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MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST

MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf) - 24 pages
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• After a one-year hiatus, Sacramento State and UC Davis will renew their long-standing rivalry on Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 7:05 p.m. inside the Nest.
• The Hornets are 3-0 for just the third time in school history (1948-pres.). The 2012-13 and 1999-00 squads also accomplished the feat. The Hornets are looking to start 4-0 for just the second time ever (the 1999-00 squad began the year 4-0).
• The Hornets opened the year with impressive road wins at Arizona State (66-63) and Seattle (77-65) before a 40-point win in the home opener vs. Holy Names on Friday.
• Tuesday will mark the second leg of a season-long four-game homestand that will see the Hornets play South Dakota (Nov. 28) and Pacific (Nov. 29) as part of this weekend's four-team Sacramento State Invitational inside the Nest.
• In a series that dates back to the 1948-49 season, Sacramento State owns a 65-47 all-time record against UC Davis, including wins in four of the last six meetings.
• However, the Hornets have dropped two straight to the Aggies in Sacramento with the last win inside the Nest coming on Dec. 3, 2008, an 82-70 win during head coach Brian Katz's first season with the program.
• The 112 meetings with UC Davis marks the longest standing rivalry for the Hornet basketball program against any team.
• The last meeting between the two schools came on Nov. 26, 2013, a 73-67 win at the Pavilion in which Mikh McKinney scored a game-high 25 points.
• The Hornets have won 14 of their last 16 games inside the Nest dating back to last year. That includes a 13-2 mark inside the friendly confines last season, tying for the most single-season home wins in school history.
• The Hornets are coming off a 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 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.

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Free HD video streams will be provided for every home game this season via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, all road games played in a Big Sky Conference venue will be streamed free on www.WatchBigSky.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 every game via www.hornetsports.com.
• 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 HOLY NAMES VICTORY

• Five Hornets scored in double figures, led by senior Cody Demps' game-high 15 points, as Sacramento State cruised to a 96-56 victory over Holy Names on Friday.
• The Hornets started the game off slowly as the Hawks jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the contest. However, Sacramento State immediately responded with a 16-2 run over the next five minutes, and cruised the rest of the way.
• Sacramento State shot .610 (36-59) from the field, a blistering .526 (10-19) from the 3-point line and .636 (14-22) from the free throw line.
• The Hornets shot at least 58 percent from the field in both halves and had six different players convert at least one 3-pointer.
• Sacramento State also had 26 assists on 36 made buckets and finished with 11 blocks and seven steals. The 11 blocks tied for the highest single-game mark in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the 26 assists were one shy of the Div. I single-game record.
• Sacramento State got huge production from its bench again (48 points) and held large advantages in fast break points (28-4) and points in the paint (46-24).
• The only real blemish in the game was Sacramento State committing an uncharacteristic 19 turnovers which directly led to 24 Hawk points.
• All 12 active players on Sacramento State's roster not only played in the game, but all 12 cracked into the scoring column and played at least eight minutes.
• Five Hornets scored in double figures, comprised of Demps (15), Justin Strings (14), Eric Stuteville (13), Mason Stuteville (career-high 13) and Marcus Graves (13).

HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE

• Sacramento State went 13-2 at home last season, including a nine-game home winning streak. They were the lone team in the Big Sky to go undefeated at home in league play (9-0).
• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 35-9 (.795 winning percentage) at the Nest. Each of the final six home games of last season were sold out.
• Dating back to the 2013-14 season, the Hornets have won a school-record 10 straight home games vs. the Big Sky. Overall, the Hornets have won 22 of their last 25 home games.

PAC-12 CONFERENCE SLAYERS

• With the win at Arizona State, 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. Sacramento State will play at Stanford later this year.

PRODUCTION FROM THE BENCH

• Sacramento State has gotten big production from the bench this season, as reserves are averaging a robust 29.3 points per game this season.
• That includes 35 points off the bench at Seattle and 48 points vs. Holy Names.
• Of the team's top five scorers, two come off the bench in forward Justin Strings (10.7 ppg) and guard Jeff Wu (6.7 ppg).
• The Hornets have started the same five players in each game thus far, and each of the seven reserves are averaging at least two points per contest.
• Sacramento State's bench outscored Seattle's bench, 35-16, in the Hornets' first-ever win against the Redhawks in Seattle.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

• Sophomore Marcus Graves, who received Big Sky Player of the Week and National Mid-Major Player of the Week honors last Monday, is averaging 19.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 2.0 steals, has a 3.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio and is shooting .541 from the field.
• While the Hornet coaching staff and teammates have not been surprised by that output, many observers have been....Graves averaged just 1.2 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 5.3 minutes in 13 games last year as a true freshman.
• Graves dropped 20 points at Arizona State, added 24 at Seattle and 13 vs. Holy Names.
• In fact, Graves already has more points, rebounds, assists and minutes than all of last year.
• The reason for last year's lack of playing time is he played behind a four-year starter (Dylan Garrity) and three-year starter (Mikh McKinney) at the guard spot.

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, the program's first postseason win in 53 years.

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.
• 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.
• 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.

PERIMETER DEFENSE

• Amazingly, the Hornets' three opponents this year have combined to shoot just 12-for-73 (.164) from the 3-point line.
• Arizona State shot just .118 (2-for-17) from distance, Seattle hoisted at .148 (4-for-27) and Holy Names wasn't much better at .207 (6-for-29).

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.

FREE THROW PERCENTAGE NEEDS TO GET BETTER

• Last year's Hornet squad shot its free throws at a .736 clip, 36th best in the nation.
• Though still very early, this year's edition of the Hornets has struggled badly from the charity stripe, as the team shoots freebies at just .571 (36-for-63).
• Sacramento State has shot 63 percent or below from the line in all three games.
• Of the 12 Hornets on the active roster, eight are shooting .500 or less from the stripe.

PULLING BOARDS

• Sacramento State has outrebounded the opposition by 4.3 rebounds per game, including a 41-34 edge in the rebounding department at Arizona State.
• The Hornets currently have five players averaging at least five rebounds per game, comprised of Nick Hornsby (7.0), Eric Stuteville (5.7), Justin Strings (5.3), Cody Demps (5.3) and Marcus Graves (5.0). Both Demps and Graves are guards.

STRINGS MAKING MOST OF INCREASED PLAYING TIME

• Like Marcus Graves, sophomore forward Justin Strings did not play much last year, but has taken full advantage of his increased playing time this season.
• Strings is averaging 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 24.3 minutes and is shooting .609 (14-for-23) after averaging just 0.8 points, 0.7 rebounds and 4.2 minutes last season.
• Strings, who has pulled at five rebounds or more in each game, has scored at least 13 points in back-to-back games after never scoring more than six points last year.
• Strings (6-foot-7, 235 pounds), who grew an inch and added 25 pounds in one year, has shown the ability to score on the inside and on the perimeter.

DEMPS STILL DOING IT ALL

• Fourth-year senior Cody Demps, who has started 66 straight games dating back to his sophomore season, was anointed a team co-captain this year.
• The best defender on the team, Demps, who can play four positions, is currently averaging 13.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 28.0 minutes per game.
• The quiet leader averaged 9.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 33.5 minutes last year when he was the team's third leading scorer.
• Demps, who is one of the most underrated players in the Big Sky Conference, has been playing minutes at the point this year after spending the last couple years as a swingman.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Freshman guard Jeff Wu, the first men's basketball player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship, has 20 points, five assists and six rebounds over the last two games.
• Fourth-year senior Dreon Barlett has played in 72 straight games, but the first three starts of his career have come over the last three games.
• Junior co-captain Nick Hornsby, who has a team-high tying plus/minus ratio of +45, has at least five rebounds in each game and is averaging a team-high 7.0 rpg.
• Junior center Eric Stuteville had 13 points and 11 rebounds vs. Holy Names, marking the second double-double of his career.