CHENEY, Wash. — Sacramento State closed the game on a 23-13 run, but never had an opportunity to tie late in a 74-67 loss at Eastern Washington in a Saturday afternoon matinee.
The Hornets trailed by a game-high 17 points (61-44) with 9:18 remaining in the contest, but had that lead sliced to single digits at 62-55 after Marcus Graves buried one of his career-high four 3-pointers at the 5:11 mark. From there, it was a single digit game the rest of the way.
A Graves layup at the 17-second mark had things at a one-possession game (70-67) for the first time since a 15-13 Eastern Washington lead at the 10:23 mark of the first half. However, the Hornets never had a chance to tie as the Eagles converted on four free throws during the final 16 seconds to provide the final score. Sacramento State missed a pair of 3-point opportunities during the final seven seconds.
The Eagles never trailed the entire way, and held a lead for all but 1:35 of the contest. That included EWU scoring each of the game's first six points and never looking back. Sacramento State was able to stay within striking distance by limiting Eastern Washington to 1-for-20 shooting from the 3-point line. The Eagles entered the game as the nation's seventh best team with an average of 10.8 made 3-pointers per game. That included a school-record 20 made 3-balls in Thursday's 112-83 home win over Portland State.
However, Eastern Washington controlled the inside, outscoring the Hornets, 50-32, in points in the paint. That included Eagle forward Venky Jois finishing with a game-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field. Eastern Washington also took advantage of a massive whistle disparity that saw the Hornets called for 11 more fouls that the Eagles (23-12).
Amazingly, Sacramento State was never in the bonus free throw situation while the Eagles were in the bonus for a combined 15:37 of game clock. That proved to be a big difference in the game as EWU converted on 19-of-24 free throws while the Hornets were just 5-for-8 from the charity stripe.
Eastern Washington (11-10, 5-4), the defending Big Sky Tournament champions, improved to 8-0 at home, and 5-0 against Big Sky Conference opposition at Reese Court. The Eagles are also now 19-3 all-time against the Hornets when the two teams play in Cheney.
For Sacramento State, which shot .409 (27-of-66) from the field, the Hornets fell to 9-10 overall and 2-6 in the Big Sky. The Hornets were coming off a 65-63 road win at Idaho on Thursday night, and played without team co-captain and fourth-year senior point guard Cody Demps for the seventh straight game. The Hornets are now 2-5 in games without Demps.
It was a 23-9 run that got the Hornets all the way back from a 17-point deficit to a three-point game as Nick Hornsby sparked the spurt with nine points. Jeff Wu scored seven of his career-high tying 14 points during the run while Graves chipped in five points.
Eastern Washington finished the game shooting .474 (27-of-57) from the field, as the Eagles shot better than 70 percent (.703, 26-of-37) on attempts inside the 3-point line. The Eagles scored 69 of their 74 points from inside the paint or the free throw line as the Hornets' perimeter defense was sound all afternoon. Eastern Washington held a 39-33 edge in the rebounding department and received just three points off its bench.
Sacramento State shot .409 (27-of-66) from the field, .364 (8-of-22) from the 3-point line and .625 (5-for-8) from the free throw line. The Hornets had just 10 assists on 27 made buckets, and, after committing seven turnovers in the first half, had just three miscues in the second half. The two teams were credited with just 19 combined assists (nine for Eastern Washington).
Three Hornets finished with double figures in scoring, comprised of Graves (19 points, seven assists, five rebounds), Wu (14 points on 6-of-12 shooting) and Hornsby (11 points, five rebounds, two steals, two blocked shots). Graves shot 4-of-7 from the 3-point line while Wu was 2-for-6 from deep.
Making his second straight start, sophomore guard Jiday Ugbaja finished with a career-best eight points and sophomore Justin Strings had eight points and a team-high seven rebounds. Strings' streak of 12 straight games with double figures in scoring came to an end. Five different Hornets had at least five rebounds, comprised of Strings (7), Dreon Barlett (6), Hornsby (5), Graves (5) and center Eric Stuteville (5). Stuteville came off the bench for the second straight game and had four points, five rebounds and a blocked shot in 12 minutes.
Four of Eastern Washington's five starters finished with double figures, comprised of Jois (24 points, 12 rebounds), Bogdan Bliznyuk (18 points, 11 rebounds), Austin McBroom (16 points) and Julian Harrell (10 points, two blocks, two steals). No Eagle player finished with more than two assists.
Sacramento State returns home next week when the team hosts Montana on Thursday, and Montana State on Saturday. Both games will tip at 7:05 p.m.
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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
December 6, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS TO PLAY FIRST OF JUST TWO DECEMBER HOME GAMES ON MONDAY
December 2, 2015 MEN’S HOOPS HAS CHANCES TO WIN LATE, BUT FALLS AT UC DAVIS, 66-61
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
November 29, 2015 MEN’S BASKETBALL IMPROVES TO 5-1 AFTER A 79-71 HOME WIN OVER PACIFIC
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
November 9, 2015 GAME NOTES: MEN'S HOOPS OPENS SEASON FRIDAY AT ARIZONA STATE
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