MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY VS. LEAGUE NEWCOMER IDAHO AT 7 PM

MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY VS. LEAGUE NEWCOMER IDAHO AT 7 PM

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Currently in a tie for second place in the Big Sky standings, Sacramento State (9-6, 3-1) hosts league newcomer Idaho (7-7, 2-1) on Thursday at the Nest. Tip is 7:05 p.m.
• Prior to Saturday's 84-73 loss at Northern Colorado, Sacramento State won its first three Big Sky games for just the second time since joining the conference in 1996-97.
• The 9-6 record is the best after 15 games since the 2005-06 squad was 10-5. In addition, the 3-1 Big Sky record is the second best after four games since joining the league (the 2005-06 squad began the year 4-0).
• Sacramento State is 6-1 at home this year, and has outscored the opposition by nearly 15 points per contest (78.9-64.0) inside the friendly confines. The Hornets are 10-2 in their last 12 home games against Big Sky teams dating back to last season.
• A win on Thursday would match the Hornets' best Big Sky record after five games (the 2005-06 squad was 4-1).
• The Hornets have a pair of four-game winning streaks this year, which matches the second longest in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• The Hornets are one of three teams tied for second in the Big Sky standings (Montana, Northern Colorado), and trail first-place Eastern Washington (3-0) by half a game.
• The Hornets rank among the nation's top 30 teams in field goal percentage (24th, .484), 3-point percentage (28th, .393) and free throw percentage (13th, .751).
• Idaho, which became the Big Sky's 12th team over the summer, played its first three Big Sky games at home. The Vandals are 1-4 on the road with the lone win coming at Washington State (77-71) on Dec. 3.
• In a series which dates back to the 1968-69 season, Idaho is 14-1 all-time against Sacramento State, including 13 straight wins in the series. The Hornets have never defeated the Vandals in Sacramento (0-6).
• The winning percentage against Idaho (.067) is the Hornets' worst against any opponent they have played at least eight times.
• The Hornets' lone win in the series came on Dec. 8, 1972, a 77-65 victory in Moscow.
• In the teams' last meeting, Idaho prevailed, 75-61, in Moscow on Nov. 24, 2009.
• The teams' last matchup in Sacramento took place on Dec. 1, 2008 (72-58 Idaho win).
• The 13-game losing streak is the third longest against any opponent in Sacramento State history (22-game streak vs. Fresno State; 15-game streak vs. Montana).

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

• Northern Colorado used a 10-2 run spanning the final two minutes to break open a close game and eventually defeat Sacramento State, 84-73, on Saturday in Greeley.
• After the Hornets' Zach Mills buried a 3-pointer to bring the Hornets within, 74-71, with 2:18 remaining, the Bears scored on five of their final six possessions.
• The contest featured 19 lead changes, eight ties, and neither team led by more than six points the first 31 minutes of the contest.
• Northern Colorado's shooting percentages of .640 (32-50) overall and .600 (6-10) from the 3-point line were easily the highest allowed by the Hornets this season.
• Moreover, the Bears shot a robust .818 (18-22) from the field in a second half that saw Northern Colorado outscore Sacramento State, 48-34.
Dylan Garrity finished with a team-high 24 points, including six 3-pointers. Mikh McKinney and Cody Demps both added 14 points.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of three teams in the country to rank among the top 30 squads in the nation in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage.
• The Hornets rank 24th in field goal percentage (.484), 28th in 3-point field goal percentage (.393) and 13th in free throw percentage (.751). Lafayette and Davidson are the other teams to rank among the top 30 in all three categories.
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on nine occasions this year, and are 8-1 in those games.
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, five are shooting at least .480 from the field, comprised of Dreon Barlett (.563), Mikh McKinney (.526), Zach Mills (.506), Alex Tiffin (.492) and Dylan Garrity (.480).

ENJOYING THE HOME FLOOR

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 27-8 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 the 1988-89 squad also posted 11 wins.
• The Hornets are 10-2 against Big Sky foes at home dating back to 2013-14, including a school-record seven-game home winning streak against Big Sky teams last year.
• This season, the Hornets are 6-1 at home and outscoring the opposition by an average of 14.9 points per contest (78.9-64.0).
• Dating back to last season, the Hornets have won 14 of their last 16 games inside the friendly confines.  

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. Seven of the eight are averaging over 5.0 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 13 of 15 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 9-4 record this year.

FREE THROW SHOOTING PROWESS

• Sacramento State's free throw percentage of .751 is the 13th best mark in the nation.
• The Hornets have shot at least .769 in five straight, and eight of the last nine games.
• Three of the top nine Big Sky players in free throw percentage are Hornets, comprised of Dylan Garrity (T-5th, .841), Cody Demps (7th, .840) and Mikh McKinney (9th, .830).
• The best mark in program history is .737, set during the 1975-76 season.

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.

IN CONFERENCE PLAY

• Sacramento State's 3-1 record in Big Sky play is the program's second best mark since joining the league in 1996. The 2005-06 squad began the year 4-0.
• Offensively, in conference play, Sacramento State ranks among the top two teams in  the Big Sky in field goal percentage (1st, .518) and assists (16.8 apg), and second in free throw percentage (.793), 3-point percentage (.448) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.9).
• However, the Hornets rank last in the league in defensive field goal percentage (.507).
• The Hornets are outrebounding conference opponents, 30.8-26.5.

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 eighth in Hornet history with 1,168 points. He is 30 points shy of moving past Damond Edwards into 7th 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 1,091 points are the 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

• Over the last five games, senior guard Dylan Garrity has been on fire. Including three games with at least 24 points, Garrity is averaging 21.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
• Also during the five-game stretch, he is shooting .579 (33-57) from the field, .556 (20-36) from the 3-point line and .909 (20-22) from the free throw line.
• Garrity is now 15th 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 14.8 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 485 assists. He needs 16 assists to claim the No. 1 spot in Hornet history.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A BIG SEASON

• Including his game winner at North Dakota, senior Mikh McKinney has been very good this season, averaging 16.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game while shooting .526 (90-171) 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 (.526), 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 minutes (34.8), fourth in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.3), fifth in scoring, seventh in field goal percentage and ninth in free throw percentage.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 12 straight games, and in 13 of the 14 games he's appeared. Has scored in double figures in 58 career games.
• His average of 2.9 steals per game is the fourth best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 73 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

MILLS IMPRESSIVE IN BIG SKY PLAY

• Senior Zach Mills is putting up very nice numbers in league play, averaging 12.0 points and 3.5 rebounds on .559 (19-34) from the field and .667 (8-12) from the 3-point line.
• He had scored at least 11 points in each of the first three league games until he was limited to eight points at Northern Colorado.
• Mills has buried at least one 3-pointer and shot at least 50 percent from beyond the 3-point line in all four league games.

DEMPS SHOOTING THE LIGHTS OUT IN LEAGUE

• Junior swingman Cody Demps is shooting a robust .630 in Big Sky play, a mark which ranks second in the league. He has shot at least .500 from the field in all four games.
• Also, in league play, he is averaging 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds, and has scored at least 13 points in three of the four games thus far.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Dylan Garrity (55 straight) and Cody Demps (45 straight) both have long streaks of consecutive starts. Garrity's streak dates back to the 2012-13 season. McKinney has started all 73 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 (+58), McKinney (+56), Garrity (+54), Zach Mills (+33) and Alex Tiffin (+17).