MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS SECOND GAME OF BACK-TO-BACK TONIGHT VS. PORTLAND STATE
A Brief Preview
In the midst of a season long five-game losing streak, the Sacramento State men’s basketball squad (7-13, 2-5) will play the second of a back-to-back game scenario as the Hornets fell to Eastern Washington yesterday evening. The Green and Gold will face Portland State tonight inside the Hornets Nest at 7:05 p.m. Sacramento State is one of two Big Sky Conference teams (Weber State) that will play a pair of back-to-back conference games this season, including consecutive contests at Montana and Montana State on Feb. 7-8. Tonight’s game against Portland State will mark the second of a season long three-game homestand as the Hornets return to the Nest on Wednesday, Jan. 31, against Northern Colorado.
If the Hornets don’t right the ship soon, they could find themselves in danger of missing the Big Sky Tournament for the first time in five years. Sacramento State is one of three teams (Montana, Eastern Washington) in the Big Sky to make the league’s postseason tournament each of the last four years. The top six teams in the nine-member league advance to the tournament, and the Hornets are currently in eighth place, 2.0 games back of sixth place. Portland State (13-8 overall) sits in the seventh spot with a 4-4 league mark.
Since beating Northern Colorado on Dec. 30 and Montana on Jan. 4 to improve to 2-1 in the Big Sky, the Hornets have lost each of their last four conference games by an average of 18.3 points per game. Even more alarming is the fact the Hornets have dropped three straight at home, a place they usually thrive. The Hornets’ last victory came at home against Montana 22 days ago.
During the losing streak, opponents are shooting a robust 58.4 percent (149-255) from the field, .436 (24-55) from the three-point line, and are outrebounding the Hornets by more than 12 rebounds per game (42.6-30.2). Conversely, Sacramento State is shooting just 37.3 percent (128-343) over the last five games, and 27.6 percent (35-127) from beyond the arc. Including a season-low .311 mark at Cal Poly, the Hornets have shot worse than 37.0 percent in four of the five games after shooting better than .370 in 11 of the first 15 games of the season.
Tonight will mark the first meeting of the season between Sacramento State and Portland State. The Hornets swept both meetings between the two teams last year and are 8-14 all time against the Vikings. Sacramento State has won three of the last four meetings with Portland State inside the Hornets Nest, including last year’s 76-60 victory. The Vikings, who have won two straight, have not played since last Saturday’s 83-78 home victory over Northern Colorado. Portland State is 3-5 on the road this year, including 1-2 against Big Sky opposition.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on KSAC 1240 AM, hornetsports.com and bigskytv.org with Steve McElroy calling all the action. McElroy returns for his 10th season as radio voice of Hornet basketball.
Last Year vs. Portland State, Part I
Alex Bausley (game-high 21), Haron Hargrave (15), and Loren Leath (15) combined for 51 points to lead Sacramento State to a 76-60 victory over Portland State on Jan. 5, 2006, at the Nest.
Both teams began the game sluggishly, combining for just 10 points during the first nine minutes of the contest. Portland State took its largest lead of the game at 8-4 with 11:33 to play, but a three-pointer from Leath quickly sliced the lead to one point (11:14). The teams exchanged baskets for the next five minutes as a Juma Kamara three-pointer tied things at 18-18 with 6:16 to play. In the middle of that stretch, the Vikings lost their starting point guard Ryan Sommer to a hamstring injury.
Sacramento State used a 17-3 run that spanned exactly eight minutes of both the first and second halves to take a commanding 35-21 lead with 18:14 to play in the game. The Vikings would get no closer than nine points of the Hornets’ lead the rest of the way as Sacramento State opened up a lead as large as 23 points (76-53).
Last Year vs. Portland State, Part II
Clark Woods scored a game-high 16 points and the Hornets outscored Portland State, 13-4, over the final 8:03 to defeat the Vikings, 68-65, on Feb. 4, 2006 at the Stott Center. Sacramento State had been winless (0-10) against the Vikings in Portland.
Trailing, 53-52, Portland State’s Tyler Hollist scored on a lay-up to give the Vikings a 54-53 lead and ignite a 9-2 spurt. Ryan Sommer’s three-pointer capped the run and gave the Vikings their largest lead of the night at six points (61-55) with 8:03 remaining.
After Josh Neeley hit a jumper to make it 63-57, the Hornets scored eight-straight points with DaShawn Freeman’s three-pointer capping the run to give Sacramento State a 65-63 lead with 4:01 remaining in the contest.
Sacramento State would not trail again as the two teams combined for just one field goal over the final four minutes. The Vikings’ Anthony Washington made a pair of free throws with 1:43 left to tie the game at 65-65, but Alex Bausley answered with a jumper to put the Hornets back on top, 67-65, with 1:20 remaining.
For Sacramento State''s complete set of game notes, click on the link above the story.