SACRAMENTO -- After nearly five weeks of official team practices, the Sacramento State men's basketball squad will play its lone exhibition game this Wednesday against Westcliff at 7:05 p.m. inside the Nest.
All Sacramento State faculty and staff will be admitted free to the game as part of Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night. Like every home game, Sacramento State students with a valid OneCard will be admitted free. For the general public, tickets are just $5 to Wednesday's game.
The game will not be on the radio nor will it be video streamed. Once the regular season begins, all home games, and every game at a Big Sky Conference venue will be streamed live and free via Pluto.TV. In addition, 23rd-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy is back to call the action on the radio for every home game on ESPN 1320 AM. Multimedia links for every game, including live stats, can be found on the men's basketball schedule on the website.
Sacramento State opens the regular season on Friday, Nov. 8, against Simpson. That will mark the first of three straight regular season games in the Sacramento area, including Nov. 15 vs. UC Riverside inside the Nest and Nov. 20 against UC Davis at the Golden 1 Center.
The Hornets are coming off a 2018-19 season in which the team finished 15-16 overall and 8-12 in the Big Sky. The 15 wins tied for the second largest output during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.). The Hornets were never better than four games above .500, or worse than one game below .500 during the entire season.
Sacramento State returns 11 players (one redshirt), including four starters, from a year ago. That list includes six of the team's top seven scorers. Gone is leading scorer and second team all-conference selection Marcus Graves (17.0 ppg), but the Hornets still return a huge chunk of their scoring production. In fact, with the exception of Graves, every player on the roster that averaged at least four points per game is back.
The list of returners includes center Joshua Patton (12.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg), guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (8.5 ppg, 1.5 spg), forward Ethan Esposito (8.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg), guard Bryce Fowler (8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg), forward Osi Nwachukwu (6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and forward Chibueze Jacobs (4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg). Patton started all 31 games last season and was the only center in the Big Sky to garner all-league accolades when he was named to the third team. Mauriohooho-Le'afa (26), Fowler (20) and Nwachukwu (17) also started over half of the team's games.
Sacramento State has 18 players on its roster this season, the most in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.). Of those 18 players, there are five seniors, six juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen. That includes seven newcomers. The Hornets have 11 players that could see time at guard, six forwards and one at center.
• Sacramento State defeated Westcliff, 89-40, in the teams' first-ever meeting on Dec. 13, 2018, at the Nest. Westcliff is in its third year at the NAIA level, and hails from Irvine.
• Every home game played inside the Nest this season will begin at 7 p.m.
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