MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY FOR FIRST PLACE

MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY FOR FIRST PLACE

Sacramento State Game Notes - pdf
Eastern Washington Game Notes
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Coming off a nail biting 79-76 home win against Idaho on Thursday, Sacramento State (10-6, 4-1) will host Eastern Washington (13-4, 4-0) on Saturday at 7:05 p.m.
• The winner of Saturday night's game will sit all alone in first place in the 12-team Big Sky, and 12 league games remain on the schedule after Thursday's contest.
• The Hornets have won five of their last six games while Eastern Washington will bring a five-game winning streak into Saturday's contest.
• Sacramento State's 10-6 record is its best after 16 games since the 2005-06 squad had an 11-5 record, and the 4-1 league mark matches its best start in Big Sky play.
• Should the Hornets win on Saturday, the potential 5-1 league record would be its best after six games since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97.
• A win on Saturday would also allow Sacramento State to move into first place in the Big Sky standings for the first time ever this far into the season.
• Saturday night will also feature a matchup of two of the top players in the Big Sky, if not THE top two players. The Hornets feature senior Mikh McKinney, who is third in conference in scoring at 17.9 ppg and ranks among the league's top 10 players in seven categories. Eastern Washington will counter with junior guard Tyler Harvey, who leads the nation with an average of 23.4 ppg on .491 shooting (78-159) from the 3-point line.
• McKinney scored 27 second-half points in leading the Hornets to the win over Idaho.
• Sacramento State is 7-1 at home this year, and has won 11 of its last 13 games against Big Sky competition at home dating back to last season.
• Eastern Washington is 5-4 on the road this year, including 2-0 in Big Sky road games. The Eagles are the only team in the Big Sky with a road record above the .500 mark.
• The top four teams in the Big Sky are Eastern Washington (4-0), Sacramento State (4-1), Northern Colorado (3-1) and Montana (3-1).
• During the Eagles' current five-game winning streak, all five wins have come by eight points or less. Three of the Hornets' last five wins have come by five points or less.
• In a series which dates back to 1994, the Hornets are 13-27 all-time against Eastern Washington. The Hornets have won four of the last five meetings in the series.
• The Hornets are 10-10 at home against the Eagles, and have won four of the last five meetings when the two teams play in Sacramento.
• The two teams split their season series last year with each team winning on its home floor. Three Hornets averaged double-figure points against the Eagles last season, comprised of Dylan Garrity (14.0 ppg), Zach Mills (13.5 ppg) and McKinney (12.0 ppg).

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 scored 27 of his career-high tying 32 points in the second half, and the Hornets closed the game on a 23-12 run over the final 8:21 to defeat Idaho, 79-76.
• Among the highlights of the run included a 3-pointer from McKinney at the 4:51 mark to draw the Hornets within one at 68-67, followed 24 seconds later by a 3-point play from Cody Demps to give the Hornets their first lead since the 7:33 mark of the first half.
• The Hornets erased a 41-33 halftime deficit and led for just 12:50 of the game.
• Idaho missed its final three shots of the evening, all 3-point attempts, including a desperation 3-ball at the buzzer by Connor Hill.
• Three Hornets scored in double figures, including Cody Demps (career-high tying 17 points) and Dylan Garrity (13 points).

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State currently ranks among the top 35 teams in the nation in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage.
• The Hornets are 27th in field goal percentage (.483), 21st in 3-point field goal percentage (.396) and 34th in free throw percentage (.735).
• In addition, in conference play, the Hornets are the top team in the league in field goal percentage (.505) and 3-point field goal percentage (.447).
• 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 five scorers in league play, all five are shooting better than .490 from the field, including Cody Demps (.657), Zach Mills (.541), Mikh McKinney (.530), Eric Stuteville (.515) and Dylan Garrity (.491).

ENJOYING THE HOME FLOOR

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 28-8 at the Nest. That includes a 7-1 home mark this season, 11-3 last year, and 10-4 inside the friendly confines in 2012-13.
• The Hornets have won 11 of their last 13 home games against Big Sky teams, including a school-record seven-game home winning streak against Big Sky teams last year.
• This season, the Hornets are winning their home games by an average of 13.4 points.
• Overall, Sacramento State has won 15 of its last 17 home games.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES

• The Hornets are 3-0 in games decided by three points or less, 4-1 in games decided by five points or less, and 5-1 in games decided by single digits.
• Of Sacramento State's four conference victories, three have come by five points or less, including Northern Arizona (78-73), North Dakota (63-61) and Idaho (79-76).
• The team's lone loss among the single digit outcomes came at home against a Portland team (80-75) that currently has an 11-7 record.
• Of Eastern Washington's four conference wins, all four have by eight points or less.

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 at least 4.9 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 14 of 16 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 10-4 record this year.

WHEN THE HORNETS CONNECT FROM DISTANCE, THEY WIN

• The Hornets are 8-1 when shooting at least 40 percent from the 3-point line.
• The only loss came at UC Irvine when the Hornets connected on .467 from distance.
• In each of the team's last five wins, Sacramento State has shot at least .417 from the 3-point line, including a .692 (9-13) mark against Northern Arizona.
• Sacramento State is shooting .420 from the 3-point stripe at home, including five different home games where the team connected on at least 40 percent.

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.

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 1,181 points. He is 17 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 a bucket in the second half against Portland. McKinney's 1,123 points are the 11th most in school history, just 27 points shy of 10th place.
• 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 OVER THE LAST SIX GAMES

• Over the last six games, senior guard Dylan Garrity has scored in double figures in all six contests, including three games with at least 24 points.
• During that six-game stretch, he is shooting .545 (36-66) from the field, .524 (22-42) from the 3-point line and .862 (25-29) from the free throw line.
• Garrity is now 20th in the nation in 3-point percentage (.450) 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 14.7 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 489 assists. He needs 12 assists to claim the No. 1 spot in Hornet history.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A HUGE YEAR

• Including his game winner at North Dakota and 27-point second half against Idaho, senior guard and team co-captain Mikh McKinney has been incredible this season.
• He is averaging 17.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.7 steals per game while shooting .537 (102-190) from the field and .808 (42-52) from the free throw line.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.537), which is easily the best mark among all guards in the Big Sky.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top 10 players in seven categories, including first in steals, second in minutes (35.3), third in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.0), fourth in assists, eighth in field goal percentage and 10th in free throw percentage.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 13 straight games, and in 14 of the 15 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 59 career games, including his career-high tying 32 points on Thursday night against Idaho.
• His average of 2.7 steals per game is the sixth best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 74 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

DEMPS PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL IN CONFERENCE PLAY

• After scoring in double figures in four of the team's 11 non-conference games, junior swingman Cody Demps has dropped in at least 13 points in four of five Big Sky games.
• Including his career-high tying 17 points vs. Idaho, Demps is averaging 12.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and a 4.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• He is also shooting .657 (23-35) from the field in league play, a ridiculously robust mark for a player who primarily plays on the perimeter. In fact, that is the second best mark in the Big Sky, as his assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Amazingly, Demps, who at times will play the point, has turned the ball over just four times in Big Sky play, or once ever 38.8 minutes of playing time.
• He has shot at least 50 percent from the field in all five league games.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Sophomore Nick Hornsby is averaging a team-high 7.0 rebounds per game vs. Big Sky opposition, tied for the fourth best mark in the league.
• Despite combining for just 11 points in the last two games, senior Zach Mills (10.2 ppg)  is one of four Hornets averaging double-figure points in conference play.
• 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 Cody Demps (+66), Mikh McKinney (+61), Dylan Garrity (+58), Mills (+30) and Alex Tiffin (+13).