MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN ACTION THURSDAY NIGHT AT IDAHO STATE

MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN ACTION THURSDAY NIGHT AT IDAHO STATE

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

GAME PREVIEW

• Coming off a 2-0 homestand, which included knocking off previously unbeaten Eastern Washington, the Hornets (11-6, 5-1) travel to Pocatello for a matchup at Idaho State (4-14, 1-5) on Thursday. Tip-off at Reed Gym is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. PST.
• The win over Eastern Washington (90-77) allowed Sacramento State to take over sole possession of first place in the Big Sky, the latest the team has sat atop the league standings since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97.
• The Hornets are also currently ranked 25th in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major top 25 poll, the first time in school history to receive a ranking in the poll.
• On Monday, Sacramento State was also predicted by ESPN in its website's latest Bracketology report to represent the Big Sky in the NCAA Tournament.
• The Hornets are 5-1 in the Big Sky for the first time ever.
• The team's 11-6 overall record is the Hornets' best mark since the 2005-06 season, and the second best mark after 17 games in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• Sacramento State has won six of its last seven games, and among those wins, were three victories by five points or less.
• The Hornets are 3-5 on the road this season, matching the team's road win total from all of last year (3-12). That includes a 1-1 record in Big Sky road games.
• Trailing Sacramento State in the standings are a trio of teams with 4-1 conference records, comprised of Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado and Montana.
• Senior Mikh McKinney was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Monday for the second time this year (Dec. 15)., and school-record fourth time of his career.
• The Hornets will face an Idaho State squad that lost two games on the road last week by a total of seven points. The Bengals have lost nine of their last 10 games, but six of those losses were by single digits, including 72-69 at Northern Arizona on Saturday.
• In a series which dates back to the 1951-52 season, Sacramento State is 16-27 all-time against Idaho State, including a 7-15 mark when playing in Pocatello.
• The Hornets and Bengals have split the season series each of the last four years.
• Amazingly, nine of the last 13 meetings have been decided by six points or less.
• Sacramento State has dropped three of its last four games in Pocatello with the lone victory over that span coming on Feb. 25, 2012, a 70-67 victory.
• Last season, both teams were victorious on their home floor.

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

• In a battle for first place in the Big Sky standings, Sacramento State shot a season-best .633 (31-49) from the field while dishing out a season-high tying 25 assists to defeat Eastern Washington, 90-77, on Saturday evening at the Nest.
• The Hornets shot a robust .727 (16-22) from the field in the second half while outscoring the Eagles, 49-36, in the second stanza after the game had been tied at halftime.
• Sacramento State led the final 17:47 of the game.
• The Hornets used a 20-8 run spanning eight minutes of the second half to turn a 46-45 deficit into an 11-point lead (65-54) with 10:03 remaining in the contest.
• After a pair of free throws from Tyler Harvey cut the Eagles' deficit to four points (77-73) with 3:54 to play, Sacramento State scored on six of its final seven possessions.
Cody Demps had a career-high 22 points, Mikh McKinney finished with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists, and both Dreon Barlett and Nick Hornsby had 12 points each.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State currently ranks among the top 30 teams in the nation in field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free throw percentage.
• The Hornets are 13th in the nation in both field goal percentage (.491) and 3-point field goal percentage (.403), and 28th in free throw percentage (.741).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 10 occasions this year, and are 9-1 in those games. In addition, the Hornets have shot better than .610 three times, including a Div. I program single-game record .633 (31-49) vs. Eastern Washington.
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, five are shooting at least .495 from the field.

IN CONFERENCE PLAY

• Sacramento State, which is 5-1 in the Big Sky play for the first time in school history, has scored at least 73 points in five of its six conference games thus far. That includes 90 points on a pair of occasions (against Southern Utah and Eastern Washington).
• The Hornets are averaging 78.8 points per game in conference play, and four players are averaging double figures in points against the league, including Mikh McKinney (17.5), Dylan Garrity (16.3), Cody Demps (14.0) and Zach Mills (10.0).
• The Hornets lead the league in field goal percentage (.524), 3-point percentage (.461), assists (18.0 apg), turnover margin (+1.83 pg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.9).
• Sacramento State is 4-0 at home against Big Sky opposition.

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 five 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 against Portland (80-75).
• The Hornets are 5-1 in league despite outscoring the opposition by average of just 4.5 points per contest.

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. All eight are averaging better than four points per contest.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 15 of 17 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 11-4 record this year.

WHEN THE HORNETS CONNECT FROM DISTANCE, THEY WIN

• The Hornets are 9-1 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 six 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 .432 from the 3-point stripe at home, including six different home games where the team connected on at least 40 percent. Conversely, the Hornets are shooting .376 from distance on the road.

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 1,188 points. He is 10 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 1,137 points are the 11th most in school history, just 14 points shy of moving all alone into 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 SIX ASSISTS SHY OF TYING THE SCHOOL RECORD

• Senior guard Dylan Garrity is now just six assists shy of tying the Sacramento State all-time record for most assists (501), currently held by DaShawn Freeman (2002-06).
• In addition, Garrity, who is currently ninth in Big Sky history with his 495 assists, is just 11 assists shy of moving all alone into sixth place in league history.
• Garrity, who has become more of a scorer than a distributor during his career, had 193 assists as a freshman, 143 as a sophomore, 107 as a junior, and 52 this season.
• Garrity has become a long range marksman, currently shooting better than 40 percent from distance for the third straight season.
• Among players averaging at least 2.5 made 3-pointers per game, Garrity's current percentage of .447 is the 22nd best mark in the nation.
• His career 3-point percentage of .428 is the third best mark in school history.
• 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 14.2 ppg this year.

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 17.6 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.9 steals per game while shooting .532 (108-203) from the field and .768 (43-56) from the free throw line.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.532), which remains the best mark among all guards in the Big Sky.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top eight players in six categories, including first in steals, second in minutes (35.5), third in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.2), fourth in scoring, and eighth in field goal percentage.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 14 straight games, and in 15 of the 16 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 60 career games, including his career-high tying 32 points on Thursday night against Idaho.
• His average of 2.9 steals per game is tied for the second best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 75 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 five of six Big Sky games.
• Including his career-high 22 points vs. Eastern Washington, Demps is averaging 14.0 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and a 3.4-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in league play.
• He is also shooting .644 (29-45) from the field in league play, a ridiculously robust mark for a player who primarily plays on the perimeter. In fact, that is the third best mark in the Big Sky, as is his assist-to-turnover ratio.
• He has shot at least 50 percent from the field in all six league games.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Sophomore Nick Hornsby, who scored 12 points vs. Eastern Wash., is averaging a team-high 6.7 rebounds vs. Big Sky opposition, the seventh best mark in the league.
• Dreon Barlett buried a career-high four 3-pointers in four attempts vs. Eastern Wash., and is now shooting .519 (14-27) from distance this season. If he had enough makes to qualify, his career .450 (36-80) 3-point percentage would rank 2nd in school history.
• In league play, senior Zach Mills is averaging 10.0 points while shooting .561 (23-41) from the field, .643 (9-14) from the 3-point line and .833 (5-6) from the free throw line.