Big Sky Conference standings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- On a festive Senior Night that included numerous standing ovations from another sellout crowd, Sacramento State moved into a tie for first place in the Big Sky Conference after beating North Dakota, 74-66, on Saturday evening at the Nest.
On a night when Hornet seniors Dylan Garrity, Mikh McKinney, Alex Tiffin and Zach Mills were honored prior to the game, this evening's win moved Sacramento State (18-8, 12-3) past Eastern Washington into a tie for first place with Montana (11-3). Just a game and a half separate the top four teams in the Big Sky with two weeks remaining in the regular season.
Behind the Hornets and Grizzlies are Eastern Washington (11-3) and Northern Arizona (10-4). Sacramento State and Montana have just three games remaining while Eastern Washington and Northern Arizona have four games left. Everything will be decided by March 7, and the winner of the regular season will host the Big Sky Tournament on March 12-14. The winner of the league's postseason event will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
As has been the case all season, a number of milestones fell tonight at the Nest. Here is a quick glimpse of some of those....
• Sacramento State concludes its home portion of the regular season schedule with a 13-1 record inside the Nest, which matches the program record for most home victories in a single season (the 1987-88 squad went 13-2).
• The Hornets' winning percentage at home (.929) is the second best in program history (1948-pres.), trailing the 1961-62 squad's perfect 12-0 home record.
• With three games still remaining in the regular season, the Hornets' 12 Big Sky wins are already the most since joining the league prior to the 1996-97 season.
• At 18-8 overall, the Hornets' 18 victories are the most since the 1987-88 season, and tied for the third most in program history.
• Sacramento State's 18-8 record is also tied for the second best mark in program history after 26 games, trailing only the 1987-88 squad's 21-5 record.
• Sacramento State improved its program-record home winning streak vs. Big Sky teams to 10 straight, a stretch which dates back to last year.
• Overall, the Hornets have now won nine straight home games, the longest streak since 1972, and tied for the second longest streak in school history.
In a game that featured five ties, six lead changes, and numerous runs, it was a 21-10 run that erased a 36-35 deficit, and put the Hornets on top, 56-46 with 7:57 to play. The run, which spanned just under eight and half minutes of the second half, was highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from McKinney at the 14:55 and 14:18 marks. A Nick Hornsby layup punctuated the run and gave the Hornets the 56-46 lead.
North Dakota (8-18, 4-11) would get no closer than within six points the rest of the way as the Hornets made each of their final six free throw attempts over the last 1:30 to help put the game out of reach.
Tonight's attendance of 1,231 marked the fifth straight standing-room only crowd to watch and help the Hornets to yet another win in the 59-year old building called the Nest. In fact, Sacramento State will finish the regular season as the only team in the Big Sky to go undefeated at home in league play.
The Hornets finished the game shooting .464 (26-56) from the field, a school-record .727 (8-11) from the 3-point line and .737 (14-19) from the free throw line. Sacramento State also forced North Dakota into 12 turnovers and scored on nearly every one of those miscues, posting a 19-6 advantage in points off turnovers. In addition, the Hornets outrebounded North Dakota, 33-30, and had 20 assists on 26 made buckets. After shooting just .375 (12-32) in the first half, Sacramento State shot a blistering .583 (14-24) from the field in the second half.
North Dakota shot .451 (23-51) from the field and .875 (14-16) from the free throw line, but converted on just 6-of-22 from beyond the arc. That included missing seven of their nine 3-point attempts in the second half.
"After getting off to another slow start to start the game (3 for their first 15 from the field), I liked the way our guys stayed with it, and executed down the stretch," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "Even when we weren't connecting on offense, we didn't that let affect our play on the defensive end.
"Trying to win the Big Sky is day to day, moment to moment, fourth down and one, and its definitely on. We can't worry about anyone else. We don't scoreboard watch, and all that stuff doesn't matter. Simply put, we have to win.
"As time goes on, this year's seniors will be remembered as the guys that got this thing turned around. All four of them. They are names that will be remembered forever, I really feel that way."
Speaking of the seniors, all four had a large hand in tonight's win, including McKinney who finished with 16 points, five assists, two steals and just one turnover in slightly under 40 minutes. Garrity had 12 points, three rebounds and didn't miss a shot from the field, finishing 4-for-4 from the floor, and 3-for-3 from distance. Mills had 13 points and shot 5-of-7 from the floor while playing 29 minutes. And Tiffin had four points and four rebounds before fouling out with 26 seconds to play. Tiffin received a large ovation from the crowd as he walked off the court after that fifth foul, and the other three seniors were taken out of the game 12 seconds later to a thunderous ovation from the admiring fans.
Hornet sophomore Nick Hornsby was one of the best players on the floor all evening, finishing with his first career double-double which included 17 points, 11 rebounds and four steals in 28 minutes. Junior Cody Demps added seven points, a career-high nine assists and zero turnovers in 37 minutes.
For North Dakota, Quinton Hooker had a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds in 39 minutes. He was joined in double figures by Jaron Nash's 17 points as the duo of Hooker and Nash combined for 37 of the team's 66 points.
Sacramento State will play its final three games on the road at Portland State (Feb. 28), Southern Utah (March 5) and Northern Arizona (March 7).
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