MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY TOURNEY PLAY THURSDAY VS. PORTLAND STATE

MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY TOURNEY PLAY THURSDAY VS. PORTLAND STATE

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Portland State Game Notes
Big Sky Conference standings

HORNETS IN THE BIG SKY TOURNAMENT


• No. 3 seed Sacramento State (19-10, 13-5) will take on No. 6 Portland State (15-13, 9-9) on Thursday at 12:35 p.m. PDT in the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals in Missoula, Mont.
• Sacramento State's appearance in this year's Big Sky Tournament will be the team's second straight and sixth since joining the league in 1996.
• No player on the Hornet roster has more than one game of postseason experience.
• The top eight teams in the 12-member league reach the postseason event and the Hornets qualified as the No. 3 seed by virtue of tying for third place with Northern Arizona.
• Sacramento State has beaten every team in this year's tournament as the Hornets did not get swept in a season series against any team in the Big Sky.
• Since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97, the Hornets have reached the Big Sky Tournament five times previously, and that happened four straight years from 2002-03 through the 2005-06 seasons, and again last year in a 79-76 loss in the quarterfinals to North Dakota in Ogden.
• Sacramento State is 2-5 all-time in tournament play, including semifinal appearances in 2003 and 2006. The Hornets hosted quarterfinal games in 2004 and 2005, and lost to Weber State by six points or less both times.
• In the three seasons where Sacramento State played its quarterfinal game away from home, the Hornets are 2-1, winning at Montana in 2003 and Montana State in 2006.
• The No. 3 is the highest seed the Hornets have ever been in the Big Sky Tournament. The Hornets were the No. 4 seed in both the 2004 and 2005 tournaments, the No. 5 in 2006, No. 6 in 2003, and No. 7 last season.
• In Big Sky Tourney play, the Hornets are 0-2 at home, 2-2 on the road, and 0-1 at neutral.

VS. PORTLAND STATE

• Sacramento State is 14-26 all-time against Portland State, but has won each of the last three meetings between the two teams dating back to last year.
• That includes the Hornets' season sweep of the Vikings this year, just the second time Sacramento State has swept PSU (2005-06 season) since the two teams joined the Big Sky in 1996.
• In this year's meetings, Portland State was limited to 60 points in each game as the Hornets won in Sacramento on Feb. 7 (64-60), and in Portland on Feb. 28 (73-60).
• Thursday will mark the first time ever the Hornets and Vikings will meet on a neutral floor.
• In the Hornets' win at Portland State, Sacramento State broke open what had been a close game by going on a 20-9 run over the final 6:11 of the contest.
• In the win in Sacramento, Mikh McKinney (17) and Dylan Garrity (16) combined for 33 of the Hornets' 64 points, and neither team led by more than six points the final 18:25 of the game. After a PSU turnover with 18 seconds left, a pair of Garrity free throws sealed the win.
• Two Hornets average double figures vs. the Vikings this year, comprised of McKinney (19.0 points, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals, .500 FG%) and Garrity (15.5 points, 3.5 assists, .524 FG%).
• The Hornets have shot .472 from the field and .409 from the 3-point line vs. PSU, and Sacramento State has outscored the Vikings in points off turnovers by a wide margin (35-11).

McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY MVP, GARRITY IS SECOND TEAM

• Senior guards and team co-captains Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity, who are one of the best back courts on the Mid Major level, both received all-Big Sky recognition on Monday.
• McKinney was named Big Sky MVP, becoming the first Hornet to receive MVP honors since Nate Robinson was the Far Western Conference co-Player of the Year in 1977.
• In addition, Garrity, who received honorable mention accolades his first three seasons, becomes the first Hornet to receive all-Big Sky recognition four times.
• McKinney was also a unanimous first team selection for the second straight year, and becomes the first Hornet to receive first team all-Big Sky accolades on more than one occasion.

BIG SKY TOURNAMENT FORMAT

• On Thursday, there will be four quarterfinal games played, including No. 2 Eastern Washington vs. No. 7 Idaho at 10 a.m. PDT, followed by No. 3 Hornets vs. No. 6 Portland State at 12:30 p.m. PDT, No. 4 Northern Arizona vs. No. 5 Northern Colorado at 4:30 p.m. PDT, and finally top seed and tournament host Montana facing No. 8 Weber State at 7 p.m. PDT.
• In Friday's semifinals, the winner of the UI/EWU and PSU/SAC games will play at 4:30 p.m. PDT, and the winner of UNC/NAU and WSU/UM will play at 7 p.m. PDT.
• The championship game, which will be televised live on ESPNU, is Saturday at 6 p.m. PDT.
• The tournament host has won each of the last four Big Sky Tournament titles.
• Montana is also hosting the Big Sky women's tournament and the No. 2 Hornet women will face No. 7 Montana State on Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT in their quarterfinal round game.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS OF THE TOURNAMENT

• Each of the four quarterfinal games and two semifinal games from this year's tournament will be available for free on www.WatchBigSky.com. Press conferences from all of the games will be available for fans as well. Watch Big Sky can be accessed on your computer at www.watchbigsky.com. The free Watch Big Sky App can be downloaded through the Apple Store or Google Play.
• Saturday's championship game will be televised live on ESPNU starting at 6 p.m PDT. The championship game will not be available on Watch Big Sky.
• Thursday's game and every other game the Hornets play (should they advance) will be aired live on the radio at KTKZ 1380 AM and www.hornetsports.com with play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy on the call.

NOTABLES ON THE SEASON

• Last week, Sacramento State had two opportunities to win the program's first-ever Big Sky title and first conference championship since 1977. However, the Hornets lost a pair of nail biting road games at Southern Utah (69-65) and Northern Arizona (70-68).
• The Hornets allowed late leads to slip away in both games, failing to score the final 2:38 against Southern Utah, and the final 2:45 at Northern Arizona.
• Currently ranked 21st in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll, the Hornets' 19 victories are the third most in program history.
• At 19-10, Sacramento State has its second best record after 29 games in program history (1948-pres.), trailing only the 1987-88 squad's 22-7 record.
• The 13 Big Sky wins are the most ever, and no Hornet squad in program history (regardless of conference) had ever won 13 league games.
• What makes the Hornets' record so remarkable is, entering the year, the Hornets had just three winning seasons in the last 38 years, and zero since joining Div. I in 1991.
• The Hornets went 13-1 at home, and were the only Big Sky team to go undefeated at home in league play (9-0).
• The team's 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.

SHOULD THE HORNETS WIN ON THURSDAY....

• The Hornets would win their first Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal game since knocking off Montana State in Bozeman during the 2005-06 season.
• Sacramento State would win 20 games for just the third time in school history, joining the 1987-88 squad (22-8), and the 1961-62 team (21-10).
• The Hornets would go 3-0 against a team during the same season for the first time since posting a 3-0 record against Chico State during the 1981-82 season.
• The Hornets would advance to the Big Sky Tournament semifinals for just the third time ever, joining the 2002-03 and 2005-06 squads.
• Sacramento State would be two wins away from qualifying for the program's first-ever NCAA Div. I Tournament appearance.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just four teams in the nation to rank among the top 11 squads in both field goal percentage (11th, .485) and 3-point percentage (6th, .406).
• In addition, the team is 40th in the nation in free throw percentage (.732).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 13 occasions this year, and are 11-2 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).

LEAN YEARS IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put the Hornets' 19-10 and 13-5 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.
• 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, from 1997 until 1999.

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.

MANY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

• The Hornets are 5-2 in games decided by three points or less, 7-4 in games decided by five points or less, and 11-4 in games decided by single digits.
• Of the Hornets' 13 conference wins, nine came by eight points or less.
• The close games did not go the Hornets' way last week when the team dropped two of the biggest games in program history by four points or less.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL

• The Hornets' 318 turnovers are the 22nd best mark in the nation, and the team's average of 9.4 turnovers per game in conference play is easily the best mark in the Big Sky.
• The Hornets have committed seven turnovers or less in five of the last six games.
• Sacramento State's +1.32 assist-to-turnover ratio is the 33rd best mark in the nation.

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.
• Of the 21 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under Katz, 19 have graduated.

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 55 points of each other as McKinney is fifth in school history with 1,386 points and Garrity is sixth with 1,331 points.

McKINNEY THE PROGRAM'S FIRST BIG SKY MVP

• The program's first-ever Big Sky MVP, and a program-record four-time Big Sky Player of the Week selection, Mikh McKinney is averaging 19.0 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.6 steals and 36.9 minutes per game while shooting .515 (190-369) from the field, .423 (55-130) from the 3-point line and .780 (96-123) from the free throw line.
• A team-best +128 in plus/minus ratio, and the first Hornet to be named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Watch List, he ranks among the nation's top 65 players in 10 different categories, including seventh in steals per game.
• His field goal percentage (.515) is the sixth 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 (+2.4).
• Has scored at least 15 points in 12 straight games, at least 11 points in 27 straight games, and has gone over the 20-point mark on 12 occasions.

GARRITY THE FACE OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF HORNET HOOPS

• Fourth-year senior Dylan Garrity has established himself as the face of the transformation of Sacramento State basketball from an afterthought to a title contender.
• The Hornets have improved their conference record all four years of Garrity's career, and he is Sacramento State's all-time leader in assists (521), games started (112) and total minutes played (3,857). He ranks among the program's top 10 in 13 categories.
• He is currently averaging 13.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting .455 (122-268) from the field, .406 (69-170) from the 3-point line and .837 (72-86) from the free throw line. He also has a plus/minus ratio of +101.
• Has raised his scoring average every year of his career.