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MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS PACIFIC UNION ON MONDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME

MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS PACIFIC UNION ON MONDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME

Sacramento State Game Notes - pdf
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Sacramento State (6-4) will play for the first time in eight days when the team hosts Pacific Union (4-3) on Monday night at the Nest at 7:05 p.m.
• Monday will mark the final non-conference game of the season as the Hornets open Big Sky Conference play on Saturday, Jan. 2, at Portland State.
• The Hornets will be playing Pacific Union for the first time ever. The Pioneers are an NAIA program from Angwin, Calif. in Napa County.
• Sacramento State last played on Monday, Dec. 21, in a 70-60 loss at Stanford in which the Hornets and Cardinal were tied with 5:47 to play in the game.
• The Hornets have lost two in a row, marking their first losing streak of the season.
• Three of the last four games for the Hornets have come on the road, and Monday will mark just the second home game for the team during the entire month of December.
• Monday marks the lone home game during a six-game stretch that will see Sacramento State begin the Big Sky season with three straight road games.
• With a win on Monday, the Hornets would secure their most victories (7) prior to the start of the conference schedule since the 2005-06 team accumulated nine.
• Sacramento State is 4-1 at home this season and has outscored the opposition by an average of 10.0 points per game inside the Nest.
• Monday will mark just the second game in a span of 16 days as the Hornets did not play for eight days prior to the Stanford game because of Finals Week.
• Although Pacific Union is 4-3, the Pioneers will have played 15 games by the time they square off with the Hornets on Monday.
• Including a game on Sunday at Fresno State and Monday's game against the Hornets, Pacific Union will have played eight exhibition games. That includes losses to San Jose State, Weber State and Santa Clara.
• The Pioneers' last win came against Life Pacific College (54-51) on Nov. 24. Since that time, they have lost six straight games (three were exhibition contests).
• Sacramento State has won 29 straight games against non-Div. I programs, including a 96-56 home victory against Holy Names on Nov. 20.

RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Free live video streams will be provided for every game the rest of the season via www.WatchBigSky.com. All home games will be streamed in HD.
• 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.
• Live stats will be available for every game the rest of the way, and live stats for all home games can be found at www.hornetsports.com.

HORNETS' LAST GAME; 70-60 LOSS AT STANFORD

• Stanford used a 14-4 run spanning the final 5:08 and the Cardinal went on to defeat Sacramento State, 70-60, on Monday, Dec. 21, at Maples Pavilion.
• The 14-4 run coincided with center Eric Stuteville's fifth and final foul. Stuteville had a career-best 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field before fouling out at the 5:08 mark. He scored 12 of those points in the second half.
• Stuteville was one of two Hornets to foul out during the later stages of the game, as fourth-year senior Cody Demps picked up his fifth foul with 3:45 remaining.
• Sacramento State had used a 14-4 run to erase a 52-42 deficit and tie the game at 56-56 with 5:47 to play. Stuteville scored nine points during the run, including three layups and a dunk. However, Stuteville was whistled for his fifth and final foul on a three-point play from Stanford's Rosco Allen, thwarting the Hornets' momentum.
• The Cardinal (6-4) would never trail again as the Hornets cut the deficit to one point at 59-58 with 4:43 remaining, and had the score at 63-60 with 3:39 left, but would get no closer. Stanford scored each of the game's final seven points.
• Sacramento State was whistled for 26 fouls in the contest (compared to just 13 called on Stanford), and four of the Hornets' five starters picked up at least four fouls.
• Stanford, which was held to just .385 (25-of-65) shooting from the field, held healthy advantages over Sacramento State in second-chance points (20-9) and points off turnovers (16-6). The Cardinal had 19 offensive rebounds while turning the ball over just six times, the lowest amount by a Hornet opponent all season.

AGAINST NON-DIV. I COMPETITION

• Sacramento State has won 29 straight games against non-Div. I competition, a streak which dates back to 1997.
• Each of the 29 wins have come at home, including a 96-56 win vs. Holy Names this year.
• The Hornets have won those 29 games by an average of 25.0 points per game, ranging from the smallest margin of defeat (nine points) all the way to a 44-point victory.
• The Hornets' last loss to a non-Div. I squad came in a 66-59 home defeat to Div. II UC Davis during the 1997-98 season.
• Overall, since joining the Div. I ranks prior to the 1991-92 season, the Hornets are 33-3 against non-Div. I competition, with each of those three losses coming to UC Davis.

HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 38-10 (.792 winning percentage) at the Nest. That includes wins in 25 of the last 29 home games.
• 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).
• The Hornets are 4-1 at home this season, which includes wins over the two closest Div. I programs in proximity to Sacramento (84-79 over UC Davis, 79-71 over Pacific).

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 (+1.50), and second in assists (16.9 per game).
• The Hornets are 40th in the nation in assists per game, and have 169 assists on 275 made buckets (61% assisted baskets), leading to a .461 field goal percentage (3rd in Big Sky).
• The Hornets' back court of Cody Demps (1st; 6.0 apg) and Marcus Graves (5th; 4.5 apg) are the only teammates in the Big Sky to both rank among the top five in the league in assists.
• Sacramento State has committed 12 turnovers or less seven times, and both  Demps (1st; +2.2) and Graves (3rd; +1.9) 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 seven straight games.
• During that seven-game stretch, the Hornets have been outrebounded by 6.0 boards per game. That includes a disparity of 3.4 offensive rebounds per game.
• Second chance points have become a major concern as the Hornets are being victimized for an average of 14.6 opponent second-chance points during the seven-game run. That includes allowing Stanford a whopping 20 second-chance points.
• Overall, the Hornets are being outrebounded by 2.9 rebounds per game (9th in Big Sky), and the team has outrebounded just two opponents (Arizona State, Div. II Holy Names).

STARTING LINEUP CHANGES FOR THE FIRST TIME

• Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz used the same starting lineup in each of the first nine games, consisting of guards Cody Demps, Marcus Graves and Dreon Barlett, forward Nick Hornsby and center Eric Stuteville.
• That streak ended at Stanford when sophomore Justin Strings replaced Barlett in the starting lineup. That switch occurred because Barlett had to miss the game with injury. That ended Barlett's run of 78 consecutive games played.
• Demps has started 73 straight games dating back to his sophomore season, Stuteville has started 41 of the last 43 games, and Hornsby has started 39 of the last 42 games.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE SECOND HALF

• Sacramento State is outscoring the opposition by an average of 3.8 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..

PRODUCTION FROM THE BENCH

• Sacramento State has gotten nice production from the bench this season, as reserves are averaging 23.5 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 13.5 points on .549 shooting (50-91) from the field and .409 (18-44) from the 3-point line. Strings came off the bench in nine straight games before making his first career start at Stanford.

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' 6-4 record through 10 games.

Player - Minutes ('14-15) - Points ('14-15) - Minutes ('15-16) - Points ('15-16)
Marcus Graves - 5.3 - 1.2 - 35.2 - 14.5
Justin Strings - 4.2 - 0.8 - 27.4 - 13.5

• After scoring 16 points last season, Graves has scored at least 20 on three occasions this year and is averaging a team-high 14.5 points to go along with 3.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He is second in the Big Sky with 35.2 minutes per game.
• Strings, who grew an inch and put on 25 pounds of muscle in the last year, is averaging 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds off the bench. After scoring 21 points all of last season, he has scored in double figures on eight occasions this year.
• Strings can bang on the inside and stroke from the perimeter as he is shooting .549 (50-91) from the field and .409 (18-44) from the 3-point line.

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 14.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting .436 (48-110) from the field and .423 (11-26) from 3-point line.
• 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 73 straight games dating back to his sophomore season.
• Demps leads the Big Sky and is 40th in the nation with 6.0 assists per game while his +2.2 assist-to-turnover ratio also leads the Big Sky.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Center Eric Stuteville scored a career-high 19 points at Stanford and now has a team-high +44 plus/minus ratio. He ranks among the Big Sky's top three players in blocked shots (2nd; 1.9 bpg) and field goal percentage (3rd; .597).
• Forward Nick Hornsby, who ranks fifth in the Big Sky in blocks (1.2 bpg), sixth in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and 12th in steals (1.3 spg), has tallied at least eight points and seven rebounds in all but three games.
Jeff Wu (Fr.) is the first men's basketball player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship.