SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Despite 23 points apiece from sophomores Justin Strings and Marcus Graves, the Hornets could not withstand a barrage of 3-pointers from Weber State in an 85-74 Wildcat victory over Sacramento State on Saturday evening at the Nest.
Weber State buried 11-of-22 (.500) attempts from the 3-point line while the Hornets went just 2-for-10 from distance. That proved to be the difference in the game as the Hornets converted one less field goal than the Wildcats while burying the same amount of free throws (18). Sacramento State was proficient from the field (.482), but Weber State knocked down 57 percent of its field goal opportunities (28-of-49), including the 11 triples.
The Wildcats, who jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the first two and a half minutes of the contest, led for 37:45 of game clock, and held at least a six-point advantage the entire second half. Sacramento State cut a 16-point deficit (71-55) with 6:36 left down to six points (76-70) on a Jeff Wu 3-pointer with 3:11 remaining, but the Wildcats went 7-for-9 from the free throw line over the final three minutes to put the game away.
In the process, Sacramento State's 11-game home winning streak in conference play was snapped. The winning streak had dated all the way back to March 8, 2014, and included the Hornets going 9-0 at home against Big Sky opposition during the regular season last year. The 11-game streak had been the longest active streak among any of the Big Sky's 12 teams.
The Hornets (8-8, 1-4) have played one of the toughest schedules in the Big Sky thus far with three road games and tonight's matchup with perennial power Weber State. Sacramento State, which has 13 games remaining on the conference schedule, does not play again until next Saturday at home vs. Portland State. The Hornets played their fourth straight game without team co-captain and fourth-year senior Cody Demps due to injury.
Meanwhile, Weber State continues to chug along, improving to 13-5 overall and 5-0 in the Big Sky. The Wildcats have won a conference-best eight straight games and remain one of just two Big Sky teams with undefeated league records (Montana is 6-0). Weber State also improved to 37-6 all-time against Sacramento State, although the Hornets had won two of the last three in the series heading into tonight's game.
A silver lining in the loss was the play of two Hornet sophomores against perhaps the Big Sky's best team. Strings had 23 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 35 minutes while shooting 7-of-15 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line. The 23 points tied his career high while the free throws made and attempted both set career bests. Strings has now scored in double figures in 10 straight games, and has three double-doubles over the last five games.
Graves posted his fourth game with at least 20 points this season, finishing with 23 points to go along with three assists and a steal in 35 minutes. The guard shot 9-of-14 from the field, 1-of-2 from distance and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. He scored 15 of the Hornets' 39 points in the second half.
Perimeter defense, however, was a problem for Sacramento State this evening as Weber State consistently got good looks at 3-point attempts, many of which fell late in the shot clock. Six different Wildcats hit at least one 3-pointer, and four different players buried at least two triples. Weber State also got significant production from its bench (34 points) compared to just 11 points from the Hornet bench. Both teams finished with nearly the same amount of rebounds (WSU 30, SAC 29), and the Wildcats outscored the Hornets in points off turnovers by a healthy margin (21-14).
With eight NBA scouts on hand to watch Weber State big man Joel Bolomboy, the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder did not disappoint, finishing with 19 points and 11 rebounds. The double-double was his nation-leading 17th this season. The 11 rebounds were nearly three boards below his season average (13.7 rpg).
Joining Strings and Graves in double figures for Sacramento State was forward Nick Hornsby, who had 10 points, four rebounds and four steals before fouling out with 4:20 remaining. The Hornets were whistled for 21 fouls, as guard Dreon Barlett also fouled out late in the contest. Amazingly, Sacramento State has seen a player foul out on 17 different occasions this year.
Wu had nine points off the bench for the Hornets on 4-of-6 shooting, and 1-of-2 from the 3-point line. No other Hornet finished with more than five points as the quartet of Strings, Graves, Hornsby and Wu (a true freshman) combined for all but nine of Sacramento State's points. Hornet center Eric Stuteville finished with just five points, his lowest point production in eight games.
Four Wildcats finished in double figures, comprised of Bolomboy, Jeremy Senglin (15 points, two 3-pointers), Cody John (11 points, two triples) and Dusty Baker (10 points). Ryan Richardson had nine points and shot 3-of-5 from distance and McKay Cannon had six points on 2-for-2 from beyond the arc.
Sacramento State returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 23, when the team wraps up its three-game homestand against Portland State at 7:05 p.m. The Vikings defeated the Hornets in Portland two weeks ago by a 76-68 score.
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February 19, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS IDAHO ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
February 19, 2016 FORMER MEN'S BASKETBALL ASSISTANT COACH DWAYNE CANADA PASSES AWAY
February 18, 2016 BIG FIRST HALF PROPELS EASTERN WASHINGTON TO 93-88 WIN OVER MEN’S HOOPS
February 16, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT THE NEST ON THURSDAY, HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 13, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S LATE RUN FALL SHORT IN 66-64 ROAD LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
February 12, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO POCATELLO FOR SATURDAY GAME AT IDAHO STATE
February 11, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS HELD TO SEASON LOW IN POINTS IN 63-50 LOSS AT WEBER STATE
February 9, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO WEBER STATE FOR THURSDAY NIGHT GAME
February 5, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS MONTANA STATE SATURDAY EVENING AT THE NEST
February 4, 2016 HUGE 2ND HALF HELPS MEN’S BASKETBALL BEAT FIRST-PLACE MONTANA, 83-79
February 3, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES MONTANA TO THE NEST ON THURSDAY NIGHT
February 1, 2016 ANTICIPATION BUILDING ON THE ROAD TO RENO FOR BIG SKY TOURNAMENT
January 29, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EASTERN WASHINGTON FOR SATURDAY MATINEE
January 28, 2016 MEN’S BASKETBALL GETS BIG ROAD WIN AT IDAHO, 65-63
January 27, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO IDAHO FOR THURSDAY EVENING MATCHUP
January 23, 2016 RED-HOT PORTLAND STATE RACES PAST MEN’S BASKETBALL
January 21, 2016 ROAD TO RENO PRIZE PACKAGE TO BE GIVEN AWAY AT SATURDAY'S MBB GAME
January 15, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WELCOMES WEBER STATE TO THE NEST ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 13, 2016 MEN'S BASKETBALL FINALLY BACK AT HOME ON THURSDAY VS. IDAHO STATE
January 9, 2016 MEN’S HOOPS FALLS ON THE ROAD AT MONTANA
January 8, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS WRAPS UP ROAD TRIP ON SATURDAY EVENING AT MONTANA
January 7, 2016 LATE MONTANA STATE RUN DOOMS MEN’S BASKETBALL IN 71-64 LOSS
December 30, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY SATURDAY AT PORTLAND STATE
December 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 7-4 AFTER 78-49 VICTORY OVER PACIFIC UNION
December 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS PACIFIC UNION ON MONDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
December 21, 2015 LATE STANFORD RUN SPOILS MEN’S BASKETBALL’S UPSET BID
December 20, 2015 MBB PLAYS AT STANFORD ON MONDAY; 1ST GAME VS. CARDINAL SINCE 2007
December 12, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS TO 6-3 AFTER 81-73 LOSS AT PORTLAND
December 10, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS BEGINS ROAD STRETCH ON SATURDAY EVENING AT PORTLAND
December 8, 2015 JUSTIN STRINGS NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 7, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL MAKES BIG PLAYS LATE IN WIN OVER INCARNATE WORD
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December 1, 2015 MEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR SEASON SWEEP OF UC DAVIS ON WEDNESDAY
November 29, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS PACIFIC FOR 1ST TIME SINCE 2009 AT THE NEST TODAY
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November 28, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS DROPS FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON TO SOUTH DAKOTA, 96-90
November 27, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS HOME TOURNEY SATURDAY VS. SOUTH DAKOTA AT 3:30 PM
November 24, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 4-0 WITH AN 84-79 WIN OVER UC DAVIS
November 23, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST
November 20, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS IMPROVES TO 3-0 AFTER A 96-56 VICTORY OVER HOLY NAMES
November 19, 2015 HOME OPENER FOR MEN'S HOOPS THIS FRIDAY VS. HOLY NAMES AT 7 PM
November 17, 2015 GRAVES NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
November 16, 2015 NATIONAL WEEKLY AWARDS POURING IN FOR MEN'S HOOPS' MARCUS GRAVES
November 15, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS 2ND ROAD GAME IN 3 DAYS ON SUNDAY AT SEATTLE
November 15, 2015 HUGE SECOND HALF PROPELS MEN’S HOOPS TO A 77-65 WIN AT SEATTLE
November 13, 2015 LATE RUN GIVES MEN’S BASKETBALL A 66-63 UPSET WIN AT ARIZONA STATE
November 11, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS BEYER HIGH SCHOOL GUARD GEORGE DANCER
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November 6, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL CRUSHES SIMPSON, 103-63, IN EXHIBITION GAME
November 2, 2015 DICKSON BECOMES 2ND PLAYER IN SCHOOL HISTORY DRAFTED IN NBA D-LEAGUE
October 27, 2015 ERNEST TSCHANNEN DONATES $750,000 TO POWER OF 1,000 HORNETS
September 30, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS SEASON QUICKLY APPROACHING, 1ST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
September 3, 2015 HEAD COACH BRIAN KATZ RECEIVES FIVE-YEAR COMMITMENT THROUGH 2020
June 29, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL ANNOUNCES ITS 2015-16 SCHEDULE