Links associated with this release:
POOR SHOOTING DOOMS MENâ€™S BASKETBALL IN 58-53 LOSS TO MONTANA STATE
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a game where neither team shot the ball well, Montana State took advantage of 21 more trips to the free throw line in a 58-53 victory over Sacramento State in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Sunday afternoon at the Nest.
Despite converting on six more field goals (20-14) than Montana State, the Hornets fell by a five-point spread. That was due, in part, to the Bobcats going to the free throw line 33 times compared to just 12 attempts for the Hornets. Many of those attempts for Montana State came during the final two minutes as the Hornets were forced to foul in an attempt to get back in the game. Montana State converted on 78.8 percent (26-33) of its attempts while the Hornets were 8-of-12 (66.7 percent).
Sacramento State shot just 34.5 percent (20-58) from the field and 25.0 percent (5-20) from the three-point line as the Hornets could not find the range all day. Two of those three-pointers came during the final 18 seconds when Sacramento State was making a last-ditch effort to climb back into the game. The Bobcats’ shooting percentages were nearly identical, as they shot 34.1 percent (14-41) from the floor and 25.0 percent (4-16) from beyond the arc. Sacramento State was whistled for 24 fouls compared to Montana State’s 14.
Neither team led by more than six points the first 33 minutes of the game until Montana State found itself in the midst of a 10-2 run that spanned 3:21 late in the second half. Leading, 32-31, with 8:29 to play, Montana State received points from Austin Brown (2), Branden Johnson (2), Will Bynum (2) and Marquis Navarre (4) during the 10-2 spurt that gave the Bobcats a 42-33 lead with 5:08 remaining. Sacramento State cut the lead to four points twice during the final 2:30, but could get no closer.
The Bobcats helped put the game away by going 12-of-15 from the free throw line over the final 1:50 of the contest. Navarre went 6-for-6 during that stretch, and wound up scoring 12 of his team-high tying 14 points during the final 6:17 of the contest. In fact, Marquis scored 12 of the Bobcats’ final 20 points of the game.
With the loss, Sacramento State (7-12, 1-5) has dug itself a hole in the Big Sky standings. The Hornets are now tied for the eighth spot in the standings with 10 conference games remaining. The top six teams in the nine-member league reach the Big Sky’s postseason event and the Hornets are currently 1.5 games back of the sixth spot, which belongs to Northern Arizona (3-4). The Hornets have now dropped five of their last six games, with four of those losses coming by five points or less.
Montana State (10-7, 5-2) won for the third time in its last four games, and improved to 4-5 on the road (including 2-1 in conference). The Bobcats’ only loss over their last four games came by two points at home to Eastern Washington. MSU has now won the last four meetings against Sacramento State.
“We just weren’t good from an offensive standpoint today,” Sacramento State second-year head coach Brian Katz said. “We took a few impatient and rushed shots, and it became a bit of a domino effect from there. We got frustrated, and couldn’t execute the way we wanted. I thought we played well defensively, but we couldn’t overcome the offensive inefficiencies.”
Both teams combined for just 32 points in the first half as the game was tied at the break, 16-16. That included a stretch of more than five minutes late in the first half where neither team scored. MSU then outscored the Hornets, 42-37, in the second half.
Only four players scored in double figures, two for both teams. Montana State was led by Navarre and Erik Rush, who both scored 14 points. Brown led all players with a career-high nine rebounds, Rush had a team-high three steals and Navarre (8-of-8 from the free throw line) added six assists and six rebounds to go along with his 14 points.
For Sacramento State, seniors Domineek Daniel and Justin Eller combined for 33 of the Hornets’ 53 points. Daniel posted team highs in points (18), rebounds (6) and steals (4) while shooting 7-of-13 from the field and 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. Over his last three games, Daniel is now averaging 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 1.3 blocks per game while shooting 53.1 percent (17-32) from the field.
Eller’s 15 points came along with five rebounds and 7-of-12 shooting from the field. The Yreka, Calif., native has now scored in double figures in four straight, and seven of the last eight games. Freshman John Dickson had six points and four rebounds, and senior Michael Selling added five rebounds. Daniel and Eller combined to shoot 56.0 percent (14-25) from the field while the rest of the team shot 18.1 percent (6-33).
Sacramento State will now embark upon a season-long four-game road trip. In fact, seven of the Hornets’ next nine games will come on the road. The Hornets begin that stretch next week with conference games against Northern Colorado (Friday, Jan. 22) and Northern Arizona (Sunday, Jan. 24). Sunday’s game at Northern Arizona will be broadcast live (12:05 p.m. PST) on Altitude Sports & Entertainment (DirecTV 681, Dish Network 410).
<< Return to Men's Basketball schedule