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MENâ€™S BASKETBALL SHOOTS ICE COLD FROM THE FIELD IN LOSS AT IDAHO STATE
POCATELLO, Idaho -- David Schroeder led all players with 23 points, and Idaho State limited Sacramento State to .343 (23-67) field goal percentage on the way to an 85-62 victory over the Hornets in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Saturday evening at Holt Arena.
Sacramento State lost for the seventh time in eight games as the Hornets shot poorly, struggled on defense (Idaho State shot 61.5 percent from the field), and were outrebounded by a 41-30 margin. The Hornets were just 6-of-28 (.214) from beyond the three-point line and 10-of-19 (.526) from the free throw line. Conversely, the Bengals opened up an eight-point halftime lead by shooting a blistering 69.2 percent (18-26) in the second half and leading by double figures the final 19:20 of the contest.
Idaho State snapped a four-game losing streak while improving to 11-12 overall and 6-4 in the Big Sky. The Bengals opened the conference year with a 5-0 record, only to lose its last four (three of which came by four points or less). Idaho State swept the season series from the Hornets, including a victory on Jan. 6 in Sacramento.
The Hornets, who committed just six turnovers during the game, dropped to 8-15 overall and 3-7 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State continued to struggle on the road, falling to 2-10 away from the friendly confines.
Sacramento State started the game well, jumping out to leads of 5-0 and 7-2 as the Bengals did not score a field goal the first 3:22 of the contest. However, Idaho State used a 30-10 run spanning nearly 10 minutes of the first half to take a commanding 32-17 lead with 5:59 left in the first. Schroeder knocked down four three-pointers during the spurt, as all 12 of his first-half points came during the decisive run.
The Hornets clawed their way back to within eight points (36-28) at the break, but the Bengals scored seven straight to open the second half and take a 43-28 lead with 18:25 remaining. Sacramento State would get no closer than within 12 points of Idaho State’s lead the rest of the night. The Bengals opened up a lead as large as 24 points before settling for the 23-point victory.
Schroeder shot 6-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc, and the Bengals finished 9-of-19 (.474) from long distance as a team. Four Bengals scored in double figures, comprised of Schroeder, Logan Kinghorn (19 points, 15 in the second half), Matt Stucki (16) and John Ofoegbu (14). The Bengals also had nine blocked shots, including four from Ofoegbu.
The Hornets’ field goal percentage of .343 was their second lowest output of the season as only one player scored in double figures - junior Kris Groce finished with 15 points, five rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes. Junior Jason Davis scored a season-high nine points to go along with five offensive rebounds, one blocked shot and two steals in 16 active minutes. Senior Haron Hargrave added nine points, sophomore Loren Leath had seven points and a career-high seven rebounds, and senior Alex Bausley finished with eight points and four rebounds.
Leath and Hargrave, who take the majority of the Hornets’ outside shots, combined to shoot just 5-of-25 overall, and 3-of-15 from beyond the arc. Over the last eight games, the team is averaging more than 25 three-point attempts per game, but shooting just 29.4 percent (59-201) from long distance.
Sophomore Donald Thomas received his first start of the season, meaning all 13 players who have appeared in a game for the Hornets this season have started at least one contest. Thomas scored the game’s first points with a three-pointer.
The two teams combined for 70 points in the paint, including 30 from Sacramento State and 40 from Idaho State. The Hornets were whistled for just 18 fouls, their third lowest total of the season, and forced 15 ISU turnovers, but it was not enough to overcome the poor shooting.
Sacramento State wraps up its three-game road trip next week with a back-to-back at Montana (Wednesday, Feb. 7) and Montana State (Thursday, Feb. 8). Only six games remain on the regular season schedule and the Hornets sit in eighth place in the league standings, two games behind sixth-place Portland State (6-6). The top six teams in the nine-member league advance to the Big Sky Tournament, a place the Hornets have been four consecutive years.
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