Big Sky Tournament information
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State used a big second half, outscoring Northern Arizona, 39-22, on the way to a 64-51 victory over the Lumberjacks in the regular season finale for both teams.
On a night that saw fourth-year seniors Cody Demps and Dreon Barlett honored prior to the game, Sacramento State's second half numbers were impressive. After halftime, the Hornets shot .485 (16-33) from the field, outscored NAU in points off turnovers by a 10-2 margin, held a commanding 24-15 rebounding edge and limited NAU to just 7-of-27 shooting (.259). In fact, the Hornets used a 21-4 run during the first 9:27 of the second half to take a 46-33 lead with 10:33 to play.
The Lumberjacks eventually cut the deficit to six points with 9:00 remaining, but would get no closer as Sacramento State led by double figures the final 5:32 of the contest. The Hornets opened up a lead as large as 16 points late in the game before settling for the 13-point win.
With the victory, Sacramento State concluded the regular season with a 13-16 overall record and a 6-12 mark in the Big Sky Conference. More importantly, the Hornets will go into next week's Big Sky Tournament in Reno with a little momentum, having won both home games this week.
Sacramento State will play Montana State on Tuesday at 5:35 p.m. at the Reno Events Center during the single-elimination tournament that includes all 12 teams in the conference. The Hornets are the No. 10 seed while Montana State (14-16, 9-9) is the No. 7 seed. The Bobcats won both meetings this year against Sacramento State, but both games came down to the final minute and Demps missed each game with injury.
Should Sacramento State get past Montana State on Tuesday, the Hornets would play No. 2 seed Montana (19-10, 14-4) on Thursday at 5:35 p.m. The top four teams in the conference (Weber State, Montana, Idaho and Idaho State) receive a first round bye. For more information on the tournament, including schedule, tickets and much more, log on to RoadToReno.com.
The victory also assured the Hornets of winning at least 10 home games for the fourth consecutive season as Sacramento State completed the home portion of its schedule with a 10-5 mark at home, and 5-4 against league opposition. During Demps and Barlett's four seasons on the team, Sacramento State went 44-14 inside the Nest.
With the loss, Northern Arizona fell to 5-24 overall and 3-15 in the league, and will assume the No. 11 seed at the Big Sky Tournament. Tonight marked the first and only time this season that the Hornets and Lumberjacks have played one another. The Hornets have won four of the last six meetings between the two schools inside the Nest.
"In the second half, we shot it well, played defense, rebounded and turned the ball over just four times and that all contributed to a 39-point half," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "Obviously, heading into the Big Sky Tournament on a winning streak is a lot better than going into the tournament with a couple losses.
"We have Montana State on Tuesday, and we know them well (having played twice already) and they know us well. There certainly won't be any secrets and it will be a dog fight because they play very, very hard."
The Hornets finished the game shooting .464 (26-56) from the field, .333 (6-18) from the 3-point line and .600 (6-10) from the free throw line. The Hornets held a 39-35 advantage in the rebounding department, and improved to 8-1 when outrebounding an opponent this year. After turning the ball over eight times in a sloppy first half, the Hornets committed just four miscues in the second half.
Six different Sacramento State players had at least five rebounds, including sophomore Justin Strings who had a team-high 13 points to go along with five rebounds. Eric Stuteville had 11 points and six rebounds, Marcus Graves added 10 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals, and Barlett had nine points and seven rebounds. Demps, a team co-captain, finished with eight points, six rebounds and six assists, and fellow co-captain Nick Hornsby had eight points and six rebounds. Those six players accounted for 59 of the Hornets' 64 points, and 35 of the team's 39 rebounds.
For Northern Arizona, Torry Johnson had a team-high 13 points while Ako Kaluna chipped in nine points and nine rebounds, and Felix Rivera-Vega had nine points, 10 rebounds and two steals off the bench. Fresh off a 32-point effort on Thursday at Portland State, the Lumberjacks' leading scorer Kris Yanku was held to zero points on 0-of-4 shooting while committing five turnovers.
Sacramento State would need to win four games to secure the Big Sky Tournament championship. Should they get that far, the Hornets would have to win games on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday to win the program's first-ever Big Sky Tournament title.
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February 12, 2016 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO POCATELLO FOR SATURDAY GAME AT IDAHO STATE
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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
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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
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December 21, 2015 LATE STANFORD RUN SPOILS MEN’S BASKETBALL’S UPSET BID
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November 23, 2015 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS HOOK UP FOR 113TH TIME ON TUESDAY AT THE NEST
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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
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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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October 27, 2015 ERNEST TSCHANNEN DONATES $750,000 TO POWER OF 1,000 HORNETS
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