per game off Hornet turnovers.
• 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 in Big Sky Conference play, second in the league. Overall, the team turned the ball over 11.3 times per game.

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.

HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 24-7 at The Nest, including an 11-3 mark last year. The 11 victories were the most home wins in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and most since 1988-89 squad also posted 11 wins.
• This year, the Hornets are outscoring opposition at home by an average of 25.0 ppg.
• Last season, Sacramento State ripped off seven straight wins at home against Big Sky competition, easily the longest streak since joining the league n 1996-97.
• The Hornets are a combined 15-5 against Big Sky competition at home dating back to the 2012-13 season, including a program-record 8-2 mark against the league last year.

GARRITY JOINS THE 1,000 CLUB

• Early in the Abilene Christian game, senior guard Dylan Garrity became the 12th player in school history to score 1,000 career points, and is just 29 points shy of moving into 11th place in the Hornet record book (Michael Boyd is 11th with 1,064 points).
• A three-time honorable mention all-league selection, 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's 158 3-pointers made are the sixth best mark in school history, and his .422 3-point percentage ranks as the third best mark.
• He has buried at least two 3-pointers in every game this season, and currently has averages of 12.7 points, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals per game. Forty of his 66 field goal attempts have come from beyond the 3-point arc.

THE WELL-ROUNDED McKINNEY

• Senior guard Mikh McKinney currently has a well-rounded stat line of 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game while shooting .538 from the field, .389 from the 3-point line and .783 from the free throw line.
• McKinney has a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (top 50 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 2.5 per game, a mark which ranks 30th in the nation.
• Currently fifth in the conference in scoring, McKinney has scored at least 12 points in five of the six games he's played (nine vs. Simpson). He didn't play against Gonzaga.
• 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 950 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 37 straight games dating back to last year, and is currently averaging 7.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals on .444 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 32.1 minutes per game, and his team-high +32 in plus/minus ratio.

NOTABLES

• Over the last four games, sophomore forward Nick Hornsby is shooting .591 (13-22) from the field and .800 (4-5) from the 3-point line.
• Junior guard Dreon Barlett has shot at least 50 percent from the field in six straight games and leads the team with a .688 field goal percentage (11-16) this season.
• After shooting .682 (15-22) during the season's first four games, senior forward Zach Mills is shooting .222 (4-18) from the field in the last three games.
• After missing his first six shots of the season from the field, senior center Alex Tiffin is shooting .765 (13-17) over the last five-plus games.
• Sophomore center Eric Stuteville has at least one blocked shot in five straight games and is tied for ninth in the Big Sky with an average of 1.1 blocks per game.
• Freshman center James Herrick has missed the last four games because of injury.