GARRITY POSTS SCHOOL-RECORD 16 ASSISTS, MENâ€™S BASKETBALL WINS FOURTH STRAIGHT GAME
Freshman point guard Dylan Garrity had a school-record 16 assists, tied for the most in a Div. I game this season
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State shot 62.2 percent from the field, point guard Dylan Garrity had 16 assists and swingman Joe Eberhard had a season-best 23 points as the Hornets downed Montana State, 86-76, in a Big Sky Conference men’s basketball game Thursday evening at the Nest.
The victory was the Hornets’ fourth in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since the team won five straight from Dec. 29, 2005 - Jan. 14, 2006. The four-game winning streak (all against Big Sky teams) is even more impressive when considering the Hornets went 0-8 during the first half league play. In fact, Sacramento State is one of just two teams (Montana being the other) in the conference to have a 4-0 record during the second half of conference play.
Garrity’s 16 assists tied for the most in a Div. I game this season, were the fourth-highest total in Big Sky Conference single-game history, and set the Sacramento State Div. I-era school record (1991-pres.). The 16 assists were also the most by a Big Sky player since 1991.
Garrity’s floor vision was a major reason Sacramento State (9-14, 4-8) shot a season-best 62.2 percent (28-45) from the field, including 11-of-19 from the three-point line (.579). In fact, the .622 mark was the best in the school’s Div. I history, surpassing the previous high of .614, set at Montana State on Jan. 30, 2003. The 86 points were also a season high, and the most since a 104-71 win over Simpson on Nov. 12, 2007. The 86 points were the most against a Div. I opponent since a 105-83 win over Weber State on Feb. 26, 2007.
The Hornets shot .591 from the field in the first half, and 62.5 percent in the second half, building a 38-29 lead at halftime, and increasing that lead to as high as 17 points in the second half. However, after falling down 17 points with 13:46 to play, the Bobcats (11-12, 6-6) used a 14-4 run over the next four minutes to climb back into the game.
Montana State got to within five points of Sacramento State’s lead three times in the final three minutes, but each time the Hornets answered with a bucket. That included a fast-break dunk from Jackson Carbajal with 2:09 remaining which made the score 79-72, and a 15-foot jumper from Konner Veteto with 1:16 left that gave the Hornets an 81-74 lead. Sacramento State forced a stop on MSU’s next possession, and Eberhard drained two free throws to put the Hornets up nine points with 49 seconds remaining. The Bobcats got no closer than within seven points the rest of the way.
“We stayed aggressive for 40 minutes, and that’s something we’ve done consistently during the winning streak,” Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. “When Montana State made their run in the second half, I thought our guys showed real toughness by keeping that lead no lower than five points. Dylan’s performance does not surprise me, his court vision is as good as I’ve ever seen.”
Sacramento State remains in Big Sky Tournament contention as the top six teams in the nine-member league reach the league’s postseason event. However, only four games remain on the conference schedule, and the Hornets sit two games back in the loss column of the Nos. 3-6 teams, comprised of Montana State (6-6), Idaho State (6-6), Portland State (6-6) and Eastern Washington (5-6). Of the Hornets’ four remaining league games, two will come against Portland State (road game on Feb. 15, and home game on Feb. 23). Sacramento State will next turn its attention to Montana, who will come into the Nest on Saturday night (7:05 p.m. tip) with an 11-1 league record.
Fourteen of Eberhard’s 23 points came in the second half as he finished the game 7-for-10 from the field, 5-of-5 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free throw line while also tallying eight rebounds, three assists and three steals in 39 minutes. The 23 points surpassed his previous season high of 21 points, which he set on Saturday in the win over Eastern Washington.
Eberhard was joined in double figures by Garrity (14 points, 16 assists and a steal in 39 minutes), Carbajal (14 points, 5-of-5 shooting from the field) and Veteto (15 points, four rebounds). The quartet combined for 66 of the Hornets’ 86 points.
Montana State, which shot 41.0 percent (25-61) from the field, 40.0 percent (8-20) from the three-point line and 85.7 percent (18-21) from the free throw line, was led by Tre Johnson’s 17 points and seven rebounds. Shawn Reid added 16 points and Jeff Budinich had nine.