MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN ARIZONA IN CIT SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM

MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS NORTHERN ARIZONA IN CIT SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
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CIT Results/Schedule

FIRST DIV. I-ERA POSTSEASON APPEARANCE FOR THE HORNETS

• Fresh off a 73-66 road win at Portland on Wednesday night in the first round of the CIT (CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament), the Hornets (21-11) will host a second round game against Northern Arizona (20-14) at the Nest on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.
• The victory over Portland gave the Hornets their first postseason win in 53 years. The last win in postseason play came in a 74-73 double overtime victory over Nebraska Wesleyan on March 16, 1962, in the NCAA College Division national semifinals.
• Saturday will mark the first home postseason game since the Hornets defeated Cal Poly Pomona, 73-65, on March 10, 1962, inside the Nest at the NCAA Pacific Coast Regionals.
• This year's postseason appearance is the first for Sacramento State during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and first since the team competed at the 1988 NCAA Div. II Tournament.
• The postseason appearance is the fifth in program history (1948-pres.), as the team qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament in 1959, 1962, 1970 and 1988.
• In its seventh year of existence, the CIT started with a 32-team field made up of non-BCS programs that were not selected to the NCAA Tournament or the NIT. The tournament is now down to 16 teams, and should the Hornets advance, the quarterfinal round would be March 24-25, followed by the semifinals (March 30) and championship game (April 1).
• All 31 games during the tournament are played on campus sites, with future round opponents determined by results of the previous round.
• The Hornets were able to earn a CIT berth after putting forth easily the best season in their Div. I era. The team posted their first record above .500 during the Div. I era, won their most conference games (13) in school history, and reached 20 wins for just the third time ever.
• Sacramento State finished in a tie for third place in the Big Sky standings with a 13-5 record, and beat Portland State in the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinals before falling in the semifinal round to eventual conference champion Eastern Washington.

THE MATCHUP -- HORNETS VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA

• Sacramento State and Northern Arizona played twice during the Big Sky Conference season with each team winning on its home floor. The Hornets won at the Nest, 78-73, on Jan. 1, and NAU won in Flagstaff, 70-68, on the final day of the regular season.
• The loss in Flagstaff was especially heartbreaking as the Hornets did not score the final 2:45 of the contest. Had Sacramento State won that game, the Hornets would have won the Big Sky regular season title and hosted the conference tournament.
• The Hornets and Lumberjacks finished tied for third with 13-5 conference records and both lost in the semifinals of the Big Sky Tournament.
• In a series which dates back to 1991, the Hornets are 12-34 all-time against the Lumberjacks, including a 10-13 mark when playing in Sacramento.
• The Hornets have won three of the last four meetings when the teams play at the Nest.
• Hornet head coach Brian Katz is 2-4 against NAU head coach Jack Murphy.
• In the Hornets' win at the Nest on Jan. 1, Sacramento State led for nearly 38 minutes of the contest, and Dylan Garrity had a game-high 26 points. In a game that lasted over two hours, featured 46 combined fouls, 60 free throw attempts and just 14 turnovers, the Hornets shot .510 (26-51) from the field and .692 (9-13) from the 3-point line.
• In the teams' matchup in Flagstaff, the Hornets had a 68-64 lead with 2:46 to play, but NAU closed the game on a 6-0 run. Sacramento State's Mikh McKinney had a good look at a 3-pointer to tie at the buzzer, but the shot drew rim and fell off the mark.
• Five Hornets average at least 9.0 points per game vs. NAU this year, comprised of Garrity (18.0), McKinney (15.0), Eric Stuteville (12.0), Cody Demps (9.0) and Zach Mills (9.0). The Hornets are shooting a robust .586 (17-29) from the 3-point line vs. NAU this season.
• This will mark the third time the two teams have played three times during the course of a season, including 1996-97 and 2005-06 seasons.

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS OF THE TOURNAMENT

• The CIT is offering live and free video of every tournament game. Saturday's game can be watched via www.watchcollegeinsider.com by clicking here. The game will not be streamed via www.WatchBigSky.com.
• The game will be aired live on the radio at KTKZ 1380 AM with 18th-year play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy on the call.
• 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 of the game will be provided by Sacramento State's website by clicking here.

BACK AT HOME....FINALLY

• Exactly one month since the Hornets' last home game, and 5,075 travel miles later, Sacramento State will finally return home to the friendly confines of the Nest.
• The Hornets have played six straight games away from home during that span, and posted a 3-3 record during that stretch.
• Sacramento State is 13-1 at home this year, has won nine straight home games, and was the lone team in the Big Sky to go undefeated in league play (9-0).
• The nine straight home wins are tied for second-longest streak in program history (1971-72 squad). The school record is 12 straight home wins set by the 1961-62 team.
• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 34-8 at the Nest. Each of the final five regular season games this year were sold out.
• Dating back to last year, the Hornets have won a school-record 10 straight home games vs. the Big Sky. Overall, the Hornets have won 21 of their last 23 home games.
• The team's winning percentage at home this year (.929) is the second best in program history (1948-pres.), trailing the 1961-62 squad's perfect 12-0 home record.
 
McKINNEY MVP, GARRITY 2ND TEAM, KATZ COACH OF THE YEAR

• 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.
• 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.
• Garrity was named to the second team. He received honorable mention accolades his first three years, and 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.
• Brian Katz was named the Big Sky Conference's Co-Coach of the Year, sharing the award with Eastern Washington's Jim Hayford.
• Katz becomes the first to receive Big Sky Coach of the Year honors since the program joined the league in 1996, and the first Hornet coach in the Div. I era (1991-pres.).

NOTABLES ON THE SEASON

• Sacramento State had a pair of opportunities to win the program's first-ever Big Sky title and first conference championship since 1977. However, the Hornets lost two nail-biting road games at Southern Utah (69-65) and Northern Arizona (70-68) during the final week of the regular season.
• Instead, Sacramento State traveled to Missoula, Mont., for the Big Sky Tournament where the Hornets beat Portland State in the quarterfinals (70-60) before losing to eventual tournament champion Eastern Washington (91-83) in the semifinals.
• The Hornets' 21 victories are tied for the second most in program history, trailing only the 1987-88 squad's 22 victories.
• At 21-11, Sacramento State easily has its most wins in the Div. I era, and most since the 1987-88 Div. II squad posted a 22-8 record.
• The 13 Big Sky wins were the most since joining the league in 1996, 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.

HORNETS IN POSTSEASON PLAY

• The CIT marks just the program's fifth postseason appearance (four NCAA Div. II appearances) in program history, and first during the Div. I era.
• Sacramento State had not appeared in the postseason (other than conference tournaments) since the 1987-88 squad qualified for the NCAA Div. II Tournament.
• The Hornets are 5-7 all-time in postseason play, with the first four wins coming in the 1962 NCAA Tournament when the team finished as College Division runner-ups after losing to Mount Saint Mary's, 58-57, in overtime in the national championship game.
• Sacramento State is 2-0 all-time at home during postseason play, and that came on back-to-back days on March 9-10, 1962, when the Hornets defeated Seattle Pacific (68-57) and Cal Poly Pomona (73-65), respectively, in the NCAA Pacific Coast Regionals.
• Prior to the Hornets' win at Portland on Wednesday, the Hornets went 4-1 at the 1962 NCAA Tournament, and 0-2 in the NCAA Tournaments in 1959, 1970 and 1988.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State ranks among the top 10 teams in the nation in both field goal percentage (9th, .487) and 3-point percentage (4th, .411).
• In addition, the team is 36th in the nation in free throw percentage (.735).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 15 occasions this year, and are 13-2 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' 21-11 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.

PLENTY OF CLOSE GAMES

• The Hornets are 5-2 in games decided by three points or less, 7-4 in games decided by five points or less, and 12-5 in games decided by single digits.

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 62 points of each other as McKinney is fourth in school history with 1,450 points and Garrity is sixth with 1,388 points.
• Against Portland, McKinney moved past former All-American Lynn Livie into fourth place. The third-year senior now ranks as the program's all-time leading scorer among Hornets that did not play four years with the program.

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 19.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.5 steals and 36.9 minutes per game while shooting .516 (212-411) from the field, .447 (63-141) from the 3-point line and .800 (108-135) from the free throw line.
• A team-best +126 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 60 players in 10 different categories, including seventh in steals per game.
• His field goal percentage (.516) is the sixth best mark in the nation among guards.

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 (525), games started (115), total minutes played (3,958) and total games played (118).
• He is currently averaging 13.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game while shooting .461 (142-308) from the field, .404 (78-193) from the 3-point line and .833 (80-96) from the free throw line. He also has a plus/minus ratio of +115.