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MENâ€™S BASKETBALL EVENS RECORD WITH VICTORY OVER BETHANY
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Junior Sultan Toles-Bey had 17 points, freshman John Dickson added 15 points and senior Mike Marcial had 10 assists and no turnovers to lead Sacramento State to a 90-75 victory over Bethany in a non-conference men’s basketball game Wednesday evening at the Nest.
Four Hornets scored in double figures for the second straight game, as Toles-Bey and Dickson were joined by seniors Michael Selling (10 points, game-high eight rebounds) and Justin Eller (10 points, five rebounds). Sacramento State, which led by as many as 27 points late in the second half, outrebounded Bethany, 44-26, and allowed zero second-chance points the entire evening.
With the victory, Sacramento State won its 10th home opener in the last 11 years, and improved to 2-2 this season. The Hornets’ two victories already matches the team’ output from all of last year. Of the Hornets’ first six games this season, tonight marks the only time during that span the team will play at home. Sacramento State next travels to Oregon State (Nov. 21) and Idaho (Nov. 24).
Bethany, which is an NAIA institution from Scotts Valley, Calif., and a member of the California Pacific Conference, dropped to 1-6 with the loss. Sacramento State is now 3-0 all-time against Bethany, including home-opening victories in 2000 and 2006.
The Hornets withstood a three-point barrage by Bethany which saw the Bruins knock down each of their first seven three-point attempts and finish the game shooting 50.0 percent (12-24) from beyond the arc. No team led by more than four points during the first 16:50 of the contest when Bethany couldn’t miss from long distance. Sacramento State, however, used a 15-3 run over the final 3:37 of the half to go into the break with a 50-38 lead. Five different Hornets scored points during the run.
The Bruins whittled the Hornets’ lead down to eight points (60-52) with 14:04 remaining in the second half, but Sacramento State put the game away with a 23-4 run that lasted more than eight minutes to take a commanding 83-56 lead with 5:40 left in the contest. Bethany chopped Sacramento State’s lead down to 13 points late in the second half before the Hornets settled for the 15-point victory.
Sacramento State shot a season-best 51.5 percent (34-66) from the field, 40.0 percent (8-20) from the three-point line and 70.0 percent (14-20) from the free throw line. The Hornets outscored the Bruins, 34-18, in the paint, and allowed Bethany to grab just two offensive rebounds the entire evening. Bethany shot 44.4 percent (24-54) from the floor and 71.4 percent (15-21) from the charity stripe. Nine of the Bruins’ 12 three-pointers came in the first half when the team made 9-of-14 from long range.
“We worked hard this week in practice on offensive efficiency and execution, and I thought our players did a good job in that area tonight,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “Our defense was not as good as I would like and we have a lot of work to do, but we will get better.”
Marcial was impressive all evening for the Hornets, finishing with five points, seven rebounds, 10 assists, no turnovers and one steal. He became the first Sacramento State player to post double figures in assists since Vinnie McGhee had 14 on Dec. 4, 2007. Toles-Bey, who along with Marcial was one of three Hornet point guards that played at least 15 minutes tonight, finished with 17 points, four assists, no turnovers, two blocks and three steals. Sacramento State’s trio of point guards – Toles-Bey, Marcial and Jared Stigall – combined for one turnover tonight.
Despite playing just 11 minutes because of foul trouble, Dickson poured in 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting along with a blocked shot. The San Francisco native is now the only Hornets to score in double figures in all four games. Eller shot 3-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line for his 10 points. Junior Davis Norris and senior Antonio Flaggs both added nine points for a Hornet squad that reached 90 points in a game for the first time since Nov. 12, 2007.
All 13 non-redshirt players appeared in tonight’s game, and all but one of those players pulled down at least one rebound. Five different Hornets had at least five boards, including Selling (8), Marcial (7), Dani Lopez (6), Duro Bjegovic (6) and Eller (5). Sacramento State had nine steals, including three from Toles-Bey and two from Stigall.
For Bethany, John Maples led all players with 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field, including 5-of-9 from the three-point line and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Maples had entered the game shooting 28.0 percent from the field, including 1-of-11 from beyond the arc. Maples was joined in double figures by James Jansen (12), Ron Houston (11) and Milton Brown (10).
Sacramento State returns to action this Saturday, Nov. 21, when the team travels to Corvallis, Ore., for a meeting with Oregon State at 12:05 p.m. The game will not be aired on the radio because of a schedule conflict, and will mark the only game the team is not broadcasting this season. The Hornets are 0-5 all-time against Oregon State with the last meeting between the two teams occurring during the 2004-05 season.
NOTES -- The Hornets have now had four players score in double figures in back-to-back games...that marks the first time in the program’s Div. I era (1991-pres.) that four players have scored in double figures twice during the first four games of a season...Sacramento State is 11-8 in home openers during the Div. I era.
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