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TURNOVERS DOOM MEN'S BASKETBALL IN 61-49 LOSS AT UC RIVERSIDE
RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- UC Riverside’s Brandon Dowdy had a team-high 14 points and the Highlanders outscored Sacramento State in points off turnovers, 22-6, on the way to a 61-49 victory over the Hornets in a non-conference men’s basketball game Tuesday evening at the Student Rec Center.
Sacramento State shot well (54.1 percent, 20-for-37) and outrebounded the Highlanders (27-25), but the team fell shy in one very important statistic. Turnovers. The Hornets turned the ball over 23 times which UC Riverside turned into 22 points, or 36 percent of the team’s scoring output. In addition, despite the Highlanders (46.2 percent) shooting for a lower percentage than Sacramento State, UCR was able to take 15 more shots from the field. Consequently, the Highlanders converted four more field goals (two more three-pointers) and two more free throws to provide the final margin of victory.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 0-2 on the young season as the team is in the midst of a four-game road trip to begin the year. In addition, the Hornets fell to 4-11 all-time against UC Riverside, including an 0-6 mark when playing at Riverside. Sacramento State, which does not play its first home game until Dec. 1, returns to action later this week when the team plays at Washington State on Friday, Nov. 21, at 6 p.m. PST.
UC Riverside, which was playing its home opener, improved to 1-1.
After Sacramento State jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a bucket from Justin Eller to begin the game, UC Riverside scored the game’s next five points and did not trail again the rest of the way. The Highlanders never led by more than 13 points the entire game, as Sacramento State cut UCR’s lead to four points or less on six occasions during the second half. The last coming with 8:25 to play after a three-pointer from Loren Leath cut the Highlander lead to 46-44.
However, UC Riverside immediately responded by scoring the game’s next seven points while holding the Hornets without a point the next 3:12 in game clock. Another three-pointer from Leath broke the drought and cut the Highlander lead to six points with 5:13 to play, but that was as close as the Hornets would get. In fact, Sacramento State scored just five points during the final 8:24 of the game.
Dowdy led three Highlanders in double figures as Javon Borum chipped in 12 points, three assists and two steals, and Aaron Scott added 10 points and a team-best seven rebounds. UC Riverside committed just 10 turnovers, or 13 less miscues than the Hornets, and Sacramento State scored just six points off those turnovers.
Leath led Sacramento State in scoring for the second straight game, as the senior shooting guard finished with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the three-point line. Senior Donald Thomas had nine points (3-for-6 shooting, 2-of-2 from the line) and a game-high eight rebounds. Thomas and Leath were the only Hornets with more than six points. Four of Sacramento State’s five starters shot 50.0 percent or better from the floor, but the Hornets were able to take just 37 shots the entire game because of the turnovers.
Also for Sacramento State, junior Mike Edwards had six points (3-for-3 shooting), three rebounds and a blocked shot, junior Jerome Blockmon added six points (2-for-2 shooting), and Eller finished with four points and six rebounds. All 11 healthy players on the Hornets’ roster played tonight, including sophomore Aaron Wilson, who missed the previous game.
Sacramento State is still without four players because of injury, comprised of forwards Aj Kapanoske (foot), Michael Selling (foot) and Alex Ward (personal), and guard Stephen Calton (tibia).
After Friday’s game at Washington State, the Hornets conclude the road trip with a contest at Cal State Bakersfield a week from today (Tuesday, Nov. 25) before opening up at home against Idaho on Monday, Dec. 1.
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