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MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS FINAL ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE

MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS FINAL ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE

Sacramento State Game Notes - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Fresh off a 74-66 win over North Dakota on Senior Night, Sacramento State (18-8, 12-3) will play the first of three straight road games to conclude the regular season on Saturday at Portland State (14-11, 8-7). Tip-off at the Stott Center is set for 7:05 p.m.
• Currently in a tie for first place with Montana (12-3) and a half game ahead of Eastern Washington (11-3), the Hornets control their own destiny to earn the No. 1 seed and host the Big Sky Tournament March 12-14 at The WELL on campus.
• The win over North Dakota wrapped up the Hornets' regular season home schedule as the team finished 13-1 at home, including a perfect 9-0 against Big Sky opposition.
• Now the Hornets will turn their attention to a tough three-game road trip that includes Portland State, Southern Utah (March 5) and Northern Arizona (March 7).
• Sacramento State is 5-7 on the road this year, including 3-3 vs. Big Sky teams.
• The Hornets are currently ranked 19th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll.
• Sacramento State has already clinched its second straight Big Sky Tournament berth and just the program's sixth since joining the league prior to the 1996-97 season.
• At 18-8, the Hornets have clinched their first winning season in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the 18 victories are tied for the third most in program history (1948-pres.).
• The Hornets' 18-8 record is the best since the 1987-88 Div. II squad was 21-5. The record also matches the second best after 26 games in program history.
• What makes that record so remarkable is, entering the year, the Hornets had just three winning seasons in the last 38 years.
• The 12 Big Sky wins are already a school record, surpassing the previous mark of 10.
• Portland State is playing its best basketball of the season, having won three straight including convincing home wins last week vs. Northern Colorado and North Dakota.
• The Vikings are 9-3 at home this season, including 5-3 vs. Big Sky opposition.
• In a game that neither team by more than six points the final 18:25, the Hornets beat the Vikings, 64-60, back on Feb. 7 at the Nest.
• Sacramento State is 13-26 all-time against the Vikings, including a 2-17 record when playing in Portland. However, the Hornets won in Portland last year by a 72-65 score.

SHOULD THE HORNETS WIN ON SATURDAY....

• The 19 overall victories would rank as the third most in school history.
• The Hornets would increase their already school-record Big Sky win total to 13.
• The Hornets' potential 19-8 record would be the second best in school history (the 1987-88 squad owns the best mark after 27 games at 22-5).
• The Hornets would win their sixth road game, tied for second most in the Div. I era.
• The Hornets would be one win shy of the program's third 20-win season - the 1987-88 squad finished 22-8; the 1961-62 squad finished 21-10. Both those teams qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament.

A LOOK AT THE LAST MEETING VS. PORTLAND STATE

• In a game where neither team led by more than six points the final 18:25, a jumper from Alex Tiffin at the 9:01 mark gave the Hornets the lead for good at 50-48.
• The Hornets missed three late free throws, allowing the Vikings to take possession of the ball down, 62-60, with 29 seconds left. However, after PSU took possession, Iziahiah Sweeney's cross-court pass was too high, and Gary Winston landed on the sideline.
Dylan Garrity was then fouled with 17 seconds left, and sank both free throw to provide the final score.
Mikh McKinney (17) and Garrity (16) combined for 33 of the Hornets' 64 points.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Every regular season game the rest of the way will be streamed live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com. 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 12 squads in both field goal percentage (12th, .485) and 3-point percentage (4th, .410).
• In addition, the team is 48th in the nation in free throw percentage (.729).
• 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).

SEEKING FIFTH NCAA TOURNEY APPEARANCE, FIRST IN DIV. I

• The Hornets will be seeking their first NCAA Div. I Tournament appearance.
• The program did qualify for the NCAA Div. II Tournament on four occasions (1959, 1962, 1970, 1988). In fact, the Hornets finished as the national runner-up in 1962.
• Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991, the closest the Hornets have come to the NCAA Tournament was Big Sky Tourney semifinal appearances in 2003 and 2006.

GETTING BETTER ON THE ROAD

• While a 5-7 record on the road is hardly anything to brag about, its a pretty big deal at Sacramento State, where road wins have been few and far between 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 won seven; 2002-03 won six).
• 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

• The Hornets are 5-1 in games decided by three points or less, 7-2 in games decided by five points or less, and 11-2 in games decided by single digits.
• Of the Hornets' 12 conference wins, nine have come by eight points or less.
• The Hornets have outscored league opposition by an average of 4.0 points per game.

LEAN YEARS NOW IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put the Hornets' 18-8 and 12-3 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 home 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.

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.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 24 of 26 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 18-6 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.

GETTING IT DONE IN THE CLASSROOM

• During the fall semester, the Hornets posted a cumulative grade point average of 3.150, the best mark for men's basketball in school history.

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 28 points of each other as McKinney is fifth in school history with 1,327 points and Garrity is seventh with 1,299 points.
• Garrity is just 15 points shy of passing John Dickson and moving into sixth place.
• Together, they became just the sixth and seventh players to reach 1,000 points during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), joining Dickson, Loren Leath, Damond Edwards, Alex Bausley and Michael Boyd.

GARRITY THE NEW ASSISTS KING AT SACRAMENTO STATE

• With 518 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 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 75 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 .432 ranks as the 17th best percentage in the nation.
• His career 3-point percentage of .425 (208-489) 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 13.6 ppg this year.

McKINNEY MAKING A RUN AT BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE 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 18.9 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.7 steals per game while shooting .521 (171-328) from the field, .417 (50-120) from the 3-point line and .769 (80-104) from the free throw line. He is also a team-high tying +114 in plus/minus ratio.
• Amazingly, he ranks among the nation's top 50 players in seven different categories, including fifth in steals per game, 19th in minutes per game(36.8), 31st in points per game, 35th in field goals made, 39th in assists per game, and 48th in total assists.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.521), 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 23 straight games, and in 24 of the 25 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 69 career games.
• Has started all 84 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 10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists on .538 shooting (56-104) in Big Sky play.
• In league play, he ranks among the Big Sky's top 12 players in seven categories, including 5th in assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.3), T-7th in assists, 8th in field goal percentage, 9th in minutes, and 12th in both rebounding and free throw percentage (.783).

HORNET NOTABLES

• Zach Mills' 3-point percentage of .533 (16-30) in Big Sky play is the best mark in the league. His career 3-point percentage of .415 is the 5th best mark in school history.
• Alex Tiffin's free throw percentage of .759 (22-29) is not only a career high, but is light years better than last season's percentage of .422 (19-45).
• Nick Hornsby has at least three steals in five of the last six games. He is averaging 3.5 steals during that stretch and is T-5th in the league averaging 1.5 steals in league play.