MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FINAL ROAD GAME SATURDAY AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
A Brief Preview
The Sacramento State men’s basketball team (9-18, 4-10) will play its final road game of the season on Saturday, Feb. 24, against Eastern Washington. Tip-off at Reese Court is 7:05 p.m. The Hornets will play the role of potential spoilers as Eastern Washington is still battling for one of the Big Sky Conference’s final three playoff spots.
After reaching the Big Sky Tournament each of the last four years, Sacramento State was eliminated from tournament contention with a loss to Portland State on Thursday night. The Hornets began the year as one of three teams (Montana and Eastern Washington are the others) to have reached the Big Sky Tournament each of the last four seasons. That streak could also end for Eastern Washington should the Hornets defeat the Eagles on Saturday night.
Eastern Washington (14-14, 7-8) is coming off an 82-79 home victory over Idaho State Thursday night in which Marcus Hinton drained a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left. The Eagles are currently in seventh place in the league standings, battling with Montana, Idaho State and Portland State for the final three spots in the Big Sky Tournament. The Eagles have reached the conference tournament each of the last nine years, the longest active streak for any team in the Big Sky.
The top six teams in the nine-member league advance to the Big Sky Tournament as Weber State, Northern Arizona and Montana State have already clinched spots. Weber State has also clinched the right to host the Big Sky Tournament semifinals and championship game (March 6-7). The Hornets had reached the event four straight years after failing to qualify in each of the team’s first six years in the Big Sky.
Sacramento State has lost 10 of its last 12 games after beginning the conference season with a 2-1 record. During the 12-game stretch, the Hornets have struggled offensively (shooting .393), defensively (allowing opponents to shoot .535) and in the rebounding department (-10.9 disparity per game).
The Hornets have had a tough time on the road this year, having lost six straight away from the friendly confines. The team’s last win away from home came on Dec. 30 in a 74-70 victory over Northern Colorado. Sacramento State is now 2-13 on the road with both of those victories coming in the state of Colorado (the other coming at Denver on Nov. 17).
Eastern Washington is 18-7 all-time against the Hornets, including a 100-85 victory earlier this season in Sacramento. The Eagles are 11-1 against Sacramento State in Cheney, Wash., with the Hornets’ only victory coming in 1994-95, two years before joining the Big Sky.
Saturday’s game will be broadcast live on KSAC 1240 AM, hornetsports.com and bigskytv.org with Steve McElroy calling all the action. McElroy is in his 10th season as radio voice of Hornet basketball.