SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Junior Eric Stuteville had 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots, and senior Dreon Barlett added 13 points to help Sacramento State to a 78-49 victory over Pacific Union on Monday evening at the Nest. Tonight marked the final non-conference game of the season for the Hornets.
Stuteville's big performance comes just seven days after he scored a career-high 19 points at Stanford. Tonight's rebounds and blocked shots both tied career highs for Stuteville and the third-year junior shot 6-of-9 from the field and 4-for-7 from the free throw line. Barlett's 13 points were two shy of his career high as the fourth-year senior went 5-of-9 from the field and 3-for-6 from the 3-point line. Barlett saw his streak of 78 straight games played come to a close at Stanford because of injury, but bounced back in a big way tonight.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 7-4, matching the program's best record after 11 games since the 2005-06 squad had the same mark. In addition, the Hornets, who open Big Sky Conference play this Saturday at Portland State, have their most wins (7) prior to the start of conference play since 2005.
Pacific Union, which is an NAIA squad from Angwin, Calif., in Napa County, was playing Sacramento State for the first time ever. The Pioneers, who counted tonight's game as an exhibition contest, are 4-3 this season.
The Hornets have now won 30 straight games against non-Div. I competition, a streak which dates back to 1997. Sacramento State has won those 30 games by an average of 25.1 points, ranging from the smallest margin of victory (nine points) all the way to a 44-point win during that 18-year span.
Sacramento State never trailed the entire way as the Hornets shot .474 (27-57) from the field, .368 (7-19) from the 3-point line and .739 (17-23) from the free throw line. Sacramento State, which had 12 fast break points, limited Pacific Union to .299 (20-67) shooting from the field, including just 9-for-36 in the second half. The Pioneers also converted just 5-of-25 attempts from the 3-point line.
After outscoring Pacific Union in the first half by a 38-25 margin, Sacramento State led by double figure the first five-plus minutes of the second half until a layup from Jarron Crump got the Pioneers within, 49-41, with 13:08 to play. However, it was all Sacramento State the rest of the way, as the Hornets outscored Pacific Union, 29-8, during the final 12:52 of the contest. That included a 17-0 run that spanned 6:53 of game clock.
The Hornets opened up a lead as large as 32 points before settling for the 29-point victory. Sacramento State outrebounded Pacific Union, 47-36, while outscoring the Pioneers in points in the paint (32-20) and bench points (31-16). Sacramento State outscored Pacific Union in the second half by a 40-24 margin.
"I liked the way we played in the second half – I thought we had a more diversified attack, we got the ball inside more, took care of the basketball, had better shot selection and did a nice job rebounding," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "In the first half, I think our intentions were good, but we did not play well.
"What's exciting is we are 7-4 despite not playing as well as we would like in any game thus far. We've competed hard, have a wonderful group of guys, and this team still has a very high ceiling."
Joining Stuteville and Barlett in double figures for the Hornets was sophomore Justin Strings, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists. That included eight points and five rebounds in just 11 second-half minutes. Sophomore Marcus Graves had eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 31 minutes, senior Cody Demps added eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, and freshman Jeff Wu had eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers. All 12 players on the Hornets' active roster played at least five minutes in tonight's game, and 11 cracked the scoring column.
For Pacific Union, Crump had a team-high 14 points, but shot just 6-of-17 from the floor and 1-for-7 from the 3-point line. Lamar Brewer had nine points and Chris Dorsey had a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out with 3:44 remaining.
Sacramento State opens the 18-game Big Sky portion of the schedule this Saturday at Portland State at 7 p.m. The Hornets will play each of their first three league games on the road as Sacramento State does not play at home until Thursday, Jan. 14, vs. Idaho State.
NOTES -- Tonight marked just the second home game for the Hornets during the entire month of December…in addition, Sacramento State was playing just its second game in a span of 16 days…prior to Barlett missing the Stanford game, Sacramento State did not have a player miss a game to injury all season…the Hornets outrebounded their opponent for just the third time this season.
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