MEN'S HOOPS LOOKS FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN SATURDAY AT NORTHERN COLORADO

MEN'S HOOPS LOOKS FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN SATURDAY AT NORTHERN COLORADO

Sacramento State Game Notes (28 pages) - pdf
Big Sky Conference Standings

GAME PREVIEW


• Currently riding a season-high tying four-game winning streak, the Hornets (9-5, 3-0) travel to Greeley on Saturday to take on Northern Colorado (7-7, 2-1) at 6:05 p.m. PST.
• Sacramento State is coming off a thrilling 63-61 win at North Dakota on Thursday in which senior Mikh McKinney buried a floater off the glass with 2.6 seconds remaining.
• Sacramento State is currently 3-0 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' 9-5 overall record is the program's best mark after 14 games since the 2005-06 squad had the same record. That 2005-06 team was eventually 13-5 overall and 4-0 in the Big Sky at its high point of the season.
• The Hornets' four-game winning streak matches the second longest in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), done five times previously, including earlier this season.
• The longest winning streak in the Hornets' Div. I era came when the 2005-06 squad won five straight from Dec. 29, 2005 - Jan. 14, 2006.
• Sacramento State is currently all alone in first place in the Big Sky standings with its 3-0 record. Both Eastern Washington and Idaho are 2-0, and did not play Thursday night.
• Sacramento State is just one of two teams in the nation (Lafayette) to rank among the country's top 25 teams in field goal percentage (.488, 19th), 3-point field goal percentage (.401, 16th) and free throw percentage (.748, 23rd).
• The Hornets, who return all five starters from a year ago, have improved their conference record every season under head coach Brian Katz, including a 10-10 record last year and the program's first Big Sky Tournament appearance since the 2005-06 season.
• The Hornets are 3-4 on the road this season, already matching their road win total from all of last year (3-12). That includes two straight road victories.
• Should the Hornets win Saturday, the three-game road winning streak would be the longest single-season road streak in the program's Div. I era, and the longest since the 1987-88 squad won four straight. The Hornets did win three straight road games spanning the end of the 2011-12 season and first two games of the 2012-13 season.
• Northern Colorado has won two straight, including a road win on Saturday at Montana State, followed by Thursday's 90-85 home victory against Portland State.
• The Bears are 6-1 at home, with the only loss coming to UC Davis (73-63) on Dec. 22.
• In a series which dates back to the 2006-07 season (the year Northern Colorado joined the Big Sky), the Hornets are 5-11 all-time against the Bears.
• That includes a 2-6 record when playing in Greeley. Overall, the Hornets have won three of the last five meetings between the two teams.

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

• Mikh McKinney buried a seven-foot floater with 2.6 seconds remaining to lift the Hornets to a 63-61 win at North Dakota on Thursday night.
• The Hornets used a 9-3 run spanning the game's final 3:25 to pull out the victory.
• The game featured nine ties, six lead changes, and neither team led by more than eight points. That included no larger than a five-point lead the entire second half.
• The Hornets shot .500 from the field, .417 from the 3-point line and .769 from the free throw line. They also held a 10-2 advantage in second chance points.
• Four Hornets scored in double figures, including Zach Mills (season-high 17 pts on 7-of-9 shooting), McKinney (13), Alex Tiffin (12) and Dylan Garrity (10).

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of two teams in the country to rank among the top 25 squads in the nation in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage.
• The Hornets rank 19th in field goal percentage (.488), 16th in 3-point field goal percentage (.401) and 23rd in free throw percentage (.748). Lafayette is the other team to rank among the top 25 in all three categories.
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 in field goal percentage on nine occasions, and are 8-1 in those games.
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, six are shooting at least .475 from the field, comprised of Dreon Barlett (.581), Mikh McKinney (.532), Zach Mills (.525), Alex Tiffin (.484), Dylan Garrity (.477) and Nick Hornsby (.475).  

DURING THE FOUR-GAME WINNING STREAK....

• During the Hornets' current four-game winning streak, Sacramento State is averaging 76.2 points and is outscoring the opposition by 11.7 points per game (76.2-64.5).
• The Hornets are shooting a robust .549 (112-204) from the field, .560 (28-50) from the 3-point line and .803 (53-66) from the free throw line.
• Five different Sacramento State players are averaging at least 8.0 points, comprised of Dylan Garrity (20.5), Mikh McKinney (14.5), Zach Mills (11.8), Cody Demps (9.8) and Eric Stuteville (8.0). Four of the five are shooting above 58 percent from the field.
• The Hornets are averaging 17.3 assists and just 9.3 turnovers during the stretch.
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field, .410 from the 3-point line and .770 from the free throw line in all four games.
• Four players are at least a +44 in plus/minus ratio during the four games, including Mills (+55), Garrity (+50), McKinney (+45) and Demps (+44).  

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 3.9 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 12 of 14 games thus far, consisting of Garrity and McKinney at guard, Demps at swingman, Hornsby at forward, and Stuteville at center. That lineup has produced a 9-3 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 .315 this season, the second best mark among the 12 Big Sky teams.
• In nine of the team's 14 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.

THREE-DOT TRENDS

Sacramento State is 8-1 when scoring the game's first point…the Hornets are 9-0 when leading at the half…8-0 when leading with 10 minutes to play, and 7-0 when leading with five minutes to play…8-1 when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor…7-0 when the opponent shoots under 50 percent…6-0 when outrebounding the opponent…7-0 when shooting at least 40 percent from the 3-point line.

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 1,144 points. He is just six 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 1,077 points are now 11th most in school history.
• 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

• During the four-game winning streak, senior guard Dylan Garrity has been on fire. Including a career-high 28 points at Utah Valley and 26 vs. Northern Arizona, Garrity is averaging 20.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game
• During the four-game stretch, he is shooting .615 (24-39) from the field, .609 (14-23) from the 3-point line and .909 (20-22) from the free throw line.
• Garrity is now 22nd in the nation in 3-point percentage among players who have made at least 2.5 treys per game. He has buried at least one 3-pointer in every game  this season, and at least two 3-pointers in all but two games.
• 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 14.1 ppg this year (11th in the Big Sky).
• Garrity can also handle the rock, as he is second in program history and ninth in Big Sky history with 484 assists. He needs 17 assists to claim the No. 1 spot in Hornet history.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A MONSTER SEASON

• Including his game winner on Thursday, senior Mikh McKinney has been incredible this season, averaging 17.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game while shooting .532 (83-156) from the field and .830 (39-47) from the free throw line.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.532), the best mark among all guards in the Big Sky.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top nine players in seven categories, including first in steals, third in assists, minutes (34.8) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.3), fourth in scoring, seventh in field goal percentage and ninth in free throw percentage.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 11 straight games, and in 12 of the 13 games he's appeared. Has scored in double figures in 57 career games.
• His average of 2.8 steals per game is the sixth best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 72 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

MILLS IMPRESSIVE IN LEAGUE PLAY

• Senior Zach Mills is putting up very nice numbers in league play, averaging 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds on .640 (16-25) from the field and .750 (6-8) from the 3-point line.
• Has scored at least 11 points in all three league games after scoring in double figures twice during the first 11 games of the season.
• Has shot at least 50 percent or better from the field and from distance in all three games, including a season-high 17 points at North Dakota on Thursday night.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Mills' team-high 17 points at North Dakota snapped a string of eight straight games in which either Dylan Garrity or Mikh McKinney led the Hornets in scoring.
• Garrity (54 straight) and Cody Demps (44 straight) both have long streaks of consecutive starts. Garrity's streak dates back to the 2012-13 season. McKinney has started all 72 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 (+67), Garrity (+58), Zach Mills (+50) and Alex Tiffin (+21).
• Demps is averaging 10.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in league play while shooting a team-high .650 (13-20) from the field in the three Big Sky games.
• The Hornets' average of 14.2 assists per game is easily the best mark in the Big Sky.
• The Hornets inched above Eastern Washington for the league's highest FG% (.488).