-- A Brief Preview
Coming off a pivotal, 90-80, victory over Idaho State on Saturday, the Sacramento State men''s basketball team will look to extend its winning streak to two games when it takes on Northern Arizona. The game, which will be held at the J.L. Walkup Skydome on Feb. 16, will tip off at 6:05 p.m. PST. The contest can be heard on KTKZ 1380 AM and www.hornetsports.com with Steve McElroy calling the action.
Sacramento State enters the game with a 9-14 overall record and a 3-6 mark in Big Sky Conference games. The Hornets currently hold sole possession of sixth place in the league standings. The top six teams in the league advance to the Big Sky Conference Tournament at the end of the regular season.
Northern Arizona enters the week as one of the hottest teams in the Big Sky. The Lumberjacks have won five of their last seven contests including a pair of games over the weekend.
-- 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 13-36 career record.
Northern Arizona is led by Mike Adras. In his three years with the Lumberjacks, Adras has produced a 47-35 overall record and a pair of Big Sky Tournament berths.
A Look at the Hornets
-- Injury Update
Both Derek Lambeth and Ronnie Walton continue to nurse leg injuries. Both players missed the team''s game against Eastern Washington and attempted to return vs. Weber State. The two, however, were forced back to the bench against ISU.
Lambeth suffered a knee injury in the first half against Portland State and is on the road to recovery. The junior had an MRI early last week which revealed no major damage. Lambeth played one minute against WSU and is scheduled to return to the lineup against Northern Arizona.
Walton''s injury is a little more serious. The senior is playing with two hairline fractures in his shin. The problem was originally diagnosed as shin splints but an X-ray revealed the small breaks. He will likely be limited to just one game a week for the remainder of the season.
-- One Step Away
The Sacramento State men''s basketball team is just one victory away from setting a couple of school records. With its next win, the Hornets will earn their 10th overall and fourth league victory.
The team tied the overall and league Div. I-era record with its win over Idaho State. The previous best overall mark of 9-18 was held by the 1999-2000 team. Both 1998-99 and 1999-00 teams won three Big Sky games.
The Hornets are also still searching for their first conference road win. Sacramento State has lost all 44 games played away from home since becoming a member of the league.
-- Return of the Jacques
After two seasons of forgettable basketball, senior Rene Jacques appears to have returned to his freshman form. The guard scored a season-high 22 points against Idaho State on Saturday.
Jacques made 6-of-11 shots from the field and was 8-for-10 at the free throw line.
Over the last seven games, Jacques has scored in double-figures five times. During that stretch he is 20-of-41 from the floor including 11 three-pointers. Jacques has also made the most of his trips to the charity stripe where he is 16-for-20.
-- 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 7-1 when the sophomore cracks double-figures and just 2-13 when he scores less than 10. The team''s only loss came at San Jose State where he had 19 points and 13 rebounds.
Thompkins continued the streak on Saturday with 11 points against Idaho State. In the four previous games - all of which were losses - he scored seven, seven, three and eight.
-- Mr. Jones
Joel Jones is enjoying the Big Sky season. The junior is averaging 16.7 points in the team?s nine conference games.
Overall, Jones is second on the team with 11.9 ppg. He is also third on the team with 3.7 rebounds per contest and leads the squad with 21 blocked shots and 33 steals.
The San Diego native has scored at least 12 points in seven Big Sky games this year, including 25 vs. NAU. Montana limited Jones to nine points for his lowest output during league play.
-- Glass Cleaner
Jay Richardson has emerged as a force on the boards over the last two games. The senior grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds against Weber State and followed that effort with nine boards vs. Idaho State. Richardson also did his part offensively against the Bengals, scoring eight points.
-- Walk-on This Way
Joe Dawson is hard man to keep down. After having his streak of 12-straight games with 10-plus points halted in the loss against Weber State. The walk-on tallied 17 points vs. Idaho State. Dawson made 4-of-9 shots from the floor and added seven free throws for his 17 points. He also filled in nicely at point guard in Ronnie Walton''s absence, tallying a career-high 10 assists.
Dawson continues to lead the team with 15.8 ppg overall and 17.4 ppg in conference games. He has also dished out a team-high 70 assists.
-- A Look at the Last Meeting
Cedric Thompkins led four Sacramento State players in double-figures with 21 points and 13 rebounds to help the Hornets to an 81-63 victory over Northern Arizona Saturday night.
The Hornets led from start to finish in the game and led by less than 10 points only one time in the final 30 minutes. Thompkins helped the team to its early lead by making four of his first six shots and grabbing eight rebounds in the first half. The junior finished the game 8-for-10 from the floor and 5-of-9 from the line. The double-double was his fourth of the year and the 21 points were a career high.
Sacramento State led 11-6 with 13:45 to play in the first half before going on an 11-5 run to take control of the contest. The Hornets pushed the lead to 14 points on three occasions before settling for a 33-24 halftime advantage. The team opened the second half with a pair of free throws by Derek Lambeth and never led by less than 10 for the remainder of the game.
Northern Arizona was able to cut the lead to 10 points, twice, but could not get closer. The Lumberjacks were handcuffed all night by foul trouble. The team''s top two scorers, Ryan McDade and Brian McHugh, were limited to 17 and 16 minutes, respectively.
Sacramento State received a boost in the second half behind the play of Joel Jones. The junior scored 16 points in 16 minutes in the second half. Jones ended the night 6-of-7 from the floor including three electrifying dunks.
A Look at the Lumberjacks
-- After suffering an 18-point loss at Sacramento State on Jan. 19, Northern Arizona has won five of its past seven games.
The Lumberjacks earned a pair of victories at home last weekend, defeating Idaho State, 77-76, at the buzzer in overtime and downing Weber State, 85-79.
-- Matt Gebhardt has emerged as the team''s top scorer. Gebhardt leads the team wtih 11.3 points per game overall and 12.7 ppg in Big Sky Conference games.
-- Gebhardt and Ryan McDade are the only two NAU players to start every game this year.
-- The Series
Northern Arizona holds a 12-5 lead in the all-time series. Sacramento State ended a three-game losing streak against NAU with an 81-63 win on Jan. 19.
-- Who''s Up Next
Sacramento State will play its final two regular season road games next Friday and Saturday. The team will play at Montana on Feb. 22 before travelling to Montana State on Feb. 23.
-- Big Sky Notes
Eastern Washington''s Alvin Snow and Northern Arizona''s Matt Gebhardt have been named Big Sky Conference Co-Players of the Week. Snow scored 39 points over two games as EWU swept Montana State and Montana on the road. Gebhardt had a career-high 22 points against Idaho State and came back with 21 points against Weber State, both home wins for the Lumberjacks.