MENâ€™S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO POCATELLO AND WINS CONVINCINGLY AT IDAHO STATE, 72-55
POCATELLO, Idaho – Sacramento State used a 24-4 run spanning nearly nine minutes of the first half and led by double figures the final 24:41 of the contest to defeat Idaho State, 72-55, in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Saturday evening at Reed Gym.
After Idaho State took its largest lead of the contest at 15-9 with 11:58 remaining in the first, Sacramento State began its convincing run with three-pointers on three consecutive possessions by Jonathan Malloy and Sultan Toles-Bey twice, respectively.
Later in the run, Toles-Bey and Duro Bjegovic buried three-pointers on consecutive possessions to go up 11 points (28-17) with 4:41 left. For good measure, Malloy added yet another three-pointer to put the Hornets up 14 points (33-19, their largest lead of the first half) with 2:29 to play. Idaho State got no closer than 10 points the remainder of the game as Sacramento State did not let up offensively, scoring 36 points in both the first and second halves.
Three players accounted for all six three-pointers and 24 points of the Hornets’ run. Toles-Bey had 11 points during the spurt, Malloy added eight points and Bjegovic had five. In fact, Malloy’s eight points during the run were more than he had scored in any game this season, and he finished with a career-high tying 16 points.
The win was a big one for Sacramento State (8-15, 2-8), as the Hornets were able to get a huge monkey off their collective backs. Tonight snapped a 27-game Big Sky road losing streak that dated back to a 74-70 win over Northern Colorado on Dec. 30, 2006. The Hornets entered the season with two big road losing streaks and both have been squashed. The first was an overall 39-game road losing slide that was snapped when the team upset Oregon State, 65-63, in Corvallis on Nov. 21.
The victory also snapped a season-long five-game losing streak that had seen the Hornets lose three of those games by five points or less. Sacramento State’s eight victories now quadruples its win total from all of last season (2-27) and is the program’s most since the 2006-07 squad finished with 10 wins.
Including its 64-63 home win earlier this year against Idaho State, the Hornets swept the season series from the Bengals for just the second time in school history (2004-05). Idaho State (6-15, 3-6) had been 7-0 all-time at Reed Gym under head coach Joe O’Brien prior to the loss (the team plays the majority of its home games at Holt Arena).
Although Sacramento State was proficient all night offensively, it may have been the defense that won the game. Idaho State had averaged 87.0 points over its last three games and was riding high after back-to-back victories over Eastern Washington and Portland State. The Hornets not only limited the Bengals to just 55 points, but ISU shot 38.6 percent (22-57) from the field and 13.3 percent (2-15) from beyond the arc. ISU was limited to just 23 points in the first half and 32 more in the second.
The Hornets finished the game shooting 52.4 percent (22-42) from the field, 47.4 percent (9-19) from the three-point line and 67.9 percent (19-28) from the free throw line. The nine three-pointers tied a season high, and none may have been bigger than Jared Stigall’s long bomb as the shot clock expired giving the Hornets a 61-47 lead with 3:03 remaining.
Sacramento State went 11-of-16 from the free throw line during the final 2:41 to help ice the game. That included Malloy, who was sent to the line nine times during that final stretch, converting on six of those opportunities.
Toles-Bey led all scorers with 20 points, including 5-of-8 shooting from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc, and 7-of-8 from the free throw line. The 20 points were the most scored by a Hornet this season, surpassing the previous mark of 19, set by John Dickson earlier this year against Idaho State.
Hornet junior Duro Bjegovic recorded his first double-double, finishing with a season-high tying 17 points and a season-best 12 rebounds. In 35 minutes, the Croatian went 6-of-9 from the floor, 2-of-3 from the three-point line and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe.
Malloy rounded out the three Hornets in double figures as he finished with season highs in points (16), blocks (2) and minutes (31). The Compton, Calif., native was 4-of-7 from the field, 2-of-4 from the three-point line and 6-of-11 from the free throw line. No other Hornet scored more than six points as the threesome of Toles-Bey, Bjegovic and Malloy combined for 53 of Sacramento State’s 72 points. Senior Justin Eller finished with six points, snapping his string of seven straight games with double-figure points.
The Hornets, who have not been a good three-point shooting team this season, are now a combined 17-for-35 (.486) from beyond the arc over the last two games.
For Idaho State, three players scored in double figures, comprised of Broderick Gilchrest (14 points, game-high four assists), Chron Tatum (12 points, nine rebounds) and Donnie Carson (10 points). Gilchrest, who is the team’s second leading scorer, was 6-of-17 from the floor and missed all six of his three-point attempts. Amorrow Morgan, who entered the game averaging 18.8 points, scored just nine on 3-of-13 shooting.
Tonight concluded a season-long four-game road trip, as four of the Hornets’ final seven games of the regular season will come at home. That stretch begins next week when the Hornets host both Portland State (Friday, Feb. 5, 7:05 p.m.) and Eastern Washington (Sunday, Feb. 7, 1:05 p.m.) at the Nest.