GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Senior guard Mikh McKinney buried a tough floater with 2.6 seconds remaining to deliver Sacramento State a 63-61 road win at North Dakota in a Big Sky Conference matchup Thursday evening at the Sioux Center.
The victory improved Sacramento State's record to 9-5 overall and 3-0 in the Big Sky, and both those marks are the best for the program since the 2005-06 season. In addition, the Hornets have now won four straight games, beat North Dakota in Grand Forks for the first time in school history, and are 3-0 in conference for just the second time since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97. Sacramento State had been 0-3 when playing on North Dakota's home floor prior to tonight's win.
After trailing, 58-54, with a little under four minutes to play, the Hornets were able to close on a 9-3 run spanning the game's final 3:25. Junior Cody Demps connected on field goals to tie the game at 59-59 (2:08 left) and 61-61 (1:08 left). After a tough runner from Demps tied the score at 61-61, North Dakota got the ball inside to Jaron Nash on its next possession, but his heavily contested shot fell off the mark and the Hornets' Zach Mills grabbed the rebound with 33 seconds to play.
Sacramento State then dribbled up the court and head coach Brian Katz eventually called a timeout with 22 seconds remaining. After the timeout, McKinney took the inbounds pass, and waited a bit before he made his move with about six seconds remaining. The third-year senior and team co-captain dribbled to the right side of the lane, used a pump fake to draw one defender in the air, ducked in and softly threw up a seven-footer over outstretched UND hands that hit high off the backboard and gently fell in the bucket.
North Dakota immediately inbounded the ball, and Terrel de Rouen's desperation halfcourt heave drew backboard, but no iron as time expired.
In a game which featured nine ties and six lead changes, neither team led by more than eight points the entire way. In fact, North Dakota (5-9, 1-2) jumped out to a 10-2 lead before the Hornets outscored UND, 32-20, over the final 12:24 of the half to take a 34-30 halftime lead. No team led by more than five points the entire second half, as North Dakota's largest advantage of the second half came at 58-54 after Carson Shanks buried a pair of free throws.
Of the Hornets' final nine points, eight were scored by either McKinney (4) or Demps (4). In fact, Sacramento State scored on five of its final six possessions, which included a free throw from Nick Hornsby at the 2:52 mark.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting .500 (24-48) from the floor, .417 (5-12) from the 3-point line and .769 (10-13) from the free throw line. In all four games during the winning streak, Sacramento State has shot at least .500 from the field, .410 from the 3-point line and .765 from the free throw line. In addition, the Hornets, who entered the game ranked 22nd in the nation in field goal percentage, bumped their season mark to a robust .488. Sacramento State shot exactly 50 percent from the floor in both halves.
"We didn't play great tonight, but our guys really had a competitive mentality and found a way to win," Katz said. "Early in the game, we couldn't score (two points in the first 7:36), but we really found a way to ramp it up offensively at the midway point of the first half (61 points over the final 32:24). Our guys know their roles, and we are really starting to execute and become more efficient."
Leading the way for the Hornets was Mills, who scored a game and season-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 3-of-4 from the 3-point line. The second-year senior also grabbed five rebounds and posted season highs in assists (3) and steals (3) without a turnover in a career-high tying 35 minutes. Apparently, Mills likes the cold of Grand Forks where tonight's game-time temperature was 2 degrees outside the arena. Last season, Mills scored a career-high 20 points at North Dakota.
Mills was one of four Hornets in double figures, including McKinney (13 points, five assists and three steals in 39 minutes), senior Alex Tiffin (12 points, five rebounds) and senior Dylan Garrity (10 points, three assists in 35 minutes). All four of the Hornets in double figures make up the team's senior class. Mills and Tiffin led a bench effort that outscored North Dakota's reserves by a wide margin (29-19). Hornsby added seven points and team-high seven rebounds, and Demps finished with four points, five rebounds and three assists. All four of Demps' points came during the game's final 2:08.
Sacramento State also held a 31-22 advantage in the rebounding department, and outscored UND in second chance points, 10-2. In fact, North Dakota had just three offensive rebounds the entire evening.
For UND, Shanks led the way with 14 points, while de Rouen had 11 points and four steals, and Nash added 11 points and nine rebounds. North Dakota finished the game shooting .511 (24-47) from the field, .200 (2-10) from the 3-point line and .733 (11-15) from the free throw line.
Sacramento State will look to improve to 4-0 in the Big Sky on Saturday when the team travels to Greeley to take on Northern Colorado at 6 p.m. PST.
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March 26, 2015 McKINNEY NAMED A FINALIST FOR MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
March 17, 2015 FIRST ROUND OF CIT - MEN'S HOOPS AT PORTLAND ON WEDNESDAY
March 10, 2015 BRIAN KATZ NAMED THE BIG SKY CONFERENCE CO-COACH OF THE YEAR
February 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS ONE WIN AWAY FROM LEAGUE TITLE AFTER WIN AT PORTLAND STATE
February 24, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS FINAL ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE
February 21, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS BACK IN 1ST PLACE AFTER BEATING NORTH DAKOTA ON SENIOR NIGHT
February 20, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS FINAL REGULAR SEASON HOME GAME SAT. NIGHT AT 7 PM
February 19, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 17-8 WITH A 66-59 VICTORY OVER NORTHERN COLO.
February 17, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN COLORADO THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
February 14, 2015 LATE RUN SPARKS IDAHO TO 69-58 VICTORY OVER MEN’S BASKETBALL
February 13, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR SATURDAY EVENING MATCHUP
February 12, 2015 LATE RUN FALLS JUST SHORT IN MEN’S HOOPS’ 64-61 LOSS AT EASTERN WASH.
February 10, 2015 FIRST PLACE ON THE LINE IN MEN'S HOOPS GAME THURS. AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 7, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS WINS 7TH STRAIGHT, DOWNS PORTLAND STATE, 64-60
February 4, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS POSTS HIGHEST TERM GPA IN SCHOOL HISTORY
February 2, 2015 McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR THE 3RD STRAIGHT WEEK
January 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. MONTANA STATE
January 23, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS FOURTH STRAIGHT WIN SATURDAY AT WEBER STATE
January 21, 2015 McKINNEY SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST MID-MAJOR PLAYERS IN THE NATION
January 21, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN ACTION THURSDAY NIGHT AT IDAHO STATE
January 19, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS RANKED IN THE TOP 25 MID-MAJOR POLL FOR FIRST TIME EVER
January 19, 2015 McKINNEY RECEIVES SCHOOL-RECORD 4TH BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
January 17, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS TAKES OVER FIRST PLACE, BEATS EASTERN WASHINGTON 90-77
January 16, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY FOR FIRST PLACE
January 13, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY VS. LEAGUE NEWCOMER IDAHO AT 7 PM
January 10, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S WINNING STREAK ENDS IN LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
January 2, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS SOUTHERN UTAH ON SATURDAY AT 7 P.M.
December 30, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY PLAY AT HOME THURSDAY VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA
December 29, 2014 GARRITY NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 27, 2014 GARRITY'S CAREER-HIGH 28 POINTS LEADS MEN'S HOOPS TO 74-49 ROAD WIN
December 24, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME SATURDAY AT UTAH VALLEY
December 21, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL CAN’T FIND THE RANGE IN ROAD LOSS AT SEATTLE
December 20, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO SEATTLE FOR SUNDAY EVENING MATCHUP
December 15, 2014 McKINNEY RECEIVES THIRD CAREER BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD
December 14, 2014 BIG NIGHT FOR McKINNEY, BUT MEN’S HOOPS LOSES THRILLER TO PORTLAND
December 12, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS PORTLAND ON SUNDAY AT 5 P.M.
December 11, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS REMAINS PERFECT AT HOME WITH A 73-59 WIN OVER CS FULLERTON
December 10, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS CAL STATE FULLERTON THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM
December 6, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS CONCLUDES ROAD TRIP WITH 74-62 LOSS AT UC IRVINE
December 5, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO UC IRVINE FOR SATURDAY EVENING GAME
December 3, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS LOOKS FOR 5TH STRAIGHT WIN THURSDAY AT ABILENE CHRISTIAN
December 1, 2014 HORNSBY SCORES A CAREER-HIGH 20 AS MEN’S HOOPS WINS FOURTH STRAIGHT
November 30, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UTAH VALLEY ON MONDAY; GARRITY NEARS MILESTONE
November 25, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 3-1 WITH 97-63 VICTORY OVER BRISTOL
November 24, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS RESUMES HOMESTAND TUESDAY NIGHT VS. BRISTOL
November 19, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL POSTS A 74-42 VICTORY OVER SIMPSON IN HOME OPENER
November 18, 2014 SACRAMENTO STATE TO HOST 2017 NCAA MEN’S TOURNEY 1ST AND 2ND ROUNDS
November 17, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO UC RIVERSIDE FOR MONDAY EVENING GAME
November 17, 2014 McKINNEY LEADS MEN’S HOOPS TO FIRST-EVER ROAD WIN AT UC RIVERSIDE
November 14, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS IN SEASON OPENER AT #13 GONZAGA
November 12, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS GUARD JEFF WU AND FORWARD JOSHUA PATTON
November 10, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS SEASON FRIDAY NIGHT AT #13 GONZAGA
October 23, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS PICKED FOURTH IN BIG SKY COACHES AND MEDIA POLLS
September 30, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS SEASON COMING FAST, FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
September 5, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS POSTS HIGHEST TERM GRADE POINT AVERAGE IN SCHOOL HISTORY
August 15, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL RELEASES ITS 2014-15 SCHEDULE