MEN'S HOOPS LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK THURSDAY AT NORTH DAKOTA

MEN'S HOOPS LOOKS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK THURSDAY AT NORTH DAKOTA

Sacramento State Game Notes (29 pages) - pdf
North Dakota Game Notes - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Currently riding a three-game winning streak, Sacramento State (8-5, 2-0) begins its first Big Sky road trip on Thursday at North Dakota (5-8, 1-1). Tip is 5:05 p.m. PST, and the game is being televised live on Fox Sports North Plus (DirecTV channel 668-2).
• The Hornets opened conference play last week with a pair of home wins over Northern Arizona (78-73) and Southern Utah (90-75).
• Sacramento State is currently 2-0 in the Big Sky for just the second time since joining the league prior to the 1996-97 season (the 2005-06 squad also accomplished the feat).
• In addition, the Hornets' 8-5 overall record is the program's best mark after 13 games since the 2005-06 squad had the same record.
• The 2005-06 won its next game as well and began 9-5 and 3-0 in the Big Sky.
• Sacramento State is currently just one of three teams in the nation (Lafayette, Davidson) to rank among the country's top 25 teams in field goal percentage (.487, 22nd), 3-point field goal percentage (.400, 18th) and free throw percentage (.747, 17th).
• The Hornets have improved their conference record every season under head coach Brian Katz, including a 10-10 record last year in league play and the program's first Big Sky Tournament appearance since the 2005-06 season.
• With a win on Thursday, the Hornets would match their longest winning streak of the season (4 games). The team won four straight from Nov. 17-Dec. 1.
• The Hornets are 2-4 away from home this year, and snapped a three-game road losing streak in their last road game, a convincing 74-49 victory at Utah Valley on Dec. 27.
• North Dakota has played just two home games all season (2-0), and Thursday will mark the first Div. I opponent UND has faced this season at the Sioux Center.
• In a series which dates back to 2010, North Dakota owns a 4-3 all-time record against the Hornets. Last year, each team won on its home floor in the regular season before UND claimed a 79-76 win over the Hornets in Ogden during the first round of the Big Sky Tournament (box scores on pgs. 11-13).
• None of the seven meetings between the two teams have been decided by more than 11 points, and the average margin of victory in the seven games is just 6.4 points.
• There have been zero road wins in the series, including UND going 3-0 on its home floor and 1-0 at a neutral site, and the Hornets going 3-0 at home.
• In the three games against North Dakota last season, guards Mikh McKinney (17.3) and Dylan Garrity (13.7) combined to average 31 points per contest.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Every game the rest of the season, home or away, will be streamed live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com. Every home game will be streamed in HD. Fans will need to create an account before watching for the first time.
• Every game this season 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 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

• Five Hornets scored in double figures, led by Mikh McKinney's game-high 21 points, as Sacramento State defeated Southern Utah, 90-75, Saturday night at the Nest.
• In a game which Sacramento State led from start to finish, the Hornets posted season highs in field goals made (38), field goals attempted (62) and assists (25).
• Despite converting on just four 3-pointers, the Hornets managed to average 1.48 points per possession, and had an incredible 25-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• The Hornets posted their most points in a first half this season (52-37 halftime lead).
• The Hornets shot .613 (38-62) from field, .500 (4-8) from 3-point line and .833 (10-12) from free throw line, including a sizeable advantage in points in the paint (54-28).
• Sacramento State opened the game on a 10-2 run and never looked back, leading by at least six points the rest of the game.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just three teams in the country to rank among the top 25 squads in the nation in field goal percentage, 3-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage.
• The Hornets rank 17th in free throw percentage (.747), 18th in 3-point percentage (.400) and 22nd in field goal percentage (.487). Lafayette and Davidson also rank among the top 25 in all three categories.
• The Hornets have already shot at least .500 in field goal percentage on eight occasions, are 7-1 in those games.
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, six are shooting at least .477 from the field, comprised of Dreon Barlett (.581), Mikh McKinney (.545), Zach Mills (.493), Nick Hornsby (.481), Dylan Garrity (.479) and Eric Stuteville (.477).   

DURING THE THREE-GAME WINNING STREAK....

• During the Hornets' current three-game winning streak, Sacramento State is averaging 80.7 points and is outscoring the opposition by 15 points per game (80.7-65.7).
• The Hornets are shooting a robust .564 (88-156) from the field, .605 (23-38) from the 3-point line and .811 (43-53) from the free throw line.
• Five different Sacramento State players are averaging double figures in points, comprised of Dylan Garrity (24.0), Mikh McKinney (15.0), Cody Demps (11.7), Eric Stuteville (10.7) and Zach Mills (10.0). All five are shooting at least .515 from the floor.
• The Hornets are averaging 18.0 assists and just 8.0 turnovers during the stretch.
• The Hornets have shot at least .510 from the field, .500 from the 3-point line and .773 from the free throw line in all three games.
• Sacramento State is averaging 34.7 points per game in the paint during the spurt.  

EIGHT-MAN ROTATION

• Head coach Brian Katz has essentially used an eight-man rotation a good portion of the season, featuring guards Mikh McKinney, Dylan Garrity, Cody Demps and Dreon Barlett, forwards Nick Hornsby, Zach Mills and Alex Tiffin, and center Eric Stuteville.
• Each of those eight players are fully ingrained into Katz's rotation and make up the team's top eight scorers. Each is averaging at least 4.2 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 11 of 13 games thus far, consisting of Garrity and McKinney at guard, Demps at swingman, Hornsby at forward, and Stuteville at center. That lineup has produced an 8-3 record this year.

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 .319 this season, the second best mark among the 12 Big Sky teams.
• In eight of the team's 13 games, the opposition has shot .333 or worse from deep.

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.

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.

ON THE ROAD

• The Hornets are 2-4 on the road this season with wins at UC Riverside (70-69) and Utah Valley (74-49), sandwiched around a three-game losing streak.
• On the road, Sacramento State is averaging just 62.0 points, shooting .410 from the field and is being outrebounded by 6.2 boards per game.
• The Hornets are averaging 10.2 assists compared to 13.5 turnovers per game.

TWO 1,000 POINT SCORERS ON THE SAME SQUAD

• 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 now 10th in Hornet history with 1,134 points. He is just 16 points shy of moving into a tie for ninth place.
• Exactly 10 days later, senior guard Mikh McKinney became the 13th player to score 1,000 points with his layup at the 4:58 mark of the second half against Portland. McKinney's 1,064 points are tied for 12th place, just six points shy of moving into a tie for 11th.
• Together, they became just the sixth and seventh players to reach 1,000 points during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), joining John Dickson, Loren Leath, Damond Edwards, Alex Bausley and Michael Boyd.

GARRITY ON AN ABSOLUTE TEAR

• Over the last three games, senior guard Dylan Garrity has been on fire. Including a career-high 28 points at Utah Valley, 26 vs. Northern Arizona and 18 against Southern Utah, Garrity is averaging 24.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists.
• During the three-game stretch, he is shooting .667 (20-30) from the field, .667 (12-18) from the 3-point line and .909 (20-22) from the free throw line.
• Garrity is now fourth in the Big Sky and 21st in the nation with a .461 3-point field goal percentage. He has buried at least one 3-pointer in every game (at least two 3-pointers in all but two games), and 63 percent of his field goal attempts have come from distance.
• He has raised his scoring average every year of his career, from 8.1 ppg as a freshman, to 11.6 ppg, 13.2 ppg, and currently 14.5 ppg this year (10th in the Big Sky).
• Garrity can also handle the rock, as he is second in program history and ninth in Big Sky history with 481 assists. He needs 20 assists to claim the No. 1 spot in Hornet history.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A MONSTER SEASON

• Senior Mikh McKinney has been incredible this season, averaging 17.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game while shooting .545 (79-145) from the field and .850 (34-40) from the free throw line.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.545), easily the best mark among all guards in the Big Sky.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top six players in seven categories, including first in steals, third in assists, scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.5), fourth in minutes (34.4), fifth in free throw percentage and sixth in field goal percentage.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 10 straight games, and in 11 of the 12 games he's appeared. Has scored in double figures in 56 career games.
• His average of 2.8 steals per game is the sixth best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 71 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Either Dylan Garrity (four times) or Mikh McKinney (four times) has led the Hornets in scoring in each of the last eight games.
• The Hornets possess three of the top eight free throw shooters in the Big Sky, including Mikh McKinney (5th, .850), Dylan Garrity (7th, .841) and Cody Demps (8th, .837).
• Garrity (53 straight) and Demps (43 straight) both have long streaks of consecutive starts. Garrity's streak dates back to the 2012-13 season. McKinney has started all 71 games he's appeared, but missed this year's season opener at Gonzaga.
• The Hornets' top five players in terms of plus/minus ratio, a stat used to determine how a team does when a particular player is on the floor, are Demps (+70), McKinney (+66), Garrity (+53), Zach Mills (+46) and Alex Tiffin (+22).
• After scoring seven points or less in eight straight games, Mills is averaging 11.5 points on .563 shooting from the field in two Big Sky games.
• Twenty of sophomore Nick Hornsby's 64 points this season came in one game - against Utah Valley on Dec. 1 when he shot 8-for-8 from the field.
• In the 11 games he comes off the bench, Tiffin is shooting .511 (23-45) from the field.
• Over the last five games, center Eric Stuteville is averaging 10.2 points on .667 shooting (20-30). During the first eight games, he averaged 6.3 points on .379 shooting.
• The Hornets' average of 14.2 assists per game is easily the best mark in the Big Sky.
• Demps is averaging 13.5 points and 4.5 rebounds on .688 (11-16) shooting from the field in Big Sky play. In non-conference play, he averaged 7.6 points on .391 shooting.