? A Brief Preview
Coming off its largest win against a Big Sky opponent, the Sacramento State men?s basketball team will welcome first-place Montana State into Hornet Gym on Friday night. The game will tip off at 7:05 p.m.
The Hornets enter the contest with a 7-10 overall record and a 1-2 mark in Big Sky Conference games. Last week, Sacramento State disposed of Northern Arizona, 81-63, to claim its first league win of the season. The victory also improved the team to 7-1 at home this year.
Montana State is off to an amazing start in conference play. The Bobcats are 5-0 in league games and 12-6 overall. MSU is riding a nine-game win streak which dates back to Dec. 22. The team already has earned Big Sky road wins against Weber State, Portland State and Eastern Washington.
? Meet the Coaches
Jerome Jenkins returns for his second season as head coach at Sacramento State. Jenkins became the 12th coach in the 53-year history of Hornet basketball when he was named to the position on March 14, 2000.
The 34-year old coach came to Sacramento State prior to the 1999-2000 season and served as the team?s top assistant coach. Jenkins previously had worked two seasons as an assistant at Eastern Washington. Prior to work at EWU, Jenkins spent four seasons at Diablo Valley College.
A native of Los Angeles, Jenkins was an all-conference point guard at L.A. City College as a freshman before playing his sophomore season at Southwestern Oregon C.C. He then transferred to Regis University in Denver, Colo., where he played his final two seasons. While with the Rangers, he led the team in assists and steals and was twice named all-conference.
Jenkins picked up his first career victory on Nov. 17 when the Hornets topped Bethany College, 103-49. He currently has a 11-32 career record.
Montana State is led by Mick Durham. In his 12 seasons as head coach of the Bobcats, Durham owns a 184-151 overall record. He has guided the team to the Big Sky Tournament nine times and a berth in the 1995-96 NCAA Tournament.
A Look at the Hornets
? Follow My Lead
Trying to figure out Cedric Thompkins? scoring patterns this season is nearly impossible. One thing, however, is simple. If Thompkins scores 10 or more points, the Hornets usually win.
This year, Sacramento State is 5-1 when the sophomore cracks double-figures. The team?s only loss came at San Jose State where he had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Saturday against Northern Arizona, Thompkins scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. The performance marked his fourth double-double of the season and his third in the past five games.
In the previous game, however, Thompkins was nearly nonexistent. He tallied just two points and two boards before fouling out in 14 minutes in the team?s three-point loss at Weber State.
? Get Off My Back
It?s hard to keep Joel Jones down. The junior forward sat out the first half against Northern Arizona due to a pinched sciatic nerve in his back but made the most of his playing time in the second half.
The San Diego native scored 16 points in 16 minutes and was 6-of-7 from the floor. Three of his buckets came on fast-break dunks including an alley-oop pass from Joe Dawson and a between-the-legs bounce pass from Dawson.
Jones is now averaging 17.7 points in the three Big Sky Conference games and 10.3 overall. He is shooting .667 (20-of-30) from the field and .500 (7-of-14) from behind the arc against conference foes.
? Big Victory
Since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97, large victories have been few and far between for the Hornets. In fact, Sacramento State has won just 11 league games in six years. Of those 11 wins, five have come by more than 10 points.
The team?s latest victory over Northern Arizona ranked as the largest league win in school history. The 18-point margin eclipsed the previous high of 17 which was set last season against Portland State.
? Deep Thoughts
One factor contributing to the team?s improved play this season is its depth. Over the past four games, the Sacramento State bench is averaging 38.5 points per game while the starters have contributed 45.0 ppg.
This season, the bench has equaled or surpassed the scoring output of the starters six times.
Among the contributors off the bench have been Jones, Jimmy White (7.6 ppg), David Joiner (6.2), Rene Jacques (4.9), Leo Cravey (4.6), Rashaad Hooks (3.9) and Tony Champion (2.8).
? Walk-on This Way
Joe Dawson is easily the biggest surprise to the Sacramento State team this season. He might be the biggest surprise is the Big Sky Conference.
Dawson enters the week ranked fourth in the Big Sky with 14.8 points per game. He is also second in the conference in three-pointers per game and fifth in three-point percentage. Dawson, who walked on to the team in the fall, has scored at least 10 points in 12 games this season, including the last eight.
For the year, Dawson has made 39-of-84 (.464) three-point attempts and 61-of-129 (.473) total field goals.
Former Hornet Bo Segeberg is redshirting for MSU this season. Segeberg played one year at Sacramento State before playing last season at Antelope Valley JC with Jimmy White. He is sitting out this season due to a back injury.
? Other Notes
The crowd of 1,133 against NAU was the second largest since the team returned to Hornet Gym last year...David Joiner did not score against NAU ending a streak of 19 games with at least two points...White and Dawson are the only two players to score in every game this season.
A Look at the Last Meeting
Five Montana State players scored in double figures including four starters to lead the Bobcats to a 98-82 men?s basketball victory over Sacramento State on Feb. 12, 2001 at Worthington Arena.
The win avenged an MSU loss to the Hornets just eight days earlier.
Montana State, which entered the game as the Big Sky?s best shooting team, shot 57.6 from the floor. The Bobcats converted 34-of-59 field goals including nine three pointers. Pete Conway came off the bench to lead all MSU scorers with 18 points. Conway ended the evening 6-for-6 from the floor including a perfect 4-of-4 from long range. He also made both of his free throw attempts. Conway was joined in double digits by Justin Brown (14), John Lazosky (14), Tom Duffy (13) and Aaron Rich (13).
Sacramento State also shot the ball well but could not match Montana State?s effort. The Hornets were 25-for-59 (.424) from the floor but were an impressive 27-of-31 (.871) from the charity stripe. Senior Rame Batta was 9-for-9 from the free throw line and also made four baskets to lead the team with 19 points. Rickie Glenn added 17 points and Pablo Gonzales chipped in 12. The team also received a then career-high eight points from freshman Tony Champion.
MSU used a couple of small runs to break an 11-11 tie and built a 58-45 halftime lead. The Hornets were able to pull as close as 10, 77-67, with 7:57 left but Montana State went on an 18-9 run to put the game away.
Sacramento State broke the 80-point plateau for the first time since tallying 88 against UC Riverside on January 19 in overtime.
A Look at the Bobcats
? Friday?s game will mark the second time this season that Sacramento State will have faced Aaron Rich. The senior, who leads MSU with 10.9 ppg, also served as the punter during football.
? The Bobcats and Hornets have played three common opponents. MSU defeated UC Riverside, Idaho State and Weber State. Sacramento State lost to all three schools.
? The team?s nine-game win streak is the longest since the 1994-95 squad won 12 games at the start of the year en route to a 21-8 overall record.
? Montana State holds a 13-3 advantage in the all-time series. The Hornets, however, have won the last two meetings in Sacramento.
Who?s Up Next
? The Hornets will play Montana on Saturday at Hornet Gym. The Griz lead the all-time series, 13-1.
Big Sky Notes
? Montana State?s Casey Reynolds was named Big Sky Conference Player of the Week. Reynolds, who was co-POW last week, scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds against Idaho State. Against the Bengals, he was 5-of-5 from the field and 7-of-7 at the line.
He followed that effort with 17 points and six boards against Weber State.
Reynolds is averaging 10.4 points and 8.2 rebounds as a starter this year.