GREELEY, Colo. — Northern Colorado used a 12-5 run over the final 2:42 and outlasted Sacramento State, 65-59, on Saturday afternoon in a Big Sky Conference game at Bank of Colorado Arena.
Today marked the final leg of a three-game road trip for Sacramento State, and the game featured 13 lead changes and six ties. No team led by more than seven points the entire way as the Bears led for 24 minutes and the Hornets led for 11 minutes.
A Chibueze Jacobs bucket gave the Hornets what amounted to be their final lead at 54-53 with 3:08 remaining. Northern Colorado, however, would score on six of its next eight possessions to put the game away.
The finish was eerily similar to the Hornets' 70-65 loss to the Bears at home earlier this season. In that game, Northern Colorado used a 12-2 run over the final 2:30 to win. Preseason all-conference selection Jordan Davis had 11 of the Bears' final 12 points in that game, and today, he scored seven of the team's final 12 points. Davis finished with 28 points at the Nest, and had 24 points this afternoon.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 9-11 overall and 3-8 in the Big Sky. Of those eight conference losses, five have come by six points or less. In fact, the Hornets are now 1-5 against Big Sky opposition in games decided by six points or fewer.
Northern Colorado remains atop the Big Sky standings with a 16-8 overall record and 10-3 mark in league play. The Bears have won five of their last six, and are 8-2 at home. Sacramento State has now dropped six straight road games against Northern Colorado and hasn't won in Greeley since the 2011-12 season.
After playing seven of its first 11 league games on the road, Sacramento State's schedule will get home friendly the rest of the way. The Hornets will play six of their final nine conference games in the Nest, including three games next week inside the friendly confines.
Sacramento State, which led at the half, 29-25, finished with three more made field goals than Northern Colorado, but the Bears converted on six more 3-pointers and six more free throws. The Hornets shot 43% (23-53) from the field, 25% (2-8) from the arc and 69% (11-16) from the free throw line. Northern Colorado shot 41% overall (20-49), 29% (8-28) from distance and 65% (17-26) from the charity stripe.
Sacramento State turned the ball over just nine times while tallying eight steals. Northern Colorado held a 34-31 edge in the rebounding department.
Five Hornets had at least eight points, including Marcus Graves who finished with a team-high 14 points to go with six rebounds and three assists. Graves has now led the team in scoring in six straight, and nine of the last 10 games. Jacobs had a career-high 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting while also securing five boards.
Joshua Patton had eight points, six rebounds and a blocked shot, Bryce Fowler eight points, three rebounds and four steals, and Ethan Esposito had eight points and three boards. Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa added five points, five rebounds and three steals.
Davis finished with 24 points (15 in the second half) on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 10-for-13 from the free throw line. Jonah Radebaugh, who had five points during the Bears' game-clinching 12-5 run, posted 13 points and six rebounds.
Sacramento State will play three times next week at home, including Monday vs. Portland State at 7:35 p.m. That game is part of a doubleheader that will see the Hornet women play Northern Colorado at 5:05 p.m. Sacramento State will also play at home next week on Thursday vs. Southern Utah and Saturday vs. Northern Arizona. Both of those games will tip at 7:05 p.m.