MENâ€™S BASKETBALL HANGS WITH OKLAHOMA, BUT EVENTUALLY FALLS, 66-53
Senior Sultan Toles-Bey led all players with 21 points Tuesday night at Oklahoma
NORMAN, Okla. -- Sacramento State received a game-high 21 points from senior Sultan Toles-Bey and kept within striking distance a good portion of the second half, but eventually lost to Oklahoma, 66-53, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Tuesday evening at the Lloyd Noble Center.
The Hornets, who outrebounded the Sooners by a 37-33 margin, trailed by just seven points (41-34) after a Duro Bjegovic layup with 13:19 remaining in the contest. Oklahoma, however responded with a 15-5 run over the next seven minutes to take a game-high 17-point lead with 6:31 left in the contest. Sacramento State got within 11 points of the Sooner lead with 1:50 to play (62-51), but would get no closer.
Sacramento State, which took its largest lead of the game at 3-0 after Toles-Bey opened the game’s scoring with a three ball, trailed, 30-22, at halftime.
Playing Oklahoma for the first time in school history, Sacramento State could have kept things closer with better proficiency from the field. The Hornets shot just 35.2 percent (19-54) from the floor and 30.0 percent (6-20) from the three-point line. Sacramento State had more free throw attempts than Oklahoma (14-13), and converted on nine of those 14 freebies (.643).
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 3-8 overall and remained winless on the road (0-6). The Hornets were coming off a 65-63 overtime loss at McNeese State on Sunday afternoon. Oklahoma improved to 6-6 overall and a perfect 6-0 at home. The Sooners have now won 25 straight non-conference home games and 83 of their last 85.
Oklahoma shot 46.3 percent (25-54) from the field and 45.5 percent (10-22) from beyond the arc. Both teams attempted the same amount of field goals, but the Sooners knocked down six more of those attempts, including four more three-pointers than the Hornets.
Toles-Bey’s 21 points came on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, 4-of-12 from beyond the arc and 3-of-4 from the free throw line. He had 11 of his points at halftime and played in a game-high 37 minutes before fouling out with 1:33 remaining in the contest. Toles-Bey was the only Hornet in double figures as senior Duro Bjegovic finished with nine points.
Hornet junior Zach Nelson added eight points, five rebounds and two steals in a season-best 32 minutes. Four of Nelson’s five rebounds came on the offensive glass, and he has now finished with at least five rebounds in six straight games. In addition, he was 4-of-5 from the free throw line, and has attempted 20 free throws over his last three games (converting 15).
Freshman Jackson Carbajal led the Hornets with six rebounds, but finished just 1-of-7 shooting from the field. Junior Josh McCarver had six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots in 17 minutes. Ten of Sacramento State’s 11 active players appeared in the game, as junior center Alpha N’Diaye missed his sixth straight contest with an ankle injury.
For the Sooners, Calvin Newell scored a team-high 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, including 5-of-6 from the three-point line. Newell and Cade Davis (15 points, 3-of-7 from distance) combined to score 32 of Oklahoma’s 66 points and converted eight of the team’s 10 made three-pointers. Cameron Clark added a game-high eight rebounds and Andrew Fitzgerald had eight points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.
Sacramento State is idle for seven days until opening Big Sky Conference play on the road at Eastern Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 29. The Hornets return two days later to take on Idaho State in Pocatello, on Friday, Dec. 31.