MOSCOW, Idaho — Sophomore Marcus Graves had a team-high 18 points, including 11 points in the final 8:07 of the contest, and Sacramento State held on for dear life in a 65-63 win at Idaho on Thursday evening at Cowan Spectrum.
The Hornets, who led by as many as 21 points in the first half, saw that lead whittled down to a single point with 1:10 remaining in the contest. It was a tense final minute as the Hornets nearly blew what looked like an insurmountable lead of four points (65-61) with nine seconds to play. After Graves had just buried two free throws with 9.3 seconds remaining, Idaho's Pat Ingram drove the length of the floor in just five seconds and hit a layup to cut the deficit to 65-63.
Sacramento State then inbounded the ball to center Eric Stuteville, who was fouled and missed both free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining. Idaho secured the rebound and raced the length of the floor before a blocking foul was called on the Hornets' Nick Hornsby with 0.9 seconds remaining. That put Ingram on the free throw line with a chance to tie the game and force overtime. However, Ingram missed the first free throw, and tried to miss the second on purpose to give the Vandals a chance at the rebound, but his wild attempt did not draw iron. That gave Sacramento State the ball, and the Hornets were able to inbounds as the horn mercifully sounded on a hard-fought Hornet victory.
Sacramento State held a 37-21 halftime lead, its largest advantage at the break against a Div. I opponent this season. However, Idaho outscored the Hornets in the second half by a 42-28 margin. Still, the Hornets never trailed the entire way, leading the final 39:40 of the contest. Of Graves' 11 points in the final eight minutes, he hit a big 3-pointer at the 5:18 mark after Idaho had cut the lead to three points, and went 4-for-4 from the free throw line during the final 18 seconds.
He was joined in double figures by fellow sophomore Justin Strings (17 points, five rebounds) and senior Dreon Barlett (10 points, two 3-pointers). Graves (11) and Strings (9) scored 20 of the Hornets' 28 second-half points as the sophomore duo both made huge buckets late. That included a pair of free throws from Strings at the 2:14 mark that gave the Hornets a nine-point lead. Graves shot 5-of-11 from the field, 3-of-6 from the 3-point line and 5-for-6 from the free throw line while adding a career-high nine assists to go along with two steals in 37 minutes.
It was a much-needed win for the Hornets (9-9, 2-5), who snapped a six-game losing streak on the road. Playing without team co-captain and fourth-year senior point guard Cody Demps for the sixth straight game, Sacramento State was able to secure its second conference win after dropping its last two games (both at home) by double figures.
In addition, the Hornets were able to pick up a win in a series dominated by Idaho as the Vandals entered the game with a 15-2 all-time record against Sacramento State. In fact, tonight's win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Vandals in Idaho, and marked the Hornets' first road win at Idaho since a 77-65 victory on Dec. 8, 1972.
Idaho dropped to 12-9 overall and 4-4 in conference with the loss, and each of the Vandals' last four games have been decided by five points or less. Just last week, the Vandals beat Montana in Missoula by a 63-58 score.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting .415 (22-of-53) from the field, and was able to survive despite shooting just .333 (8-of-24) in the second half. The Hornets connected on 10 3-pointers (one shy of a season high) as Sacramento State buried 10-of-26 (.385) from long range, and five different players hit from deep. Despite being outrebounded, 34-27 (and 20-9 in the second half), the Hornets committed just eight turnovers and had 12 points off Idaho miscues.
The Hornets used a small lineup a good portion of the game, electing to give 5-foot-11 sophomore guard Jiday Ugbaja his first career collegiate start in place of 6-foot-11 center Eric Stuteville. The Hornets started three guards and two forwards, and none of those players stands taller than 6-foot-7. The plan worked beautifully as Sacramento State raced to a 26-8 lead in the game's first 11 minutes, and a Jeff Wu 3-pointer eventually pushed the lead to a game-high 21 points (33-12) with 7:06 left before halftime.
Sacramento State led by double figures for a good portion of a combined 26 minutes of game clock between the first and second halves before an 11-1 Idaho run late in the second half cut the Hornet lead to 53-50 with 5:18 to play. However, the Hornets were able to get 3-pointers from Graves (5:18) and Barlett (3:01) as well as six combined free throws from Graves and Strings to help secure the win.
Idaho shot .463 (25-of-54) from the field, including .567 (17-of-30) in the second half. The Vandals converted on three more field goals than the Hornets (25-22), but hit four less 3-pointers and went just 7-of-14 (.500) from the free throw line. That included the huge missed first free throw with 0.9 seconds to go. Idaho held sizable advantages over the Hornets in points in the paint (32-16) and points off the bench (22-9).
Graves, Strings and Barlett combined for 45 of the Hornets' 65 points as Hornsby added six points and eight rebounds, Ugbaja had five points, three assists and three steals in 23 minutes, and Stuteville had four points and five rebounds in 13 minutes. Stuteville had started 48 of the last 50 games until coming off the bench tonight.
Idaho was led by Chad Sherwood's game-high 22 points, as he converted on 6-of-9 from beyond the arc and accounted for all six of Idaho's 3-pointers. Nineteen of his points came in the second half, including back-to-back 3-pointers at the 1:32 and 1:10 marks of the second half to help the Vandals draw close. Ty Egbert added 11 points and nine rebounds, and Ingram had nine points.
Sacramento State returns to action on Saturday for a 12:05 p.m. matinee at Eastern Washington.
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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
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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