CHENEY, Wash. -- Sacramento State closed the game on a 19-6 run, and had its length of the court pass intercepted as time expired as the Hornets lost to Eastern Washington, 64-61, in a battle for first place in the Big Sky Conference standings Thursday evening at Reese Court.
With the loss, the Hornets (16-7, 10-2) fall out of first place for the first time in nearly a month and had their seven-game winning streak snapped. That seven-game winning streak had been tied for the sixth longest in school history (1948-pres.). Sacramento State hadn't lost a game since Jan. 10 prior to tonight, and now sit a half game behind Eastern Washington (19-5, 10-1) in the standings. The Hornets have six games remaining (two at home, four on the road) and the Eagles have seven games remaining (three at home, four on the road).
The winner of the Big Sky regular season championship will host the conference tournament March 12-14. The winner of the conference tournament will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The Hornets are seeking their first NCAA Tournament berth in their Div. I era (1991-pres.). The program had four NCAA Tournament appearances in the Div. II era (1959, 1962, 1970, 1988).
Both teams are currently ranked in the Mid-Major top 25 as Eastern Washington is 12th and Sacramento State 14th. The two teams split their season series as the Hornets beat the Eagles in Sacramento, 90-77, back on Jan. 17. EWU moved its record to 12-0 this year on its home floor.
The Eagles never trailed the entire way, opening up a game-high 16-point lead (58-42) with 7:01 remaining. However, that's when the Hornets went on a big run to make things interesting. Sacramento State senior guard Mikh McKinney scored each of Sacramento State's final nine points, including consecutive 3-pointers to slice the Eagle lead to two points (60-58) with 1:35 remaining.
However, the Eagles' Garrett Moon immediately answered with a bucket to put the Eagles on top, 62-58, with 1:16 left. Both teams did not score on its next possessions (including a pair of missed Hornet free throws) before McKinney was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining. McKinney drained all three freebies to pull the Hornets within a point (62-61), the closest they had been since the 14:20 mark of the first half.
The Hornets immediately fouled on the inbounds and Drew Brandon sunk both free throws for a 64-61 EWU lead with three seconds remaining. Sacramento State then threw a length of the floor pass, but that pass was intercepted as time expired.
In a game that featured two of the nation's top 3-point shooting teams, Eastern Washington buried 12-of-23 (.522) from distance, including eight 3-balls in the first half and four more in the second half. The 12 three-pointers were the most allowed by Sacramento State this season. In addition, Eastern Washington finished with 13 blocked shots as no Hornet opponent had tallied more than seven prior to tonight. Overall, the Eagles shot .478 (22-46) from the field and the team converted on just 10 two-point field goals all evening.
Sacramento State shot .407 (22-54) from the field, .444 (8-18) from the 3-point line and 9-of-13 (.692) from the free throw line. Of those 54 field goal attempts, 13 were blocked by EWU defenders. Both teams converted on the same amount of field goals and the Hornets had one more made free throw, but the Eagles' proficiency from beyond the arc was a huge factor in tonight's game.
After the Eagles led at halftime, 31-24, the Hornets outscored EWU in the second half by a 37-33 margin. Sacramento State had 11 steals (tied for its third largest output of the season), and outscored the Eagles in points off turnovers by a 14-4 margin. Only 40 points were scored in the paint as the Hornets had a 22-18 advantage. The Hornets outrebounded the Eagles, 31-30, and 10 of Sacramento State's 31 rebounds came on the offensive glass.
McKinney finished with a game-high 21 points including four assists in 39 minutes. He shot 4-of-7 from the 3-point line, 5-of-6 from the free throw line, and 14 of his points came in the second half. The team co-captain scored 11 of the team's 19 points during the game-closing 19-6 run. Joining McKinney in double figures was senior Dylan Garrity who finished with 10 points, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Junior Cody Demps finished with six points, 10 rebounds and a career-high four steals, and sophomore Nick Hornsby had six points, seven rebounds and a career-high five steals. Senior Zach Mills finished with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and sophomore Eric Stuteville had eight points and four rebounds.
Three Eagles finished in double figures, comprised of Ognjen Miljkovic (16 points, 4-of-5 from the 3-point line), Parker Kelly (15 points, 5-of-8 from distance) and Drew Brandon (13 points, 2-of-5 from 3-point line). Those three players combined to shoot 11-of-18 from beyond the arc. No other Eagle player had more than seven points.
Sacramento State returns to action on Saturday when the team travels to Big Sky newcomer Idaho for a game at 7:05 p.m. PST. The Hornets defeated Idaho at the Nest back on Jan. 15 by a 79-76 score.
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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