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MEN'S BASKETBALL DROPS HOME DECISION TO UTAH VALLEY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Utah Valley’s Ryan Toolson led all players with 19 points, and Sacramento State shot just 32.6 percent (15-for-46) from the field as the Wolverines defeated the Hornets, 64-44, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Tuesday evening at the Hornets Nest.
Utah Valley scored the game’s first six points and never trailed the rest of the way. The Wolverines took advantage of ice cold shooting by the Hornets as Sacramento State shot just 16.7 percent (4-for-24) from the field in the first half, contributing largely to Utah Valley’s 33-14 halftime lead.
Sacramento State shot much better in the second half (50.0 percent, 11-for-22), and closed to within 11 points (46-35) of Utah Valley’s lead after a Justin Eller three-pointer with 8:25 left in the game. However, the Wolverines immediately responded with an 11-0 run to reclaim a 22-point lead with 4:10 left and cruised the rest of the way.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 1-7 overall this season, including a 1-2 mark at home. The Hornets will play their next two games on the road, and by end of that stretch, will have played seven of their first 10 contests on the road. Sacramento State and Utah Valley were playing each other for just the third time ever, and first time since the 2005-06 season.
Utah Valley improved to 5-3 with the victory. The Wolverines also improved to 3-1 against teams in the Big Sky Conference, which include victories over Northern Arizona and Montana. Utah Valley also improved to 2-1 all-time against the Hornets.
“We can’t play just one half of basketball and expect to win,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “I give Utah Valley a lot of credit, they were well prepared to play this game. We just didn’t match their intensity in the first half and I thought that was the difference in the game.”
Toolson, who entered the contest third in the nation with an average of 25.9 points per game, shot 7-of-10 from the floor, 2-of-4 from the three-point line and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He also added three assists and a career-high six steals. Josh Olsen was the only other Wolverine in double figures as he finished with 12 points, six rebounds and six assists. Jordan Swarbrick added seven points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Utah Valley shot 47.1 percent (24-51) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-16) from the free throw line, while scoring 28 of its 64 points in the paint. In addition, the Wolverines outrebounded the Hornets, 39-26, and scored 14 points off 14 Sacramento State turnovers.
The Hornets finished the game shooting 32.6 percent (15-46) from the field, 29.4 percent (5-17) from beyond the arc and 52.9 percent (9-17) from the free throw line. Combined with the team’s 32 points scored last Saturday at Santa Clara, Sacramento State is averaging just 38.0 points on 29.1 percent (25-86) shooting from the field over its last two games.
Eller led all Sacramento State players tonight with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the floor. He buried a career-high two three-pointers and also added four rebounds. Senior Loren Leath added seven points and four rebounds, sophomore Aaron Wilson had six points and four rebounds, and senior Randy Adams had four points and four rebounds. Besides Eller, Wilson (2-for-3) was the only other Hornet to shoot better than 50 percent from the field.
All 12 healthy Hornets played in tonight’s game.
Sacramento State returns to action two days later on Thursday, Dec. 11, when the team travels to Las Cruces to take on New Mexico State at 6:05 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast live on Altitude Sports & Entertainment (DirecTV channel 681, Dish Network channel 410). In addition, the game will be aired on FSN Arizona on a tape delayed basis, beginning at 9:30 p.m. PST.
The game will mark the first time that Sacramento State and New Mexico State have ever faced each other, and will be the Hornets’ fifth game in 11 days. After the New Mexico State contest, Sacramento State does not play again until Dec. 20 at Wyoming.
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