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MEN'S HOOPS TO FACE EASTERN WASHINGTON IN FRIDAY'S SEMIFINAL ROUND

MEN'S HOOPS TO FACE EASTERN WASHINGTON IN FRIDAY'S SEMIFINAL ROUND

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Tournament Central

HORNETS IN THE BIG SKY TOURNAMENT

• After Sacramento State's 70-60 quarterfinal victory over Portland State on Thursday, the Hornets will play in Friday's semifinal round against Eastern Washington at 4:30 p.m. PDT.
• The Hornets will be making just their third Big Sky Tourney semifinal appearance since joining the league in 1996, and first since the 2005-06 season (2003, 2006).
• Sacramento State has never reached a Big Sky Tournament championship game.
• The other semifinal, which begins at 7 p.m. PST, features Northern Arizona and Montana.
• This year's appearance in the postseason event is the team's second straight and sixth overall.
• The top eight teams in the 12-member league reach the Big Sky Tournament 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 six times, 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 3-5 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.
• The No. 3 is the highest seed the Hornets have ever earned in the Big Sky Tournament.
• In Big Sky Tourney play, the Hornets are 0-2 at home, 2-2 on the road, and 1-1 at neutral.

VS. EASTERN WASHINGTON

• Sacramento State is 14-28 all-time against Eastern Washington, but has won five of the last seven meetings between the two teams dating back to the 2011-12 season.
• The two teams split their season series this year, with the home team winning each time. That included a 90-77 Hornet win in Sacramento, and a 64-61 loss at Eastern Washington.
• The Hornets and Eagles have never faced each other on a neutral court.
• In the two games vs. EWU this year, the Hornets shot .515 (53-103) from the field, .484 (30-39) from the 3-point line and .769 (30-39) from the free throw line.
• In a battle for first place back on Jan. 17, Sacramento State shot a Div. I single-game best .633 (31-49) from the field while dishing out a season-high tying 25 assists to win at the Nest. The Hornets led the final 17:47 of the game and used a 20-8 second-half run.
• In the team's loss in Cheney on Feb. 12, Sacramento State closed the game on a 19-6 run, and had its length of the court pass intercepted as time expired as the Hornets lost to Eastern Washington, 64-61. The Eagles never trailed and converted on 12-of-23 (.522) from distance.
• Five Hornets are averaging at least 8.5 points vs. EWU this year, comprised of Mikh McKinney (17.5), Cody Demps (14.0), Nick Hornsby (9.0), Zach Mills (8.5) and Dylan Garrity (8.5).
• The Hornets have outscored the Eagles by a 75.5 - 70.5 margin this season.

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

• There were four quarterfinal games played Thursday, with No. 2 Eastern Washington beating No. 7 Idaho, 91-83, No. 4 Northern Arizona over No. 5 Northern Colorado, 63-57, and No. 1 Montana defeating No. 8 Weber State in overtime by a 76-73. The Wildcats missed two free throws late in regulation that could have iced the game.
• Friday's semifinals will feature Sacramento State taking on Eastern Washington at 4:30 p.m. PDT, and Northern Arizona facing tourney host Montana 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. 3 Northern Colorado in the semfinals on Friday at 10 a.m. PDT.

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).
• Thursday's win against Portland State in the quarterfinals allowed the Hornets to win 20 games for the first time in the Div. I era, and just the third time in program history.
• The 20 victories are third most in program history, trailing the 1987-88 squad (22) and the 1961-62 team (21).
• The Hornets are ranked 21st in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major poll.
• 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.
• Head coach Brian Katz was named the Big Sky's Co-Coach of the Year, becoming the first Hornet coach in the Div. I era to earn coach of the year accolades.

SHOULD THE HORNETS WIN ON FRIDAY....

• The team would qualify for the Big Sky Tournament championship game for the first time ever as the team is 0-2 in semifinal appearances.
• Sacramento State would win its 21st game, tying for the second most in school history.
• The Hornets would be one win shy of qualifying for the NCAA Div. I Tournament for the first time in school history.
• Sacramento State would make an appearance on ESPNU in Saturday's title game.
• The Hornets would be assured of playing 32 games, which would match for the most in a single season in program history (the 1983-84 squad played 32 games).
• Brian Katz would improve to 7-3 against Eagle head coach Jim Hayford.

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, .486) and 3-point percentage (5th, .408).
• In addition, the team is 40th in the nation in free throw percentage (.736).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 14 occasions this year, and are 12-2 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' 329 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 seven games.
• Sacramento State's +1.30 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 57 points of each other as McKinney is fifth in school history with 1,410 points and Garrity is sixth with 1,353 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 19.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 36.9 minutes per game while shooting .513 (198-386) from the field, .436 (58-133) from the 3-point line and .789 (101-128) from the free throw line.
• A team-best +140 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 (.513) 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 13 straight games, at least 11 points in 28 straight games, and has gone over the 20-point mark on 13 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 (523), games started (113), total minutes played (3,894) and total games played (116).
• He is currently averaging 13.6 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting .468 (132-282) from the field, .403 (71-176) from the 3-point line and .828 (72-87) from the free throw line. He also has a plus/minus ratio of +113.
• Has raised his scoring average every year of his career.