LATE VETETO BASKET CAPS COMEBACK AND GIVES MENâ€™S BASKETBALL A 51-50 WIN OVER UCSB
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Sacramento State center Konner Veteto converted a lay-up with five seconds remaining to help deliver a come-from-behind 51-50 victory over UC Santa Barbara in a non-conference men’s basketball game Saturday evening at The Thunderdome.
After UCSB’s Taran Brown buried a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining to give the Gauchos a 50-49 lead, the Hornets were staring at potentially their fifth one-point loss of the season. Instead, Sacramento State drew up a play that sophomore point guard Dylan Garrity ran to perfection. After dribbling down the clock, Garrity zipped a bounce pass from above the three-point line to an awaiting Veteto, who turned around and converted a wide-open lay-in with five seconds left. UC Santa Barbara (8-18) had one final chance, but Michael Bryson’s contested three-point attempt at the buzzer hit the front rim as time expired.
Had the Hornets lost by a point tonight, the team would have fallen to 0-5 in one-point outcomes this year. Instead, Sacramento State (13-12) finally wins a nail biter while also avoiding falling below the .500 mark for the first time all season, and avoiding its first three-game losing streak of the year. In addition, the team’s 13 wins this season are tied for the second most during the program’s Div. I era (the 2005-06 squad won 15, the 2003-04 squad won 13).
The game was part of the Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters event (sponsored by ESPN) that includes 122 teams from 15 conferences. All 11 of the Big Sky Conference’s teams participated in the event, and the league is 5-5 in those games with Montana State playing tomorrow. This year marked the third straight season Sacramento State has participated in the event, and the team is now 1-2 in those games.
Veteto’s lay-up concluded a run that saw Sacramento State outscore UC Santa Barbara, 23-10, over the game’s final 12 minutes. The Hornets began the game by missing their first nine field goal attempts and turning the ball over five times over that span. In fact, Sacramento State scored just two points during the game’s first nine minutes before a Garrity three-pointer mercifully ended the drought at the 10:57 mark. Fortunately, the Gauchos weren’t shooting much better as the Garrity three ball cut the UCSB lead to 10-5.
Poor shooting was a theme all night as both teams shot below 34 percent from the field (.327 by the Hornets, .333 from the Gauchos). UC Santa Barbara scored the game’s first points at the 18:36 mark of the first half and trailed for just 56 seconds during the entire contest. Back-to-back three-pointers from John Dickson and Garrity cut the Gaucho lead to 43-42 with 5:44 remaining. From that point on, neither team held a lead larger than three points.
After both teams exchanged buckets the next four minutes of game clock, it was another Dickson three-pointer with 1:34 left that gave Sacramento State its first lead of the game at 47-45 with 1:34 remaining. A jumper from UCSB’s Alan Williams tied the game with 59 seconds left before a Dickson layup put the Hornets back on top, 49-47, with 33 seconds remaining.
That set up the game’s final 20 seconds that included the UCSB three ball from Brown, and the answer from Veteto which proved to be the game-winning bucket.
Dickson scored eight of the Hornets’ final 15 points as Sacramento State converted on four of its final five possessions of the contest. Although the Hornets shot poorly from the field, the team was more than adequate from the three-point line where they shot 38.9 percent (7-18), including the trio of Garrity, Dickson and Mikh McKinney going 7-for-13 from distance.
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak on the road for the Hornets, which included a pair of gut-wrenching one-point losses. Sacramento State, which is now 4-9 on the road compared to 9-3 at home, defeated UC Santa Barbara for the first time in school history. The Gauchos had won the only four meetings between the two schools, and the teams were playing for the first time since 1992.
Four Hornets scored in double figures in tonight’s game, comprised of Dickson (12 points, seven rebounds), Garrity (12 points, five rebounds and five assists), Veteto (11 points, team-high eight rebounds) and McKinney (11 points, four assists). Those four players combined to score all but five of the team’s points as Sacramento State received just three points off the bench. Freshman Cody Demps received his first start of the season, and finished with two points, three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 19 minutes. Joe Eberhard came off the bench tonight after starting 33 straight contests dating back to last season. True freshman guard Dreon Barlett, who had appeared in nine games all season, recieved a season-high 13 minutes of playing time as well.
The Hornets converted three more free throws (.800, 12-for-15) than the Gauchos, and UCSB had one more made field goal. The Gauchos finished 33.3 percent (17-51) from the field, 33.3 percent (7-21) from the three-point line and 81.8 percent (9-11) from the charity stripe. Both teams had 35 rebounds and 13 points off turnovers, and the game featured just 26 combined points inside the paint.
Only one UC Santa Barbara player finished in double figures, and that was Brown, who had 18 points. Williams had eight points and game highs in rebounds (11) and blocked shots (5) while T.J. Taylor finished with nine points and six assists with just one turnover.
Sacramento State will now turn its attention back to Big Sky Conference play where the Hornets find themselves in a dog fight for one of the league’s seven postseason spots with just four games remaining in the regular season. Two of those games will come next week at home (the final two games inside the Nest this year) against Weber State on Thursday and Idaho State on Saturday. Both games will begin at 7:05 p.m. Saturday’s game is Senior Night where Hornet seniors Dickson, Eberhard, Veteto and Julian Demalleville will be honored for their contributions to the program.