SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State used a 17-8 run over the final 5:03 and senior Mikh McKinney scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as the Hornets defeated Northern Colorado, 66-59, in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Thursday evening at the Nest.
The win improved the Hornets to 17-8 overall, 11-3 in the Big Sky, 12-1 at home, and clinched the program's second straight and sixth Big Sky Tournament berth since joining the league in 1996-97. Eastern Washington, Montana and Northern Arizona all won tonight, so the top four in the 12-member league remain the same. Eastern Washington sits in first with an 11-2 record, followed by Sacramento State (11-3), Montana (11-3) and Northern Arizona (9-4). The Hornets, who rank among the top two teams in the Big Sky standings this late in the season for the first time ever, have just four games remaining in the regular season.
The winner of the regular season championship will host the Big Sky Tournament (March 12-14). The top eight teams qualify for the league's postseason event and the winner will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Tonight's win gave the Hornets their most conference victories (11) since joining the league, and the 17 overall wins are the most in the Div. I era (1991-pres.) and tied for the fifth best mark in program history (1948-pres.). In addition, the Hornets have won a school-record nine consecutive home games over Big Sky foes dating back to last season. Overall, the team has won eight straight home games, the most since the 1986-87 squad also ripped off eight straight.
Tonight's crowd of 1,332 marked the fourth consecutive sellout, and with Saturday night's game against North Dakota already sold out, the Hornets will close the regular season with five consecutive sellouts. Saturday's game against UND will mark the final home regular season game as the team's last three games will come on the road.
In tonight's game, the Hornets made a lot of headway during the closing stages of both halves. In fact, Sacramento State used a 22-5 run over the final 8:30 of the first half, and a 17-8 run over the final 5:03 of the second half. The first half run erased a 17-7 deficit and allowed the Hornets to enter halftime with a 29-22 lead.
In the second half, it was a Tevin Svihovec jumper which gave the Bears a 51-49 lead with 6:05 remaining. That proved to be Northern Colorado's final lead of the evening as Sacramento State scored the next seven points and never led by anything less than three points the remainder of the evening. During that 17-8 run, McKinney put on a show, scoring 11 of those points, including three free throws to give the Hornets a 54-51 lead with 4:22 left.
Sacramento State made things interesting by going just 2-for-6 from the free throw line, including two missed front ends of 1-and-1 situations, over the final 3:26. However, Northern Colorado missed five of its final six field goal attempts and missed a pair of free throws during the game's final minute.
Sacramento State, which connected on 14-of-21 field goals in the second half, finished the game shooting .500 (22-44) from the floor, .267 (4-15) from the 3-point line and .621 (18-29) from the free throw line. The Hornets outrebounded the Bears, 38-34, and had six blocked shots, their third highest output of the season. Sacramento State did have 16 turnovers, but owned a 16-13 advantage in points off miscues.
Northern Colorado was limited to .417 (25-60) from the field, including 3-for-19 from the 3-point line and 6-of-14 from the free throw line.
"I was excited we were able to win this game despite not playing to the level we are capable, but Northern Colorado had a lot to do with that," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "For our guys to bounce back, grind it out, and figure out a way to win was huge.
"If a team has to play great every night in order to win, you probably aren't a very good team. You've got a find a way to win ugly, and although this wasn't necessarily ugly, it certainly wasn't our best game."
McKinney's 23 points came on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. He also added two steals and played all 40 minutes. His 17 points in the second half came on 5-of-8 shooting and 5-for-6 from the free throw stripe. All five starters scored at least seven points, including senior Dylan Garrity who finished with 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. Junior Cody Demps wasn't far off a triple-double, tallying eight points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and three blocked shots in 36 minutes. Both the assists and blocks were career highs, and the rebounds matched a season best.
Sophomore Nick Hornsby had eight points and four rebounds, and sophomore Eric Stuteville had seven points. Senior Alex Tiffin added six points, five rebounds and two blocked shots off the bench for the Hornets.
Northern Colorado had three players score in double figures, comprised of Dominque Lee (10 points, game-high 12 rebounds), Svihovec (16 points) and Jordan Wilson (11 points). Wilson, however, shot 5-of-14 from the field and 1-for-5 from distance.
Prior to Saturday night's game against North Dakota at 7 p.m., Hornet seniors McKinney, Garrity, Tiffin and Zach Mills will be honored for their contributions to the program.
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