SACRAMENTO -- All eleven Sacramento State players cracked the scoring column, led by senior Marcus Graves' game-high 18 points, as Sacramento State cruised to an 89-40 win over Westcliff on Thursday evening inside the Nest.
Every active Sacramento State player on the roster played between eight and 22 minutes in tonight's game, and each scored at least three points. Playing in their black uniforms for the first time, the Hornets had little trouble this evening, outscoring Westcliff big in the first (47-20) and second (42-20) halves. Sacramento State shot 53% (32-60) from the field, and 38% (11-29) from the 3-point line while also converting 14 free throws. Seven different Hornets buried at least one 3-pointer. Sacramento State had sizable advantages in the rebounding department (46-24), points off turnovers (31-6) and bench points (42-13).
After Westcliff took its only lead of the evening at 4-3 early in the first half, Sacramento State proceeded to go on a 21-2 run, and led by double figures the final 33:13 of the contest. In fact, the Hornets led by at least 29 points the entire second half.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 6-2 this season, just the second time the team has won six of its first eight games in the Div. I era (1991-pres.). The 2015-16 team also began the year 6-2. In fact, only five Hornet teams in school history have started the year with a 6-2 record, including the 1988-89, 1987-88 and 1985-86 squads. No Sacramento State team has ever started 7-1 or 8-0.
In addition, the Hornets are now 4-0 at home this year, and 62-25 inside the Nest dating back to the 2012-13 season. Sacramento State will play one more non-league game, at Washington on Dec. 21, before opening Big Sky Conference play at home on Dec. 29 vs. Northern Colorado.
Westcliff, which is a second-year NAIA program from Irvine, was playing Sacramento State for the first time and dropped to 2-13 this season. The Hornets have now won 37 straight games against non-Div. I opponents dating back to 1999.
Tonight's win marks the third time this season Sacramento State has scored better than 85 points, including wins over Cal State Fullerton (87-82) and Cal State Northridge (88-68). Last year, the Hornets accomplished the feat just three times all season. Also, the Hornets' six victories are one shy of last year's injury-riddled 7-25 season.
Graves' 18 points came on 6-for-6 shooting from the field, 3-of-3 from the 3-point line and 3-for-3 from the free throw line. Graves played just 22 minutes, including four minutes in the second half. Joining him in double figures were forward Ethan Esposito who had 16 points and seven rebounds on 7-of-10 shooting, and center Joshua Patton's 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks. Patton has scored in double figures in all eight games.
Forward Chibueze Jacobs fell one point shy of his first double-double as he finished with career highs in both points (9) and rebounds (11) in 18 minutes. Of those 11 rebounds, six came on the offensive glass, helping the Hornets to an 11-5 advantage in second chance points. Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa had eight points and six assists, and Bryce Fowler had six points, four assists and four rebounds.
Jamion Wright had a career-high tying six points, including a pair of 3-balls, and James Bridges added five points, three rebounds and two assists. Osi Nwachukwu posted three points, three rebounds, four assists and a game-high three steals, Grant Greabell had five points and a pair of assists, and Kevin Hicks had three points.
Sacramento State was playing without five players tonight: Elijah McCullough (leg), Jeff Wu (ankle), Calvin Martin (groin), Jordan Tolbert (illness) and Brandon Davis (redshirt).
For Westcliff, Richard Serrano led the team with 10 points and five rebounds while Gabriel Mendes chipped in nine points and three blocked shots.
Sacramento State will take the next seven days off before playing its final non-league game at Washington of the Pac-12 Conference.
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