SACRAMENTO -- A season-best five Hornets scored in double figures, and three posted career highs in points, as Sacramento State cruised to a 97-74 victory over Antelope Valley on Wednesday evening at the Nest.
Sacramento State posted season highs in points (97), field goals made (35), 3-pointers made (9), 3-point field goal percentage (.563, 9-for-16), free throws made (18), assists (21) and blocked shots (8). The Hornets led by double figures the final 18:28 of the game, saw all five starters score in double digits, and shot 57% (35-for-61) from the field.
Junior Jeff Wu scored a career-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 from beyond the arc, surpassing his previous career best of 14. Sophomore Joshua Patton also established his new career high with 18 points (5-6 FG, 8-9 FT) to go along with five rebounds and four blocked shots. The Big Sky Conference leader in blocked shots is now averaging 2.0 stuffs per game. True freshman Bryce Fowler posted a double-double with career highs in both points (10) and rebounds (11).
The other two starters in double figures for Sacramento State were senior Justin Strings (15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks) and sophomore Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (12 points, nine assists, five rebounds and one turnover). The guard from New Zealand now has a combined 30 assists with just eight turnovers in his last four games. For Strings, it marked his 29th straight game in double figures, tied for the 10th longest active streak in the nation.
The game was the first inside the Nest for the Hornets since Nov. 14, and snapped a string of six straight games away from the home floor. In the process, Sacramento State improved to 2-7 this season and snapped a six-game losing streak. Sacramento State is now 2-0 at home and 54-18 (.750) inside the Nest dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season. After this Saturday's game at Boise State concludes, Sacramento State will finally get a dose of home cooking as the team will play four straight games in Sacramento, including matchups in the Nest on Dec. 19, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, and a game vs. Portland at the Golden 1 Center on Dec. 21.
Antelope Valley, which is an NAIA program from Lancaster, Calif., and plays in the California Pacific Conference, dropped to 5-3 with the loss and had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Hornets and Pioneers were playing for just the second time as the two teams met a year ago which resulted in an 82-60 Hornet win.
Sacramento State has now played without what would have been the starting back court of Marcus Graves and Jiday Ugbaja in every game this season. Graves is out for the season and Ugbaja could be back soon.
Sacramento State has just four non-conference games remaining on the schedule until opening Big Sky Conference play at home against Portland State on Dec. 30.
The team's 21 assists came with a season-low nine turnovers, and the Hornets held a game-high 27-point lead before eventually settling for the 23-point win. The Hornets held a 40-28 advantage in the paint, and limited Antelope Valley to 38 percent shooting (22-57) from the field. In a game that featured a ridiculous 47 fouls called, the Pioneers went 24-for-32 (.750) from the free throw line while Sacramento State was 18-of-29 (.621) from the charity stripe.
Eleven different Hornets appeared in the game and 10 scored, including Kevin Hicks (seven points, four assists), Jordan Tolbert (six points, three assists), Chibueze Jacobs (five points), Jamion Wright (three points) and Calvin Martin (two points).
Antelope Valley was led by Hayden Hall's 19 points on 4-of-7 from distance. However, after scoring 17 points in the first half, Hall was limited to two points after halftime. Miles Nolen-Webb chipped in 11 points, five assists and a steal.
Sacramento State will play its final non-conference road game this Saturday at Boise State. Tip-off between the Hornets and Broncos will be 1:05 p.m. PST.
Today's game was the second of a doubleheader that saw the Hornet women defeat Antelope Valley, 95-62.
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