MENâ€™S BASKETBALL GETS OFF TO SLOW START, EVENTUALLY FALLS TO GEORGE WASHINGTON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - George Washington took advantage of Sacramento State’s cold shooting to begin the game and eventually defeated the Hornets, 59-47, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Tuesday evening at the Hornets Nest.
The Hornets missed 14 of their first 16 field goal attempts which allowed the Colonials to take an 18-5 lead with 8:01 remaining in the first half. In fact, the Hornets did not reach double figures in points until the 5:24 mark when a free throw from Justin Eller cut the deficit to 20-10. Both teams played even the final 25 minutes of the game before George Washington pulled out the 12-point victory.
Sacramento State had seven opportunities during the final 11:14 of the contest to cut George Washington’s lead to single digits but could not convert on any of those chances.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped its fifth straight game while falling to 1-10 this season. The Hornets, who were playing their fourth home game of the year, faced George Washington for just the second time ever. The Colonials were also victorious in the teams’ other meeting in 1995 as part of the Sacramento Holiday Classic at Arco Arena.
With the victory, George Washington improved to 6-2 overall, and 2-1 on the road. The Colonials, who improved their winning streak to three games, have been an NCAA Tournament team three times in the last four years.
“I thought George Washington’s strength and athleticsm really intimidated our guys at the beginning of the game,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “Once we adjusted, we played pretty well. I’m proud our team hung in there, and got themselves back into the game against a very physically and talented team.”
Hornet senior Loren Leath scored a team-high tying 11 points to become the program’s career scoring leader since the program joined the Div. I ranks in 1991-92. His 1,203 career points surpassed the previous leader Damond Edwards’ total of 1,197. In addition, Leath becomes the third player in program history (1948-pres.) to amass at least 1,200 points, joining Robert Martin (1,774) and Alex Williams (1,239).
George Washington outscored Sacramento State, 32-21, in the first half and 27-26 in the second stanza. The Hornets were able to stay within striking distance despite shooting just 27.7 percent (13-47) overall from the field, including 17.4 percent (4-23) in the first half. The Hornets also struggled from beyond the arc (4-18) and at the free throw line (17-26). George Washington shot 41.7 percent (20-48) from the field, but just 18.8 percent (3-16) from the three-point line. In fact, both teams combined to shoot 20.6 percent (7-34) from beyond the arc.
The Colonials were led by Joseph Katuka’s 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots while Rob Diggs finished with 14 points and eight rebounds on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. No other George Washington player scored more than seven points. Twenty-six of the Colonials’ 59 points came inside the paint, and they used their size to outrebound the Hornets, 43-31, and score 15 second-chance points.
Sacramento State was led by Leath and junior Antonio Flaggs, who each scored 11 points. Flaggs, who knocked down two three-pointers, also added two steals. Junior Justin Eller finished with seven points and a team-high nine rebounds. Eller has now led the team in rebounding in four straight and six of the last seven games. Junior Randy Adams added eight points, and is now averaging 9.3 points over his last three games.
Junior forward Michael Selling made his first appearance of the season after missing the first 10 games with a foot injury.
Sacramento State returns to action this Saturday, Dec. 27, for its final non-conference road game of the season against Southern Utah. The Hornets then embark upon a three-game homestand that features games against Pacific (Dec. 30), Portland State (Big Sky opener on Jan. 2) and Eastern Washington (Jan. 4).