SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a game where both teams combined to shoot just 31.3 percent (41-131) from the field, it was San Jose State that used a late 9-2 run that keyed a 62-57 win over Sacramento State in a men's basketball game Saturday evening at The Event Center.
The game was the final non-conference tuneup of the season as Sacramento State will take the next 10 days off before opening Big Sky Conference play at home on Dec. 19 against Montana State.
The Hornets shot just 31.3 percent (21-67) from the field, 31.6 percent (6-19) from the three-point line and 52.9 percent (9-17) from the charity stripe. All three of those marks were season lows for a Sacramento State squad that entered the game averaging a Big Sky-best 78.4 points per game.
San Jose State also shot poorly from the field (.313, 20-for-64), but made nine more free throws and finished the game 18-of-23 (.783) from the charity stripe. The Spartans also held a massive 59-34 advantage in the rebounding department. Sacramento State did commit just eight turnovers, and scored 16 points off 19 Spartan turnovers.
With the victory, the Spartans have now won five of their last six games while improving to 5-3. The Hornets dropped to 5-3, and continued to struggle on the Spartans' home floor. Sacramento State is now 1-15 all-time when playing the Spartans in San Jose, including 11 straight losses.
The Hornets controlled the first half, opening up a lead as large as 12 points (20-8) with 10:14 remaining. In fact, Sacramento State led for nearly the entire first half before entering halftime with a 28-22 lead.
As both teams continued their shooting woes in the second half, the Hornets remained on top until a three-pointer from James Kinney gave the Spartans a 41-40 advantage with 10:04 left. That three-pointer gave San Jose State its first lead in over 28 minutes of game clock. Both teams battled back and forth the remainder of the game, but the Hornets would never reclaim a lead the rest of the way.
After a layup from put the Hornets down one point (50-49) with 3:25 remaining, the Spartans ripped off a 9-2 run over the next three minutes to put the game away. During the run, Sacramento State went just 1-for-6 from the field with a pair of turnovers. Meanwhile, the Spartans received four points from D. J. Brown, and two apiece from Kinney and Louis Garrett during the spurt.
At the end of the run, San Jose State held a comfortable 59-51 lead with 14 seconds left. The Hornets did receive a pair of three-pointers from Garrity in the closing seconds, but the Spartans came away with the five-point win.
Of the 12 Sacramento State players to appear in today's game, no one shot better than 50 percent from the field. The Hornets shot 31 percent from the floor and scored under 30 points in both halves. led the team with 16 points in 25 minutes while Garrity had 12 points, and added 11 points and nine rebounds. Garrity also had eight assists and no turnovers while tallying a game-high three steals.
Garrity's backcourt mate, , who entered the game as the Hornets' third leading scorer, was limited to a season-low five points on 1-of-13 shooting from the field. McKinney did have seven rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal. added nine points and eight rebounds in 34 minutes.
For San Jose State, Kinney, who entered the game as the nation's fourth leading scorer, finished with a game-high 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting from the field. He was joined in double figures by Chris Cunningham's 10 points and 17 rebounds. Of Cunningham's 17 boards, 10 came on the offensive glass. In fact, San Jose State finished with 24 offensive rebounds, but could only outscore the Hornets, 9-8, in second-chance points. Brown was 0-for-8 from the field, but connected on seven free throws during the game's final 1:06 for his seven points.
After the Big Sky home opener against Montana State on Dec. 19, the Hornets will also host Montana two days later on Dec. 21.
NOTES – Garrity had converted on 30 consecutive free throw attempts prior to missing an and-1 situation with 3:25 remaining in the game.