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BIG SECOND HALF PROPELS McNEESE STATE TO A 68-63 VICTORY OVER MENâ€™S BASKETBALL
Junior swingman Joe Eberhard led the Hornets in points (16), rebounds (7) and minutes (39)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- McNeese State’s Patrick Richard scored 15 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and the Cowboys used a huge second half spurt to erase a 40-23 halftime deficit and defeat Sacramento State, 68-63, in a non-conference men’s basketball game Saturday evening at The Nest.
McNeese State outscored Sacramento State, 45-23, in a second half that saw the Cowboys shoot 62.1 percent (18-29) from the field and 44.4 percent (4-9) from the three-point line. It was the tale of two halves tonight and nearly an identical scenario to Sacramento State’s victory over UC Davis on Tuesday night when the Hornets stormed back from a 17-point deficit to win. Tonight, McNeese State turned the tables on the Hornets, effectively using an athletic full-court press that helped force Sacramento State into 11 second-half turnovers.
The Cowboys needed just eight minutes and 26 seconds of the second half to completely erase a 17-point halftime deficit. In fact, McNeese State scored on 12 of its first 14 possession of the second half, and Richard capped a 28-10 run with a pair of free throws that gave the Cowboys their first lead of the half at 51-50 with 11:34 remaining. McNeese State would never relinquish the lead the rest of the way as a layup from Randy Turner eventually gave the Cowboys a game-high nine-point lead (65-56) with 2:29 to play.
The Hornets cut the lead to five points with 1:29 left on a Joe Eberhard layup, and had two opportunities to cut the lead to three points with under a minute to play, but missed a pair of three-pointers. The Cowboys scored 24 of their second-half points in the paint, which were more points than Sacramento State scored during the entire second stanza (23).
With the loss, the Hornets dropped to 3-2 on the young season, and fell at home for the first time (2-1). McNeese State improved to 3-2 overall and 2-0 all-time against the Hornets, which included an overtime victory last year over the Hornets in Lake Charles.
“Tonight was a mirror image of Tuesday’s UC Davis game, except we came out on the losing end,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “In the first half, we were the more aggressive team, but McNeese State came out aggressive in the second half and we got passive. We have a lot to work on in practice.”
Sacramento State raced out to its big halftime lead behind a first half that saw the team shot 65.2 percent (15-23) from the field while McNeese State shot just 33.3 percent (9-27). In fact, the Hornets would extend their lead to a game-high 18 points early in the second half before the Cowboys made their run.
Both team finished the game shooting well from the floor with the Hornets at 49.0 percent (24-49) and McNeese State at 48.2 percent (27-56). The Cowboys forced Sacramento State into a season-worst 17 turnovers, and turned those miscues into 24 points. In addition, McNeese State blocked eight shots (seven in the second half), including three each from Richard and Rudy Turner.
Sacramento State outrebounded McNeese State, 33-31, and has now outrebounded all five opponents this season. The Hornets also finished the game with 40 of their 63 points coming in the paint, but it was not enough to beat a McNeese State squad that was picked to win the Southland Conference after reaching the NIT last season.
Richard’s 19 points came on 7-of-13 shooting as the senior swingman also finished with game highs in rebounds (8), blocked shots (3) and steals (4). Richard, Turner (14 points, six rebounds) and Jeremie Mitchell (11 points, four rebounds) combined to score 44 of McNeese State’s 68 points.
Sacramento State was led by junior Joe Eberhard’s 16 points and seven rebounds as he was asked to play a game-high 39 minutes. The transfer from Irvine Valley College has now tallied at least 11 points, seven rebounds and 37 minutes in all five games this season. He was joined in double figures by forward John Dickson (15 points, four rebounds) and center Konner Veteto (10 points, four rebounds). Senior center Josh McCarver scored eight points (4-of-4 shooting from the field) and has now converted 13 straight field goal attempts dating back to the first game of the season. Freshman point guard Dylan Garrity had a game-high tying six assists, and now has a 4.6 assist-to-turnover ratio this season (37 assists, eight turnovers).
Sacramento State will now begin a season-long three-game road trip on Wednesday, Nov. 30, with a game at Cal Poly at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets defeated the Mustangs at home last season by a 71-67 score.
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