Press conference sound with Coach Katz, McKinney and Garrity
Big Sky Tournament Central
MISSOULA, Mont. -- Mikh McKinney (24), Dylan Garrity (22) and Cody Demps (13) combined for 59 of Sacramento State's 70 points as the Hornets knocked off Portland State, 70-60, in the Big Sky Conference Men's Basketball Quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon at Dahlberg Arena.
With the victory, Sacramento State (20-10) secured its first Big Sky Tournament victory since 2006, and will advance to the semifinals for just the third time since joining the league prior to the 1996-97 season (2006, 2003). The Hornets, who are the No. 3 seed, will face No. 2 Eastern Washington in the semifinals tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. PDT, and the winner of that game will advance to the Big Sky Tournament championship game on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. PDT. Eastern Washington defeated Idaho earlier today by a 91-83 score.
Not only did the Hornets advance, the team also won 20 games for the first time in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and just the third time in program history (1948-pres.). Sacramento State is now just two wins shy of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament, a place the program hasn't been since joining the Div. I ranks. The Hornets also went 3-0 against Portland State this year (including two victories in the regular season), marking the first time the program has gone 3-0 against a team in the same year since the 1981-82 season (Chico State).
In one of the game biggest games of their careers, the Hornets' three-guard attack of McKinney, Garrity and Demps were sparkling, combining for 84 percent of the team's offensive production today. McKinney's 24 points came on 8-of-17 shooting, including 3-for-3 from the 3-point line and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also grabbed five rebounds and played all but two minutes of the contest.
Garrity was remarkable, finishing with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting, to go with a career-high tying six rebounds as well as two assists and a steal. Demps' 13 points accompanied nine rebounds and five assists. All 13 points came in an amazing second half for Demps in which he shot 3-for-3 from the field and 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Four of those free throws came during the game's final 1:06 when Portland State was forced to foul.
Sacramento State used a 23-13 run over the game's final 8:03 to break open what had been a 47-47 tie. During that 23-13 spurt, Demps had nine points, Garrity six points, McKinney five points and Alex Tiffin had three points. Highlights of the run included a 3-point play from Demps in which he got fouled hard and made a bucket while falling to the ground at the 7:22 mark. McKinney hit a 3-pointer with 2:27 left to give the Hornets a 60-54 lead, and on PSU's next possession, Garrity got a steal and subsequent breakaway layup to put the Hornets up eight points with 2:03 to play.
The Vikings would get no closer than six points of the Hornets' lead after the Garrity layup. Sacramento State made each of its final six free throw attempts over the game's final 1:06 to ice the win.
The Hornets finished the game shooting .510 (26-51) from the field, .500 (5-10) from the 3-point line and .867 (13-15) from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Portland State was limited to just .361 (22-61) shooting from the floor, including 6-of-20 from the 3-point line. That included PSU shooting just 30 percent (9-30) from the field in the second half, and missing six of its final seven field goal attempts of the game.
The Vikings (15-14) were able to stay in the game by outrebounding the Hornets, 38-34, and holding a 17-10 advantage in second-chance points. After the Hornets trailed at halftime, 31-27, Sacramento State bounced back by outscoring the Vikings in the second half by a 43-29 margin.
"First off, it feels very nice to be sitting here today one year after losing a heartbreaker in this tournament to North Dakota (79-76)," Sacramento State seventh-year head coach and Big Sky co-Coach of the Year Brian Katz said. "One of our goals was to get back here and see what we can do, and we still have a long ways to go.
"Dylan and Mikh were amazing tonight, and they are as good as any tandem in the country. Both are great leaders and they really helped carry us tonight.
"We will have our hands full with Eastern Washington tomorrow. We will be playing them for the third time this season and there are no secrets now. They know us, and we know them. We have great respect for them, and I expect the game to be a battle."
Outside of McKinney, Garrity and Demps, no other Hornet scored more than five points. Tiffin finished with five points and a steal, Nick Hornsby had four points, four rebounds and two steals, and true freshman Justin Strings had two points and three rebounds in 10 minutes. Seven of those minutes for Strings came in the second half.
For Portland State, Gary Winston had a game-high 26 points on 10-of-14 shooting, 2-of-4 from distance and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. He was joined in double figures by Tiegbe Bamba (13 points, seven rebounds) and DaShaun Wiggins (12 points, four rebounds).
NOTES -- The Hornets are making just their sixth Big Sky Tournament appearance…prior to today's win, no Hornet on the roster had anything more than one game of postseason experience in a Sacramento State uniform…Sacramento State is now 3-5 all-time in Big Sky Tournament play…the team's No. 3 seed is the highest seed for the program since joining the Big Sky…what makes Sacramento State's season thus far so remarkable is the team had entered the season with a 189-475 (.269 winning percentage) record since joining the Div. I ranks…the Hornets' semifinal game against Eastern Washington will be streamed live and free in HD at www.WatchBigSky.com.