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MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN COLORADO THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.

MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN COLORADO THURSDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• After dropping two straight on the road last week to Eastern Washington and Idaho, Sacramento State (16-8, 10-3) returns to action this week for its final two regular season home games, beginning on Thursday vs. Northern Colorado at 7:05 p.m.
• The Hornets' two-game slide is their first losing streak since the middle of December.
• Sacramento State has won seven straight at home and is 11-1 overall at home, 7-0 against Big Sky opposition and 32-8 dating back to the 2012-13 season.
• Sacramento State dropped six spots to 20th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll.
• The Hornets, who are assured of their first winning season during the Div. I era (1991-pres.), entered the year having posted just three winning seasons in the last 38 years.
• Sacramento State's 16-8 record is its best after 24 games in the Div. I era, and its best since the 1987-88 squad was 19-5. In addition, it matches the fourth best after 24 games in program history (1948-pres.).
• The Hornets are currently tied for second place in the Big Sky standings with Montana (10-3), and sit just a half game back of first place Eastern Washington (10-2). The Hornets' 10-3 record is easily the best since joining the Big Sky prior to the 1996-97 season.
• A win on Thursday would give the Hornets their most conference victories since joining the Big Sky. The team's 10 wins are tied with last year's squad which went 10-10.
• A win Thursday would give the team 17 wins, the most since the 1987-88 season, and tied for the fifth most in program history.
• A win Thursday would allow the Hornets to avoid their first three-game losing streak.
• A win Thursday would allow the Hornets to increase their program-record home winning streak vs. Big Sky teams to nine straight, a stretch which dates back to last year.
• A win Thursday would allow the Hornets to match their longest home winning streak (league or non-league) since the 1986-87 squad ripped off eight straight home wins.
• Of the Hornets' 10 league wins, seven have come by seven points or less.
• Northern Colorado is coming off two heartbreaking losses at home, including 90-87 to Montana State on Thursday and an 83-81 triple overtime loss to Montana Saturday.
• The Bears are 3-9 on the road this year, but 3-4 against Big Sky teams.
• Northern Colorado dealt the Hornets their first conference loss of the season back on Jan. 10 when the Bears won in Greeley by an 84-73 score. In that game, Northern Colorado used a 10-2 run spanning the final two minutes of the contest.
• In a series which dates back to the 2006-07 season (the year UNC joined the Big Sky), the Hornets are 5-12 against the Bears, including 3-5 when playing in Sacramento.

A LOOK AT THE TWO TEAMS LAST MEETING

• Northern Colorado used a 10-2 run spanning the final two minutes to break open a close game and eventually defeat Sacramento State, 84-73, on Jan. 10.
• After the Hornets' Zach Mills buried a 3-pointer to bring the Hornets to within, 74-71, with 2:18 remaining, the Bears scored on five of their final six possessions to put the game away. Meanwhile, Sacramento State missed all eight of its field goal attempts during the game's final 1:42.
• The game featured 19 lead changes, eight ties, and neither team led by more than six points the first 31 minutes of the contest.
• Northern Colorado's shooting percentages of .640 (32-50) overall and .600 (6-10) from the 3-point line are easily the highest allowed by the Hornets this season.
Dylan Garrity finished with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field, and 6-for-13 from the 3-point line. Joining Garrity in double figures for the Hornets were Mikh McKinney (14 points) and Cody Demps (14 points, eight rebounds).

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.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just four teams in the nation to rank among the top 15 squads in both field goal percentage (15th, .486) and 3-point percentage (9th, .406).
• In addition, the team is 35th in the nation in free throw percentage (.735).
• 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.
• The program record for single-season field goal percentage is .491 (1985-86), and 3-point field goal percentage is .418 (1987-88).

SUCCESS ON THE HOME FLOOR

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 32-8 at the Nest. That includes an 11-1 home mark this season, 11-3 last year, and 10-4 inside the friendly confines in 2012-13.
• Dating back to last year, the Hornets have won a school-record eight straight home games vs. Big Sky opposition. Sacramento State is the only team in the Big Sky with an undefeated home record inside league play this season.
• This season, the Hornets are winning their home games by an average of 11.7 points.
• Overall, Sacramento State has won 19 of its last 21 home games.
• At home, the Hornets are shooting a blistering .534 (337-631) from the field and .443 (77-174) from the 3-point line.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES

• Despite last Thursday's 64-61 loss at Eastern Washington, 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 10-3 in league despite outscoring the opposition by an average of just 3.4 points per contest.

LEAN YEARS NOW IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put the Hornets' 16-8 and 10-3 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 the 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

• The Hornets have three winning streaks of at least four games, including a seven-gamer which tied for the sixth best in program history. Here are the longest win 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 6.0 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 22 of 24 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 16-6 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 1,288 points and Garrity is seventh with 1,275 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 THE NEW ASSISTS KING AT SACRAMENTO STATE

• With 513 career assists, senior guard Dylan Garrity is Sacramento State's 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 70 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 .425 ranks as the 16th best percentage in the nation.
• His career 3-point percentage of .423 (203-480) 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 18.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game while shooting .528 (158-299) from the field, .417 (45-108) from the 3-point line and .766 (72-94) from the free throw line. He is also a team-high tying +99 in plus/minus ratio.
• Amazingly, he ranks among the nation's top 55 players in eight different categories, including sixth in steals per game, 25th in minutes (36.5), 31st in points per game, 36th in assists per game, 38th in field goals made, and 55th in field goal percentage.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.528), which is the fifth 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, second in scoring and assists, and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.3).
• Has scored at least 11 points in 21 straight games, and in 22 of the 23 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 67 career games.
• Has started all 82 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, 5.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists on .558 shooting (53-95) in Big Sky play.
• In league play, he ranks among the Big Sky's top 15 players in seven categories, including 7th in field goal percentage, 9th in free throw percentage (.809), ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.0) and 10th in minutes per game (33.9).

HORNET NOTABLES

• Over his last seven games, center Eric Stuteville is shooting .641 (25-39) from the field, and now ranks fourth in the Big Sky in field goal percentage (.584) and fifth in blocked shots per game (1.3) vs. conference competition.
• Forward Nick Hornsby has been on fire on the defensive end, recording at least three steals in each of the last four games. He is averaging 4.0 steals per contest during that stretch and is now seventh in the league in steals per game during league play (1.3).
• Zach Mills' 3-point percentage of .536 (15-28) inside Big Sky play is best in the league.