MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR SATURDAY EVENING MATCHUP

MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR SATURDAY EVENING MATCHUP

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Coming off its first loss in over a month, 64-61 at Eastern Washington on Thursday, Sacramento State (16-7, 10-2) travels to Moscow, Idaho, for a Saturday evening matchup against Idaho (10-12, 5-6). Tip is 7:05 p.m.
• Thursday's loss dropped Sacramento State into second place in the Big Sky standings, a half game behind Eastern Washington (10-1). The Hornets had been all alone in first place for 26 consecutive days prior to the loss to EWU.
• Thursday's loss also snapped the Hornets' seven-game winning streak, the longest since 1976, and tied for the sixth longest in program history (1948-pres.).
• The Hornets' 10-2 league record is easily the team's best mark since joining the Big Sky prior to the 1996-97 season. The 16-7 overall record is the best after 23 games since the 1987-88 team was 18-5 and the third best in program history.
• When the Hornets picked up their 16th win last Saturday vs. Portland State, it guaranteed the team its first overall record above .500 in the Div. I era (1991-pres.). Entering this season, the team had just three winning seasons in the last 38 years.
• The Hornets are currently ranked a school-record 14th in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major top 25 poll.
• Sacramento State is 5-6 on the road after entering the season with a 41-282 road record (.127 winning percentage) since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991.
• The Hornets have won 11 of their last 13 games overall, and seven of those victories have been decided by seven points or less.
• Prior to the loss at EWU, the Hornets were 5-0 in games decided by 3 points or less.
• Despite Thursday's loss, this marks the latest in the season Sacramento State has ever ranked among the top two teams in the Big Sky standings.
• Idaho is coming off an 87-76 home win over Portland State on Thursday night.
• The Vandals are 8-3 at home this year, including 4-2 against Big Sky competition.
• The Hornets defeated Idaho earlier this year at the Nest, 79-76, on Jan. 15.
• That win snapped a 13-game losing streak against Idaho, which happened to be the third longest against any opponent in Sacramento State history.
• In a series which dates back to the 1968-69 season, the Hornets are 2-14 all-time against Idaho, including a 1-8 mark when playing in Moscow. Sacramento State has dropped seven straight in Moscow since its lone win there on Dec. 8, 1972 (77-65 win).

A LOOK AT THE TWO TEAMS LAST MEETING

• Senior Mikh McKinney scored 27 of his 32 points in the second half, and the Hornets closed the game on a 23-12 run to defeat Idaho, 79-76, on Jan. 15 at the Nest.
• McKinney helped the Hornets overcome a 41-33 halftime deficit by shooting 10-of-14 from the field, 5-of-5 from the 3-point line and 2-for-3 from the free throw line in the second half. That included 21 of the team's first 26 points of the second half.
• After a Ty Egbert bucket at the 8:41 mark of the second half gave Idaho a 64-56 lead, the Hornets proceeded to rip off a 23-12 run which spanned the game's final 8:21.
• Idaho missed their final three shots of the evening, all 3-point attempts, including a desperation 3-ball at the buzzer by Connor Hill which drew backboard and iron.
• In a game which featured just six lead changes and three ties, the Hornets led for slightly under 13 minutes (12:50) of the entire contest.
• The threesome of McKinney, Demps (17 points to go with five rebounds and four assists) and Dylan Garrity (13 points, four assists and two steals) combined for 62 of the Hornets' 79 points.
• The Hornets outscored Idaho in the second half, 46-35, after trailing at the half, 41-33.

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 PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just three teams in the nation to rank among the top 11 squads in both field goal percentage (11th, .489) and 3-point percentage (4th, .418).
• In addition, the team is 37th in the nation in free throw percentage (.733).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 12 occasions this year, and are 11-1 in those games. In addition, the Hornets have shot better than .590 four times.
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, four are shooting at least .500 from the field.
• The program record for single-season field goal percentage is .491 (1985-86), and 3-point field goal percentage is .418 (1987-88).

ROAD WOES NO LONGER

• While a 5-6 record on the road is hardly anything to brag about, its a pretty big deal at Sacramento State, where road wins have been hard to come by in the Div. I era.
• Amazingly, five road wins are already the third best mark since the Hornets joined the Div. I ranks in 1991-92 (the 2005-06 squad had seven; 2002-03 had six).
• The Hornets enter the Idaho game as winners of four of their last six road games.
• The Hornets entered the season with, brace yourself, a 41-282 road record (.127 winning percentage) since joining the Div. I ranks.
• That included a 39-game road losing streak which stretched from Dec. 30, 2006, until it was snapped with a 65-63 win at Oregon State on Nov. 21, 2009.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES

• Despite Thursday's 64-61 loss at EWU, the Hornets are still 5-1 in games decided by three points or less, 7-2 in games decided by five points or less, and 9-2 in games decided by single digits.
• Of the Hornets' 10 conference wins, seven have come by seven points or less.
• The Hornets are 10-1 in league despite outscoring the opposition by an average of just 4.6 points per contest.

LEAN YEARS NOW IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put the Hornets' 16-7 and 10-2 records into context, one has to understand how far the program has come this season after some dubious years in the Div. I era.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks prior to the 1991-92 season, the Hornets had never finished with an overall record above .500 until last Saturday's win against Portland State assured the Hornets of their first Div. I winning season.
• Prior to this season, Sacramento State's overall record in the Div. I era was 189-475 (.269 winning percentage), and 86-211 (.266) in Big Sky Conference play.
• At one point, the Hornets lost 34 straight games, which lasted from Dec. 22, 1997 until the streak was snapped with a 60-57 home win against Montana on Jan. 27, 1999.

WINNING STREAKS

• Thursday's loss snapped a seven-game winning streak, which matched the sixth longest in program history.  Here is a look at the longest winning streaks in school history:  
12 - 1969-70;  11 - 1952-53;  8 - Three teams;  7 - 2014-15, 1975-76.

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 make up the team's top eight scorers, and six of the eight are averaging at least 5.8 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 21 of 23 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 16-5 record this year.

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.

TWO 1,000 POINT SCORERS ON THE SAME SQUAD

• Earlier this season, senior guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney became the 12th and 13th players, respectively, in school history to score 1,000 career points.
• The two are currently within 13 points of each other as McKinney is sixth in school history with 1,273 points and Garrity is seventh with 1,260 points.
• 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 SETS PROGRAM RECORD FOR CAREER ASSISTS

• With 512 career assists, senior guard Dylan Garrity is Sacramento State's new all-time leader, surpassing the previous mark of 501, set by DaShawn Freeman (2002-06).
• In addition, Garrity is now sixth in Big Sky history in that category.
• 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 69 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 season percentage of .438 ranks as the 16th best percentage in the nation.
• His career 3-point percentage of .427 (201-471) is the 3rd 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 13.7 ppg this year.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A HUGE YEAR

• Including his game winner at North Dakota and 27-point second halves in wins over Idaho and Weber State, senior guard Mikh McKinney has been incredible this season.
• He became the first player in school history to be named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Watch List. He is one of two players from the Big Sky (Tyler Harvey).
• He has won Big Sky Player of the Week honors four times this season.
• He is averaging 19.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.8 steals per game while shooting .535 (152-284) from the field, .433 (42-97) from the 3-point line and .766 (72-94) from the free throw line. He is also a team-high tying +112 in plus/minus ratio.
• Amazingly, he ranks among the nation's top 50 players in eight different categories, including fifth in steals per game, 27th in points per game, 36th in assists per game, 41st in field goals made, and 47th in field goal percentage.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.535), which is the fourth best mark in the nation among guards.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top three players in five categories; first in steals and minutes (36.4 per game), second in scoring and assists, and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.3).
• Has scored at least 11 points in 20 straight games, and in 21 of the 22 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 66 career games.
• Has started all 81 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

DEMPS PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL IN CONFERENCE PLAY

• Though guards Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity get a lot of pub, opponents can't overlook the third part of the Hornets' three-guard monster in junior Cody Demps.
• After averaging 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on .391 shooting in non-conference play, Demps has ramped those numbers up to 11.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists on .547 shooting (47-86) in Big Sky play.
• In league play, he ranks among the Big Sky's top 13 players in seven categories, including 6th in free throw percentage (.826), 8th in minutes per game (33.8), 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.9) and 12th in field goal percentage.
• He has shot at least 50 percent from the field in nine of the 12 league games.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Over his last seven games, center Eric Stuteville is shooting .694 (25-36) from the field, and now ranks second in the Big Sky in field goal percentage (.609) and fifth in blocked shots per game (1.4) vs. conference competition.
• Forward Nick Hornsby has combined for 12 steals in the last three games, including a career-high five swipes at Eastern Washington, and four vs. Montana.