MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS PORTLAND ON SUNDAY AT 5 P.M.

MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS PORTLAND ON SUNDAY AT 5 P.M.

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

GAME PREVIEW

• Sacramento State will play its final non-conference home game in a rare Sunday evening matchup when the Hornets welcome Portland to the Nest at 5:05 p.m.
• The Hornets, who are 4-0 at home, defeated Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night, 73-59, after closing the game on an 11-0 run.
• In a series which dates back to the 1954-55 season, Sacramento State is 1-8 all-time against Portland. The Hornets' lone win in the series came during the 1999-00 season when the team beat the Pilots, 62-59, at Memorial Auditorium.
• Sunday will mark the first meeting between the two teams since a Pilot win in Portland, 75-55, on Dec. 16, 2000. In that game (box score on pg. 10), four Hornets scored in double figures, let by Rame Batta and Rickie Glenn, who both scored 12 points.
• The Hornets are 1-2 when playing Portland in Sacramento. Both home games during the Hornets' Div. I era (1991-pres.) were decided by four points or less, including a 63-59 Portland victory during the 1992-93 season.
• Portland, which is a member of the West Coast Conference, is 6-2, and has played just one game on an opponent's home floor (73-68 overtime win against San Jose State).
• The Pilots defeated Portland State, 83-71, on Dec. 3, and in their most recent contest, lost at home in overtime on Dec. 6 to Oregon State (65-58).
• Sacramento State is 4-0 at home this season, and has won those games by an average of 22.3 points per contest.
• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 25-7 at home, including a Div. I-best 11-3 mark at The Nest last year.
• That includes a five-game winning streak at home dating back to last season.
• The Hornets have played every day of the week this season except Sunday.
• Third-year senior guard Mikh McKinney is just 29 points shy of becoming the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points. Just last week, fourth-year senior guard Dylan Garrity notched his 1,000th career point at Abilene Christian.
• Head coach Brian Katz has used the same starting lineup in seven straight games - Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity at guards, Cody Demps and Nick Hornsby at forwards, and Eric Stuteville at center. The team is 5-2 over that seven-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 captains and guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney.

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.
• Sunday'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 received a game-high 21 points from Mikh McKinney and the Hornets finished the game on an 11-0 run to defeat Cal State Fullerton at home, 73-59.
• Cal State Fullerton did not score the final 2:55 of the game, and during the 11-0 run, Cody Demps and Zach Mills both scored four points, and Dylan Garrity hit a 3-pointer.
• The Hornets led the final 14:45 of the contest, although the Titans stayed within striking distance until the final stages of the contest.
• The Hornets had a season-best 11 steals, including a career-high six from McKinney.
• The Hornets outscored the Titans in the first half, 33-24, and in the second half, 40-35.
• Joining McKinney in double figures were Alex Tiffin (season-high 15 points), Demps (14 points, four assists) and Garrity (11 points, five assists and three steals).

TRENDS TO WATCH FOR

• When Sacramento State shoots above .500, the Hornets are 4-0, and the team is 1-3 when shooting under that mark. The win over Fullerton was the first when under .500.
• In addition, Hornet opponents are 3-0 when shooting better than .500, and 0-5 when Sacramento State holds them to .500 or lower.
• The Hornets are 5-0 when leading at halftime, and 0-3 when trailing at the break.
• The Hornets are 4-0 when leading at both the 10 and 5 minutes marks of the 2nd half.
• The Hornets are 4-0 when scoring at least 70 points, and 1-3 when under that mark.
• Sacramento State is 4-0 when tying or holding an advantage over the opposition in the rebounding department.
• The Hornets are 5-0 when holding the opposition to 69 points or less.
• The Hornets have played just one game decided by less than nine points (a 70-69 victory at UC Riverside).

PROFICIENT FROM THE FIELD

• Sacramento State is shooting .481 from the field, which is the fourth best mark in the Big Sky and tied for the 42nd best in the nation.
• The Hornets have already shot better than .545 on four occasions and are 5-0 when connecting at .472 or better from the field.
• Four of the Hornets' top eight scorers are shooting better than .540, comprised of Dreon Barlett (.688), Alex Tiffin (.567), Mikh McKinney (.544) and Nick Hornsby (.543).

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 .292 this season, the third best mark in the Big Sky and among top 50 in the nation.
• In six of the team's eight games, the opposition has shot .333 or below 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 seven 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 5-2 thus far.
• That fivesome has been together for just over 88 minutes of floor time this year, and has combined to outscore the opposition by 33 points during that time.

TURNOVER PROBLEMS FIXED?

• After committing double figures in turnovers in each of the team's first seven games, Sacramento State committed a season-low nine against Cal State Fullerton.
• Still, the Hornets have committed 116 miscues this year, or 14.5 per game, which ranks among the bottom four teams in the Big Sky.
• The Hornets have committed at least 13 turnovers in all but two game.
• Opponents are averaging 15.0 points per game off Hornet turnovers.
• 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 25-7 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 22.3 ppg.
• Dating back to last season, the Hornets have won five straight and 12 of the last 13 games inside the friendly confines.

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 18 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 Boyd.
• Garrity's 161 3-pointers made are the sixth best mark in school history, and his .424 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 12.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Forty-six of his 75 field goal attempts have come from beyond the 3-point arc.

McKINNEY CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS

• Despite being in his third year with the program, senior guard Mikh McKinney is now just 29 points shy of becoming the 13th player in school history to score 1,000 points.
• A unanimous first team all-Big Sky and second team all-district choice last year.
• This season, he has a well-rounded stat line of 16.6 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game while shooting .544 from the field, .364 from the 3-point line and .815 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 eight players in the Big Sky in seven different statistical categories.
• That includes first in steals with 3.0 per game, a mark which ranks fifth in the nation.
• Currently sixth in the conference in scoring, McKinney has scored over 20 points in three of the seven games he has played, including 21 vs. Cal State Fullerton on Thursday.

THE UNDERRATED DEMPS

• Junior swingman Cody Demps can guard four positions, and can also play four positions on the floor offensively. Often times, he guards the opponent's top scorer.
• Demps has started 38 straight games dating back to last year, and is currently averaging 8.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals on .447 shooting this year.
• Demps leads the team in both free throws made (25) and free throws attempted (29).
• His value to the team is even more evident based on his robust 32.5 minutes per game, and his +43 in plus/minus ratio (second best on the team; McKinney +45).

NOTABLES

• After missing his first six shots of the season from the field, senior center Alex Tiffin is shooting .708 (17-24) over the last six-plus games. In addition, he has converted 13 straight free throw attempts and is shooting a team-high .933 (14-15) from the stripe.
• Junior guard Dreon Barlett has a team-high .688 field goal percentage (11-16).
• Senior forward Zach Mills, who stands at 6-foot-5, has led or tied for the team lead in rebounding four times, and leads the Hornets with 5.0 rebounds per game.
• Junior forward Nick Hornsby's free throw percentage (.455) is lower than both his field goal percentage (.543) and 3-point field goal percentage (.500).
• Over the last four games, sophomore center Eric Stuteville is shooting just .261 (6-23) from the field. He now shoots .379 from the field after connecting at .493 last season.