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MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES WEBER STATE TO THE NEST ON SATURDAY NIGHT

MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES WEBER STATE TO THE NEST ON SATURDAY NIGHT

Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
Big Sky Conference standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Fresh off its first Big Sky win on Thursday night, Sacramento State (8-7, 1-3) will play the second leg of a three-game homestand on Saturday vs. Weber State (12-5, 4-0) inside the Nest at 7:05 p.m.
• The Hornets played their first three Big Sky games on the road, losing each contest.
• Sacramento State has won 11 straight regular season games at home against Big Sky opposition, a streak which dates back to March 8, 2014. That home conference winning streak is currently the longest for any of the 12 teams in the Big Sky.
• The Hornets are looking for their first win on a Saturday this season (0-4).
• Sacramento State is coming off an 82-71 home win on Thursday vs. Idaho State, and the Hornets are defeating teams at home this year by an average of 12.8 points.
• The Hornets are one of five teams in the Big Sky with one conference victory.
• Fourth-year senior and team co-captain Cody Demps has missed the last three games with injury, snapping a streak of 75 straight starts and 104 straight games played. Demps is questionable to play on Saturday night vs. Weber State.
• Sacramento State has played five of the last six games without a starter due to injury.
• The Hornets are 6-1 at home this year and 40-10 inside the Nest dating back to the 2012-13 season.
• This season marks the Hornets' 20th year in the Big Sky as the program switched gears from the American West Conference and joined the Big Sky in 1996-97.
• The Hornets' top two scorers are sophomores in forward Justin Strings (13.4 ppg) and guard Marcus Graves (12.8 ppg).
• Although the Hornets just 6-36 all-time against Weber State, the Hornets have won two of the last three games in the series, including a 78-71 victory in Ogden last year.
• The last time the two teams met in Sacramento, Dylan Garrity hit a 75-footer at the overtime buzzer to beat the Wildcats, 78-75, on Feb. 1, 2014. That shot went viral on the internet and gave Sacramento State a tremendous amount of national attention.
• That 75-foot shot was dubbed the "Hail Garrity" and snapped a 12-game losing streak against Weber State that had dated back six years.
• The Hornets are 4-16 all-time against Weber State when playing at home.
• Weber State, which won at Portland State on Thursday, will enter Saturday's game on a conference-best seven-game winning streak. The Wildcats' 4-0 conference record is just a half game back of Montana (5-0) in the league standings.
• Eight NBA scouts will be on hand Saturday to watch Weber State senior F/C Joel Bolomboy, who is a projected second round NBA pick and is averaging 18.2 points and 13.7 rebounds. The rebounding average is the second best mark in the nation.

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, Thursday'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. All multimedia links can be found next to each game on the men's basketball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

HORNETS' LAST GAME; 82-71 WIN VS. IDAHO STATE

• Four Hornets scored in double figures, and Sacramento State poured in 53 points in the second half on the way to an 82-71 victory over Idaho State on Thursday evening.
• After trailing at the break, 33-29, the Hornets outscored the Bengals in the second half by a 53-38 margin. The 53 points were the most in a half for the Hornets this year.
• Sacramento State shot .583 (14-of-24) from the field and .870 (20-23) from the free throw line after halftime. Many of those free throws came during the final 2:36 when the Hornets went 16-of-18 from the charity stripe to put the game away.
• Sacramento State began the second half on an 8-2 run and did not trail the final 16:28. Sparking the second half surge was Dreon Barlett, who finished with career highs in points (18), rebounds (8) and blocked shots (2). All 18 points came in the second half.
• Joining Barlett in double figures for Sacramento State were forwards Nick Hornsby (14 points, 10 rebounds) and Justin Strings (12 points, 11 rebounds) and guard Marcus Graves (13 points, five assists).

HOLDING SERVE AT THE NEST

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 40-10 (.800 winning percentage) at the Nest. That includes wins in 27 of the last 31 home games.
• Sacramento State has won 11 straight regular season home games against Big Sky opposition, the longest current streak among any of the league's 12 teams.
• The Hornets are 6-1 at home this season, outscoring opponents by 12.8 points per game.
• Five Hornets are averaging double figures in points this year at home - Cody Demps 15.8, Justin Strings 14.3, Marcus Graves 13.1, Dreon Barlett 10.4 and Eric Stuteville 10.4.

BARLETT PLAYING THE BEST BASKETBALL OF HIS CAREER

• Including his career-high 18 points Thursday vs. Idaho State, fourth-year senior Dreon Barlett has scored in double figures in four of the last five games. He entered the season with just three double figure scoring efforts during his first three years in the program.
• During that five game-stretch, the sharp shooter is averaging 12.2 points on .500 (18-36) from the field, .478 (11-23) from the 3-point line and .933 (14-15) from the free throw line.
• Barlett has buried at least one 3-pointer in all but one game this year, averages 2.0 makes from distance per game and his .424 percentage from distance is 8th best in the league.
• Barlett, who attempts 75 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, is a career .431 shooter from distance (69-of-160), the fourth best mark in school history.

ABUNDANCE OF CLOSE LOSSES

• Six of Sacramento State's losses have come by 10 points or less. The lone blowout loss came last Saturday at Montana.
• In five of the team's seven losses, the Hornets trailed by three points or less during the final 3:30 of the contest. Here is the breakdown of those five losses.
- 96-90 loss to South Dakota - led, 81-80, with 4:39 left/one possession game in last minute.
- 66-61 loss at UC Davis - tied, 61-61, with 1:12 left/one possession game in final minute.
- 70-60 loss at Stanford - tied, 56-56, with 5:10 remaining/trailed, 63-60, with 3:21 left.
- 76-68 loss at Portland St. - led 55-53 with 4:30 remaining.
- 71-64 loss at Montana St. - led, 61-60, with 2:30 left/one possession game in last minute.
• During the last five minutes of the five losses listed above, Sacramento State shot a combined .320 (16-50) from the field and .250 (6-24) from the 3-point line while being outscored during that stretch, 71-47. Conversely, the opposition is shooting .548 (17-31) from the field during the same time span, and made 47 trips to the free throw line.

BLOCK PARTY

• Sacramento State's 4.9 blocked shots per game easily ranks first in the 12-team Big Sky, nearly a full block better than the second-place team - Portland State at 4.0 per game.
• The Hornets have three players ranked among the top 15 in blocked shots, comprised of Eric Stuteville (1st; 2.2 bpg), Nick Hornsby (8th; 0.9 bpg) and Justin Strings (13th; 0.7 bpg).
• Sacramento State has tallied at least five blocked shots in nine games, contributing to the opposition shooting just .405 against the Hornets this year (best mark in the Big Sky).

THE IMPORTANCE OF ERIC STUTEVILLE

• Plus/minus ratio is a statistic used to determine how well a team does with a particular player on the floor, and showcases how valuable center Eric Stuteville has been this season.
• Stuteville is currently a +77 (+5.13 per game), meaning the Hornets are outscoring the opposition by 77 points when he is on the floor.
• The next best Hornet in terms of plus/minus if Jeff Wu at +46.
• Including his career-high 19 points at Stanford, the third-year junior is averaging 10.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.2 blocked shots and is shooting .575 (61-106) from the field.
• The local product from Orangevale is the conference's best shot blocker at 2.2 per game, the 33rd best mark in the nation. His field goal percentage of .575 is sixth best in the league.

INJURIES HURTING THE HORNETS

• Sacramento State has played five of the last six games without an injured starter, and has posted a 1-4 record during those five contests.
• Guard Dreon Barlett did not play at Stanford, forward Nick Hornsby did not suit up at Portland State and guard Cody Demps has missed the last three games with injury. Barlett and Hornsby have returned to health, but Demps remains questionable for Saturday's game.

SATURDAY BLUES

• Sacramento State is 0-4 when playing on Saturdays this year, and is being outscored in those games by 10.3 points per contest.
• Those losses include at home to South Dakota (96-90), and road losses at Portland (81-73), Portland State (76-68) and Montana (77-58).
• The Hornets' worst losses of the year were to Portland and Montana, the only two games Sacramento State did not have chances late to make a run at winning the contest.

SECOND CHANCE POINTS HURTING THE HORNETS

• Opponents are averaging 13.0 second-chance points against the Hornets this year, and Sacramento State has been outscored, 195-130 (13.0 - 8.7 per game).
• The Hornets have scored more than 10 second-chance points just four times all year.
• Over the last seven games, Sacramento State has been outscored in second chance points by an 89-55 margin. That includes disparities of 18-5 at Portland, 20-9 at Stanford, 10-2 at Montana State and 10-4 at Montana.

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.

STRINGS AND GRAVES MAKE DRAMATIC JUMPS IN PRODUCTION

• Sophomores Marcus Graves (guard) and Justin Strings (forward) have seen dramatic jumps in production compared to a season ago and share the team lead in scoring. The tandem are two of just five underclassmen among the Big Sky's top 20 players in scoring.

Player - Minutes ('14-15) - Points ('14-15) - Minutes ('15-16) - Points ('15-16)
Justin Strings - 4.2 - 0.8 - 28.9 - 13.4
Marcus Graves - 5.3 - 1.2 - 34.1 - 12.8

• After scoring 16 points last season, Graves has scored at least 20 on three occasions this year and is averaging 12.8 points to go along with 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He is sixth in the Big Sky with 34.1 minutes per game.
• Strings, who grew an inch and put on 25 pounds of muscle since last year, is averaging 13.4 points and 6.2 rebounds off the bench. After scoring 21 points all of last season, he has scored in double figures a team-best 13 times, including nine straight games.

75 STRAIGHT STARTS FOR DEMPS COMES TO AN END

• Team co-captain Cody Demps has produced an impressive stat line of 12.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists while shooting .448 (52-116) from the field and .423 (11-26) from the 3-point line. The assists are the second best mark in the Big Sky.
• Demps has played four positions during his career with the Hornets, and has assumed the point guard duties for the first time this season.
• The quiet leader had started 75 straight games and played in 104 straight games until missing the last three games due to injury. He is questionable to play on Saturday.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Forward Nick Hornsby, sixth in the Big Sky in rebounding (7.2 rpg), posted his second career double-double on Thursday with a season-high 14 points and 10 rebounds.
• True freshman Jeff Wu, who is the first men's basketball player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship, is averaging 10.7 points and 22.7 minutes on .600 shooting (12-of-20) from the field over his last three games.
• After playing just once during the first 10 games, true freshman Grant Dressler is averaging 10.0 minutes of playing time over the last three games. That includes scoring a season-high tying six points in a season-best 17 minutes on Thursday vs. Idaho State.
• Although the Hornets are averaging a robust 21.0 fouls per game, the team has committed just 31 combined fouls over the last two games. Amazingly, a Sacramento State player has fouled out of a game on 15 occasions this year.