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SIX HORNETS SCORE IN DOUBLES FIGURES IN MENâ€™S HOOPS 80-67 VICTORY OVER SEATTLE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Four Hornets came off the bench to score in double figures, and six players overall dropped in double digits, led by senior Antonio Flaggs’ and junior Duro Bjegovic’s 16 points, respectively, as Sacramento State defeated Seattle University, 80-67, Saturday afternoon at the Nest.
With the victory, the Hornets snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 7-10 overall. The seven victories are now five more than all of last season, and one more than the previous two years combined. The Redhawks, who were coming off a 99-48 win at Oregon State on Wednesday, fell to 7-10. In fact, Seattle also has victories over Fresno State, Weber State and Utah this year.
After a sluggish first half where neither team led by more than six points, Sacramento State shot a blistering 65.4 percent (17-26) from the field in the second half. The Hornets also set a new Div. I-era program record with six players scoring in double figures. In addition to Flaggs and Bjegovic’s production, the Hornets received 13 points from junior Sultan Toles-Bey, 11 apiece from seniors Domineek Daniel and Justin Eller, and 10 more from freshman John Dickson.
After Seattle went into halftime with a 32-28 lead, the Hornets quickly erased the deficit to open the second half and the lead would change hands seven times in the first four minutes of play, highlighted by three buckets from Eller. The Hornets never trailed after a layup by Flaggs with 16:09 remaining.
Sacramento State eventually used an 8-0 run (including three-pointers from Toles-Bey and Bjegovic during the spurt) to take a 50-42 lead with 12:04 remaining. Seattle, however, went on a 16-8 run over the next six and a half minutes to tie the game at 58-58 with 5:26 to play.
Sacramento State immediately responded with a layup from Flaggs, and would proceed to outscore Seattle, 22-9, over the final 5:19 of the contest. During that run, Toles-Bey scored eight points, Flaggs had six and Dickson added five. The Hornets helped ice the game by going 9-of-10 from the free throw line during the final three minutes. Toles-Bey buried six of those free throws and is now 30-for-31 from the charity stripe during the final five minutes of games this year.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting 52.9 percent (27-51) from the field, improving to 4-0 when converting at better than 50.0 percent from the floor. The Hornets, who outscored Seattle in fast break points by a 10-2 margin, also went 22-for-29 from the free throw line (75.9 percent). The Hornets outscored the Redhawks in the second half by a 52-35 margin.
Seattle finished the game shooting 40.0 percent (24-60) from the floor, including just 36.4 percent (12-33) in the second half. The Redhawks were forced into 20 turnovers, and only two Seattle players shot at least 50.0 percent from the field (Cervante Burrell 5-for-8; Alex Jones 2-for-3).
For Sacramento State, Daniel, in addition to his 11 points (4-8 from the field and 3-3 from the free throw line), had a game-high nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Bjegovic shot 6-of-8 from the field (2-of-3 from the three-point line) and pulled five rebounds. Flaggs was 5-of-8 from the field and 6-for-7 from the free throw line. Eller had five rebounds to go along with his 11 points. As a team, Sacramento State finished with nine steals, including two from point guards Toles-Bey and Jared Stigall.
“We got back to basics this week at practice,” Sacramento State second-year head coach Brian Katz said. “I decided to start our five best defenders (Daniel, Stigall, Eller, Mike Marcial and Michael Selling) and the team really responded. I thought Jared (Stigall) and Domineek (Daniel) were catalysts for our defensive intensity, and this is a good way to jump back into conference play (next week).”
With NBA scouts in the stands to observe Seattle’s Charles Garcia, the Hornets held him in check, as the 6-foot-10 power forward finished with 16 points (5-of-14 shooting) and five rebounds in 32 minutes. Garcia had entered the game as the nation’s 10th leading scorer at 21.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Joining Garcia in double figures for the Redhawks were Chris Gweth (14 points, eight rebounds) and Burrell (11 points).
These same two teams will meet again at Seattle’s KeyArena on Saturday, Feb. 13. Sacramento State will jump back into Big Sky Conference action next Friday night, Jan. 15, when the Hornets welcome Montana to the Nest for a 7:05 p.m. tip. Sacramento State will also host Montana State (Sunday, Jan. 17, 1:05 p.m.) to wrap up the three-game homestand.
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