SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Playing in front of an energetic overflow crowd, Sacramento State did not disappoint, as four Hornets scored in double figures on the way to a 75-59 victory against Montana State in front of a rowdy 1,215 fans on Thursday evening at the Nest.
The 1,215 fans were more than 200 over the Nest's capacity of 1,012, and marked the largest crowd in years. They watched Sacramento State use a 16-3 run late in the second half to push a 57-52 lead all the way to a 73-55 advantage with 1:24 remaining. That 18-point lead also was Sacramento State's largest cushion of the contest.
With the victory, the Hornets (14-6, 8-1) have won five straight games, nine of their last 10, and remain all alone at the top of the Big Sky standings with nine conference games left. The team's five-game winning streak matches the program's longest in the Div. I era (1991-pres.) and the last 28 years. In addition, the 14-6 overall record is the team's best in the Div. I era, and the best since the 1988-89 squad was also 14-6.
Currently ranked 20th in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll, the highest ranking in school history, the Hornets' 8-1 Big Sky record is tops in school history. This marks the latest in the season Sacramento State has been alone in first place since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97. Trailing the Hornets in the standings are Montana (7-1) and Eastern Washington (6-1) to round out the top three. The Hornets will host Montana on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in what is shaping up to be the biggest game inside the Nest in years.
The Hornets are now 9-1 at home this year, including five straight home wins and a perfect 5-0 mark against Big Sky teams inside the friendly confines. In fact, Sacramento State has won 17 of its last 19 home games, and the team is 30-8 inside the Nest dating back to the 2012-13 season.
For the Hornets, McKinney (23 points, eight assists, five steals), Garrity (18 points, four 3-pointers and five assists), sophomore Nick Hornsby (12 points, team-high seven rebounds) and junior Cody Demps (10 points) combined for 63 of Sacramento State's 75 points. Garrity now has 504 career assists, surpassing DaShawn Freeman's total of 501, to set the new program record.
In a game where neither team led by more than five points the first 32 minutes of the contest, Sacramento State was finally able to break free with the late run. During that 16-3 spurt, which began at the 5:34 mark of the second half, there were a number of crowd pleasing moments, including a crossover, step back 3-pointer from McKinney (3:26), a Garrity to Demps alley-oop dunk (2:58), and a Garrity to Hornsby alley-oop finish (1:24). The Demps dunk was the dagger as it gave the Hornets a 14-point lead and ignited a massive response from the crowd that included a prolonged standing ovation.
"I liked the way we regrouped after a tough first half," Sacramento State seventh-year head coach Brian Katz said. "In the second half, I felt like we relaxed a bit and tried to hit singles instead of home runs, and kept putting some distance between ourselves and Montana State.
"There's no question that tonight's crowd had a huge effect on the game. If the fans keep packing the place and are as vocal as they were tonight, we have a definite homecourt advantage. In fact, this is the homecourt advantage we've been hoping for, and we'd love for it to continue."
Sacramento State, which outscored Montana State in the first (36-33) and second (39-26) halves, finished the game shooting .519 (28-54) from the field, .471 (8-17) from the 3-point line and .733 (11-15) from the free throw line. All five Hornet starters shot at least 50 percent from the field and the team was 14-of-24 from the floor in the second half.
While the Hornets' offensive flow was proficient, it may have been the defense that won the game. Montana State shot just .375 (21-56) from the field, and Sacramento State turned 14 MSU turnovers into a 19-6 advantage in points off miscues. The Hornets had nine steals, their fifth highest output of the season, and the Bobcats had more turnovers (14) than assists (10). Montana State (4-16, 1-7) also shot just .304 (7-23) from the 3-point line, including 4-for-15 in the second half.
Four Bobcats scored in double figures, comprised of Marcus Colbert (13), Eric Norman (12), Stephan Holm (12) and Michael Dison (10).
The winner of Saturday night's game against Montana, which is sure to be another overflow crowd, will sit all alone in first place.
April 24, 2015 BIG SKY, RENO ANNOUNCE BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS AGREEMENT
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