MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS 2ND ROAD GAME IN 3 DAYS ON SUNDAY AT SEATTLE

MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS 2ND ROAD GAME IN 3 DAYS ON SUNDAY AT SEATTLE

Sacramento State Game Notes (25 pages) - pdf

GAME PREVIEW


• Sacramento State (1-0) is coming off a thrilling 66-63 upset victory at Arizona State on Friday night in which the Hornets went on a 19-8 run over the game's final six minutes.
• The Hornets, who open the season with two road games in three days, will play at Seattle (0-1) on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off at KeyArena is set for 2:05 p.m.
• The Hornets are coming off a record-breaking season in which the team went 21-12 overall and 13-5 in the Big Sky while securing its first overall record above .500, first postseason appearance in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and first postseason win in 53 years.
• The postseason win came in a CIT First Round victory at Portland. In addition, the 21 wins tied for the second most in program history (1948-pres.) and 13 league wins were most ever.
• Seattle opened the season with a 58-56 home loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Friday night in which the Lions scored the game's final five points spanning the last 54 seconds of the contest.
• In a series that dates back to the 1968-69 season, the Hornets and Redhawks have played just four times with Seattle owning a 3-1 record.
• That includes a 66-47 Seattle victory last year at KeyArena. The 19-point defeat was the second worst loss of the season for the Hornets, trailing only a 104-58 loss at Gonzaga.
• Two of the meetings during the series were a home-and-home during the 2009-10 season in which the Hornets won at home (80-69) and Seattle won on its home floor (98-67).
• The only other meeting took place in the season opener of the 1968-69 campaign in which the Redhawks won in Seattle by a 92-82 score.
• Seattle finished with an 18-16 record and played in the championship game of the WAC Tournament last year. The Redhawks advanced to the semifinals of the CBI postseason tournament, which included home victories over Pepperdine and Colorado.
• The Hornets return 10 players from last season's team, including three starters in senior guard Cody Demps, junior center Eric Stuteville and junior forward Nick Hornsby. Demps and Hornsby are team co-captains.

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Seattle is offering a free live video stream of Sunday's game via www.GoSeattleU.com.
• Every game this year will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer with 19th-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.
• Beginning with the Hornets' home opener on Nov. 20, free HD video streams will be provided for all home games this season via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, all road games played in a Big Sky Conference venue will be streamed free.
• Links for all multimedia options, including live stats, can be found next to each game on the men's basketball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

RECAP OF THE ARIZONA STATE VICTORY

• Sacramento State went on a 19-8 run over the game's final six minutes, sparked by Cody Demps' eight points during the final 1:54, as the Hornets knocked off Arizona State, 66-63, in the season opener for both teams.
• The win not only spoiled the head coaching debut of Bobby Hurley at Arizona State, but it also gave Sacramento State its third win over a Pac-12 Conference opponent in six years. That includes wins at Oregon State (2009) and Utah (2012).
• The 19-8 spurt spanned the final 5:58 and saw four different Hornets score, including Demps (11), Marcus Graves (5), Eric Stuteville (2) and Nick Hornsby (1).
• In fact, it was those four players who combined to score 58 of the Hornets' 66 points as Demps matched his career high with 22 points. Graves had scored 20 points in 39 minutes after entering the year with career highs of eight points and 16 minutes.
• The Sun Devils would take their last lead of the game on an Eric Jacobsen layup with 1:41 left, before Demps buried his second 3-pointer in a 30-second span to give the Hornets the lead for good at 62-60 with 1:28 remaining.
• Sacramento State would later add a jumper from Graves (0:51) and two huge free throws from Demps (0:24). Arizona State's Gerry Blakes attempted a well-contested 3-pointer late, but the shot missed and Graves pulled down the rebound as time expired.
• The Hornets converted each of their final five field goal attempts and both free throw attempts in a clutch performance. Sacramento State outrebound Arizona State, 41-34.
• The Hornets shot .464 (26-56) from the field, .353 (6-17) from the 3-point line and .571 (8-14) from the free throw line (box score on page 9).

PAC-12 CONFERENCE SLAYERS

• Sacramento State has now defeated a Pac-12 Conference team three times in the last six years, including victories at Oregon State (2009) and Utah (2012). Each of those wins have come during head coach Brian Katz's tenure with the team.
• The Hornets are still just 4-36 all-time against the Pac-12's current affiliates, but are now 3-5 against the league since 2009.

COMING OFF A RECORD-BREAKING SEASON

• Sacramento State finished the 2014-15 season with a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference. Prior to last season, the Hornets had never finished with an overall record above .500 since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
• The 21 victories were tied for the second most in program history (1948-pres.), and the 13 conference wins were the most in school history (regardless of conference). All of this from a program that had just three winning seasons the previous 38 years.
• The Hornets advanced to the postseason for the first time in the Div. I era, and won at Portland in the first round of the CIT, marking the program's first postseason win in 53 years.
• The Hornets were ranked in the CollegeInsider.com Mid Major Poll for the first time in school history (ranking as high as 14th) and the team finished just one game out of first place in the Big Sky, narrowly missing the program's first league title since 1977.
• The Hornets never lost more than two straight games, and had three winning streaks of at least four games, including a seven gamer, tied for sixth longest in school history.
• The Hornets finished the year 13-2 at home, tied for the most home wins in program history, and were the only Big Sky team to finish league play undefeated at home (9-0).

COACH KATZ THE REIGNING MID-MAJOR COACH OF THE YEAR

• Head coach Brian Katz was named by CollegeInsider.com as the 2015 National Mid-Major Coach of the Year after having already received District 6 Coach of the Year and Big Sky co-Coach of the Year honors.
• He became the first men's hoops coach in school history to win those awards.
• A graduate of Sacramento State, Coach Katz recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the program through at least the 2019-20 season.

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, 10-10 in 2013-14, and finally 13-5 last season.

LEAN YEARS IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

• To put last season's 21-12 and 13-5 records into context, one has to understand how far the program has come 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. That rough stretch ended last year.
• Prior to last 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.

PLAYING WITHOUT GARRITY AND MCKINNEY

• The team will have to compensate for the loss of two of the top players in program history in guards Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity. The combination was the best back court in the Big Sky Conference and one of the best back courts on the West Coast.
• Both players graduated in the spring and are currently enjoying professional careers overseas. McKinney is playing in Belgium, and Garrity is playing in Portugal.
• McKinney was an AP honorable mention All-American and the Big Sky's MVP after averaging 19.2 points, 4.9 assists and 2.4 steals while shooting .507 from the field.
• Garrity earned all-league recognition all four years of his career and is Sacramento State's all-time leader in assists, games played, games started and minutes played.

HORNETS RETURN 10 PLAYERS, INCLUDING 3 STARTERS

• The Hornets return 10 players from last season's team, including three starters in senior guard Cody Demps, junior center Eric Stuteville and junior forward Nick Hornsby.
• Each of those three players started at least 30 games last season, and ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, on the team in scoring.
• All 10 returners have at least one year of playing experience in a Sacramento State uniform, including a pair of fourth-year seniors (Demps, guard Dreon Barlett) and three third-year juniors (Hornsby, Stuteville, guard Trevis Jackson).
• The Hornets were selected to finish in a tie for fourth out of 12 teams in the Big Sky preseason media poll, but were selected 10th in the coaches poll.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Last year, the Hornets were one of just five teams in the nation to rank among the top 10 squads in both field goal percentage (8th, .486) and 3-point percentage (4th, .408).
• In addition, the team was 36th in the nation in free throw percentage (.736).
• The Hornets shot at least .500 from the field on 14 occasions last year.
• The .486 field goal percentage was the second best in school history (.491 in '85-86).
• The .408 3-point percentage was also the second best (.418 in 1987-88).

SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM

• Of the 24 Hornets that have expired their eligibility during Coach Katz's tenure with the program, 22 have graduated.
• The team enters the 2015-16 season with a 3.04 overall grade point average.
• The team's 3.15 gpa during the 2014 fall semester was the highest in school history.

DEMPS AND GRAVES GO OFF AT ARIZONA STATE

• Fourth-year senior Cody Demps (22) and sophomore Marcus Graves (20) combined for 42 of the Hornets' 66 points at Arizona State, and 27 points in the second half.
• Demps, a team co-captain along with Nick Hornsby, is the Hornets' top returner and a player the team will lean upon heavily this season. Demps had eight points in the final 1:54 at Arizona State, including two 3-pointers within a 26-second span (1:54, 1:28).
• As a true freshman, Graves backed up two of the greatest players in school history last season in Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity and entered the season with modest career highs in points (8), rebounds (2), assists (2) and minutes (16).
• He blew each of those marks out of the water at Arizona State, finishing with 20 points, five rebounds, five assists and a game-high 39 minutes of playing time.
• During the Hornets' game-clinching 19-8 run at Arizona State spanning the final six minutes, Demps (11) and Graves (5) combined for 16 points during the spurt.

STAT SHEET STUFFING HORNSBY

• Junior Nick Hornsby, who can play three positions (2, 3 and 4), may be the Hornet most likely to eventually post a triple-double. He had eight points, seven rebounds and three assists in 29 minutes before fouling out with 5:05 left at Arizona State.
• This comes after he posted 14 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in 19 minutes in the team's 103-63 exhibition victory over Simpson.
• He has started 31 of the last 34 games, and had 32 steals over the final 13 games of 2014-15. Impressively, he has added 30 pound of muscle since his freshman season.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Freshman guard Jeff Wu is the first men's basketball player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship.
• Fourth-year senior Dreon Barlett has played in 70 straight games, but Friday's win at Arizona State marked the first start of his career.
• Sophomore Justin Strings (6-7, 235) grew an inch and added 25 pounds in one year.
• Freshmen Joshua Patton and Aaron Harmetz will both redshirt this year.
• Junior center Eric Stuteville had eight points and three rebounds at Arizona State, but perhaps overlooked were his three blocked shots during the game's final four minutes.
• The Hornets' 17 turnovers at Arizona State would have ranked as the team's second worst mark of the 2014-15 season. Sacramento State was 33rd in the nation last season  with an average of just 10.8 turnovers per game.