HARGRAVE'S BUZZER BEATING THREE-POINTER GIVES MEN'S BASKETBALL THRILLING VICTORY OVER PACIFIC
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State senior guard Haron Hargrave buried a fadeaway three-pointer at the buzzer to give the Hornets a dramatic 74-72 overtime victory over Pacific in a non-conference men''s basketball game Wednesday evening at the Hornets Nest.
With 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock, sophomore Donald Thomas whipped an inbounds pass from the baseline near the Hornets'' bench to the other side of the floor where Hargrave caught the ball in the corner and hit a three-pointer while falling out of bounds. The three-pointer rattled in as the buzzer sounded, setting off a frenzy where Sacramento State fans stormed the court and, at one point, lifted Hargrave on their shoulders.
Sacramento State found itself down three points (72-69) late in the overtime session, and Pacific had possession of the ball before the Hornets'' Justin Williams stole the ball from Steffan Johnson with 23 seconds to play. The Hornets set up a play for Hargrave who drove hard to the bucket before being fouled with 10 seconds remaining. Hargrave knocked down both free throws, cutting the deficit to one point (72-71).
After a timeout, Pacific''s C.J. Morgan caught the inbounds pass and was hounded by two Hornet defenders before being called for travelling. The Hornets took possession of the ball with nine seconds remaining, and senior forward Alex Bausley was eventually stripped with four seconds on the clock. The ball trickled towards the lane where a group of players battled for the loose orange, and the referees eventually called a jump ball with 0.4 seconds left. The possession arrow was in favor of the Hornets, and Thomas threw a bullet on the ensuing inbounds which Hargrave caught, and in one motion, drained the three ball in front of an admiring sellout crowd.
Sacramento State, which blew a five-point during the final 40 seconds of regulation, captured arguably its biggest non-conference home win during the program''s Div. I era (1991-pres.). Pacific has reached the NCAA Tournament each of the last three years, including second round appearances in 2004 and 2005.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 5-5 overall and 4-1 at the Hornets Nest. In addition, the team played its first nail biter of the season as all nine games prior to tonight had been decided by at least nine points. Sacramento State snapped an 11-game losing streak to Pacific which dates back to 1964. The two teams were playing each other for the first time since 1998.
With the loss, Pacific dropped to 3-5, as the team''s defeats have come to New Mexico State, Loyola Marymount, Hawai''i, and Texas A&M. The Tigers were forced into 23 turnovers, including three in the overtime session as Sacramento State''s constant on-ball pressure resulted in 13 steals, including a game-high four from Bausley.
Hargrave finished the game with a team-high 18 points, on 4-of-9 shooting from the floor, 3-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc, and 7-of-9 from the free throw line. Hargrave was one of three Hornets in double figures, joining Bausley (14 points, seven rebounds) and junior Angel Alamo (17 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in a team-high 42 minutes). Junior Justin Williams added eight points, six rebounds, two assists, two blocked shots and three steals, and junior Jason Davis finished with four points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
Sacramento State, which won despite leading scorer Loren Leath being limited to a season-low two points, shot 39.1 percent (25-64) from the field and 35.7 percent (5-14) from beyond the arc. A big problem all year, the Hornets struggled from the free throw line again, converting just 57.6 percent (19-33) of the team''s freebies. That included two missed free throws during the overtime session.
In a game where no team led by more than eight points, Sacramento State led for nearly the entire first half and a good portion of the second half before a Morgan three-pointer with five seconds remaining forced overtime.
Pacific was led by Morgan''s game-high 24 points while Anthony Brown finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Johnson added 11 points and 10 assists. The Tigers shot 42.9 percent from both the field (24-56) and three-point line (9-21).
Tonight''s game marks the last at home for Sacramento State until the team returns to the friendly confines on Thursday, Jan. 4, for its Big Sky Conference home opener against Montana. Sacramento State will now embark upon a season long four-game road trip, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Long Beach State. The Hornets will also play at Boise State (Dec. 16), Northern Arizona (Dec. 28) and Northern Colorado (Dec. 30) during the road trip.