MBB PLAYS AT STANFORD ON MONDAY; 1ST GAME VS. CARDINAL SINCE 2007

MBB PLAYS AT STANFORD ON MONDAY; 1ST GAME VS. CARDINAL SINCE 2007

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• After a long layoff for Finals Week, Sacramento State (6-3) returns to the hardwood when the team travels to Maples Pavilion on Monday, Dec. 21, for its first matchup with Stanford (5-4) in eight years. Tip-off is set for 8:10 p.m.
• The game will be televised live on Pac-12 Bay Area with play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson and color analyst Bill Walton calling all the action.
• Monday will mark the Hornets' second appearance on a Pac-12 channel this season, including the team's 66-63 win at Arizona State in the season opener on Nov. 13.
• The Hornets have gone eight days without a game, their longest stretch of the year.
• After opening the season with a 4-0 record, the Hornets have dropped three of their last five games, including an 81-73 loss at Portland on Dec. 12, the team's largest margin of defeat this season.
• Still, the team's 6-3 record matches its best mark after nine games during the Div. I era (1991-pres.), and best since the 1987-88 Div. II team began 7-2. The 2012-13, 2005-06 and 1988-89 teams also began the year 6-3.
• Each of the Hornets' three losses have come by eight points or less. In fact, each of the Hornets' last six games (win or lose) have been decided by eight points or fewer.
• Including the win over Arizona State in the season opener, the Hornets have three wins over Pac-12 Conference opponents in the last six years.
• Sacramento State and Stanford will be playing for the fifth time, as the Cardinal own a 4-0 record in the series with each of those wins by coming by at least 18 points. All four games have taken place at Stanford.
• The two teams have not played since an 84-58 Stanford win on Nov. 27, 2007, at Maples Pavilion (box on pg 10). In that game, eventual NBA players Robin Lopez (13 points, five blocked shots) and Landry Fields (five points, three rebounds) both played.
• The two teams also played during the 2003-04 season (77-59 STAN win), 1999-00 season (78-56 STAN win) and 1992-93 season (68-33 STAN win).
• Monday will mark the Hornets' final non-conference road game of the season.
• Sacramento State will play the second leg of a stretch that will see the team play five of six games on the road as the Hornets have one home game between now and Jan. 13.

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• The game is being televised live on Pac-12 Bay Area. In addition, a video stream of the game will be provided via www.pac-12.com/live.
• Free HD video streams will be provided for every home game this season via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, after Monday's contest at Stanford, every road game the rest of the way will be streamed free on www.WatchBigSky.com.
• Like every game this year, Monday's game 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.

HORNETS' LAST GAME; 81-73 LOSS AT PORTLAND

• Portland held an advantage for nearly 36 minutes of game clock, jumped out to a 46-32 halftime lead and led by at least six points the entire second half on the way to an 81-73 victory over Sacramento State at the Chiles Center.
• In a rematch of last year's CIT first round game in which Sacramento State won at Portland by a 73-66 score, it was the Pilots who got their revenge.
• Portland led nearly the entire game as Sacramento State shot just .397 (23-58) from the field and .304 (7-23) from the 3-point line. The Hornets were also badly outrebounded, 45-34, as Portland held an 18-5 advantage in second-chance points.
• Sacramento State's largest lead of the game was two points at 7-5 early in the first half (17:27), but Portland responded with an 8-0 run and led the rest of the way.
• The Pilots held a 46-32 advantage at halftime, easily the Hornets' largest deficit at the break all season. In addition, Portland led by as many as 16 points, the Hornets' largest overall deficit this year.
• Sacramento State trailed by double figures a good portion of the second half as a 3-pointer from Cody Demps made it a two-possession game (79-73) with 19 seconds remaining. However, by then, the game had long been decided as Portland didn't shoot much better (.403 FG%, .375 3FG%) from the field, but used its substantial second-chance point advantage to give Sacramento State the loss.

OFFENSE AVERAGING NEARLY 80 POINTS PER GAME

• Sacramento State's offense is averaging nearly 78 points per game (77.7), the fourth best mark in the 12-team Big Sky Conference.
• The Hornets have scored better than 70 points in all but two games. The only games under that mark were the 66-63 win at Arizona State, and 66-61 road loss at UC Davis.
• During the Div. I era (1991-pres.), the Hornets have never averaged more than 75.8 points per game in any season, and haven't averaged more than 71.0 points since 2006-07.

AGAINST THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE

• 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 is attempting to beat a pair of Pac-12 teams in the same year for the first time in program history (1948-pres.).

HORNETS WIN DESPITE THREE LARGE 2ND HALF DEFICITS

• Of Sacramento State's six wins this season, three have come despite the Hornets trailing by eight points or more in the second half.
• That includes a 10-point deficit at Arizona State (11:37 to play), nine points at Seattle (15:16 to play), and eight points vs. UC Davis (16:41 to play).

MOVING AND TAKING CARE OF THE BALL

• Sacramento State is currently first in the Big Sky in both assist-to-turnover ratio (+1.4) and turnover margin (+2.22), and second in assists (17.3 per game).
• The Hornets are now tied for 32nd in the nation in assists per game, and have 156 assists on 252 made buckets (assists on 62 percent of converted field goals).
• Amazingly, the Hornets' back court of Cody Demps (5.8 apg) and Marcus Graves (4.7 apg) rank first and third, respectively, in the Big Sky in assists per game.
• Sacramento State has committed 12 turnovers or less in all but three games, and both  Demps (2nd; +2.1) and Graves (3rd; +2.0) rank among the Big Sky's top three in assist-to-turnover ratio.

THE NEED FOR MORE REBOUNDING

• Sacramento State has now failed to ourebound an opponent in six straight games
• During that six-game stretch, the Hornets have been outrebounded by 5.9 boards per game. That includes a 45-34 deficit in the Hornets' last game at Portland.
• Second chance points has become a concern as the Hornets are being victimized for an average of 13.7 opponent second-chance points during the six-game run.
• Overall, the Hornets are being outrebounded by 2.4 rebounds per game, and the team has outrebounded just two opponents thus far (Arizona State, Div. II Holy Names).

CONTINUITY IN THE STARTING LINEUP

• Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz has used the same starting lineup in all nine games, consisting of guards Cody Demps, Marcus Graves and Dreon Barlett, forward Nick Hornsby and center Eric Stuteville.
• Three of those players have long starting streaks. Demps has started 72 straight games dating back to his sophomore season, Stuteville has started 40 of the last 42 games, and Hornsby has started 38 of the last 41 games.

PRODUCTION FROM THE BENCH

• Sacramento State has gotten nice production from the bench this season, as reserves are averaging 25.7 points per game.
• Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz has primarily used a rotation of 10 players this season after using an eight-man rotation during the Hornets' 21-win season a year ago.
• Leading the way has been sixth-man Justin Strings who is third on the team averaging 13.9 points on .590 shooting (46-78) from the field and .444 (16-36) from the 3-point line.
• Sacramento State has received at least 24 points from its bench in six of the nine games, including 35 points at Seattle, 30 at UC Davis and 28 vs. South Dakota and Incarnate Word.

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).
• 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 in 2008-09, including last year's 13-5 mark.
• Last year, Coach Katz was named as CollegeInsider.com's National Mid-Major Coach of the Year, District 6 Coach of the Year and Big Sky Conference co-Coach of the Year.
• 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.

STRINGS AND GRAVES TAKE DRAMATIC JUMPS IN PRODUCTION

• Sacramento State sophomores Marcus Graves (guard) and Justin Strings (forward) have seen dramatic jumps in production compared to a season ago, and are two big reasons for the Hornets' 6-3 record through nine games.

Player - Minutes ('14-15) - Points ('14-15) - Minutes ('15-16) - Points ('15-16)
Marcus Graves - 5.3 -  1.2 - 34.8 - 14.9
Justin Strings - 4.2 - 0.8 - 26.2 - 13.9

• Graves, after scoring 16 points all of last season, has already scored at least 20 on three occasions this year and is averaging a team-high 14.9 points to go along with 3.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game. The steals are 21st best in the nation.
• Strings, who grew an inch and put on 25 pounds of muscle in the last year, is averaging 13.9 points and 4.8 rebounds off the bench. After scoring 21 points all of last season, he has scored at least 13 points on seven occasions this year.
• Strings can bang on the inside and stroke from the perimeter as he is shooting .590 (46-78) from the field and a team-best .444 (16-36) from the 3-point line.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE SECOND HALF

• Sacramento State is outscoring the opposition by an average of 5.0 points in the second half this season, and the team is 5-1 when leading or tied at halftime.
• Sacramento State is 3-0 when leading with 10 minutes to play, 3-0 when leading with five minutes to play and 1-0 when tied at the five-minute mark..

DEMPS PLAYING LIKE A FOURTH-YEAR SENIOR & TEAM CAPTAIN

• Fourth-year senior and team co-captain Cody Demps has produced an impressive stat line of 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting .442 (46-104) from the field and .417 (10-24) from 3-point line.
• The best defender on the team, Demps has played four positions during his career with the Hornets, and has received the majority of this year's minutes at point guard.
• The quiet leader has started 72 straight games dating back to his sophomore season.
• Demps leads the Big Sky and is 33rd in the nation with the 5.8 assists per game while his +2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks second in the Big Sky.
• He has scored at least 14 points seven times, and has two points in the other two games.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Forward Nick Hornsby saw his streak of at least seven rebounds come to a close at five straight games after grabbing three while dealing with foul trouble at Portland. He is now first on the Hornets and sixth in the league with an average of 7.4 rebounds per game.
• Center Eric Stuteville, who has a team-best +47 in plus/minus ratio, has seven blocks in the last two games and is tied for first in the Big Sky with 1.9 blocked shots per game.
• Freshman Jeff Wu, who is the first men's basketball player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship, has 22 points over the last three games on 9-of-16 shooting from the field.
• Fourth-year senior Dreon Barlett is shooting .423 (58-137) for his career from the 3-point line, the fourth best mark in program history among players with 50 makes.