MENâ€™S BASKETBALL DEFENDS AND REBOUNDS ITS WAY TO A 63-55 VICTORY OVER PORTLAND STATE
John Dickson has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games, the second longest active streak in the Big Sky Conference
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State outrebounded Portland State by a 48-32 margin and limited the Vikings to 35.3 percent shooting on the way to a 63-55 victory in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at The Nest.
Of the Hornets’ 48 rebounds, 18 came on the offensive glass (including five from sophomore John Dickson), and Sacramento State outscored Portland State in second-chance points by a 21-7 margin. On a night when the Hornets didn’t shoot very well from the perimeter (.356), Sacramento State compensated with its rebounding and easy-chance points (26 of the team’s 63 points came in the paint).
The Hornets also used timely defense as Portland State was held scoreless the final 2:58 of the contest. In fact, after the Vikings took their largest lead of the game at 48-43 with 10:15 remaining, Sacramento State closed the last 10 minutes on a 20-7 run. Portland State failed to score on its final seven possessions of the game.
One of the biggest sequences of the game came with under 5:30 to play when freshman Jackson Carbajal knocked down three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to the put the Hornets up, 59-53, with 4:24 remaining. Sacramento State led by at least four points the rest of the way, and knocked down four of its final six free throw attempts to ice the game. The eight-point margin of victory was also the largest lead of the night for either team.
The Hornets blocked seven shots, including at least one block by six different players. Sacramento State shot just 35.6 percent (21-59) from the field, 26.9 percent (7-26) from the three-point line and 58.3 percent (14-24) from the free throw line, but didn’t need efficient shooting because of the defensive effort. Portland State, which buried 12 three-pointers on the way to an 86-80 victory over the Hornets five days ago in Portland, was held to eight three-pointers and 36.4 percent (8-22) shooting from beyond the arc. In fact, after the Vikings made three of their first four three-pointers of the game, the team converted on just five of its final 18 attempts from distance.
Sacramento State (6-16, 3-8) has now won three of its last four games, and moved to within 1.5 games of a playoff spot with five league games remaining. The top six teams in the nine-member conference reach the Big Sky Tournament and Eastern Washington currently holds the last spot with a 4-6 league record.
Sacramento State is also beginning to establish a home court advantage, winning three straight inside the friendly confines for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The Hornets are now 6-5 at home, and three of those losses came by five points or less. Of the team’s final five conference games, two will come at home (Feb. 24 vs. Northern Arizona, Feb. 26 vs. Weber State).
Portland State, which had defeated Sacramento State on eight straight occasions prior to tonight, dropped to 11-11 overall and 4-6 in the league.
Leading the way for the Hornets was Dickson, who finished with a game-high 16 points to go along with eight rebounds, a block and a steal. He has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games, which is the second longest active streak in the Big Sky. Dickson went just 6-of-10 from the free throw line and saw his streak of 27 consecutive made free throws come to an end. Eleven of his 16 points came in the second half.
Joining Dickson in double figures for the Hornets was senior point guard Sultan Toles-Bey who had 13 points, five rebounds and a game-high six assists while playing 39 minutes. Four different Hornets pulled at least seven rebounds, including senior Duro Bjegovic (five points, game-high 11 rebounds), and juniors Alpha N'Diaye (four points, seven rebounds and a block) and Walter Jackson (eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks). Carbajal added nine points and four rebounds, and junior Heath Hoffman had six points and four rebounds.
Portland State had five players in double figures, comprised of Phil Nelson (12), Phillip Thomas (11), Charles Odum (11), Melvin Jones (10) and Chris Harriel (10 points and a team-high seven rebounds). Thomas just scorched the Hornets for a career-high 29 points when the two teams met five days ago.
Sacramento State does not play again until next week when the team travels to Big Sky Country to take on Montana (Thursday, Feb. 10) and Montana State (Sunday, Feb. 13). The game against Montana State will be aired live on Altitude Sports and Entertainment at 11:05 a.m. PST.