RUST SHOWS AFTER LONG LAYOFF IN MEN’S HOOPS’ 57-50 LOSS AT NORTHERN ARIZONA
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Sacramento State scored just 25 points in both the first and second halves, and was held to a season-low 50 points in a 57-50 loss at Northern Arizona in a Big Sky Conference men's basketball game Thursday evening at the Walkup Skydome.
After a season-long 12-day break without a game, the Hornets looked rusty in nearly ever facet tonight. The team put up season lows in points, field goals made (16), three-pointers made (4), three-point field goal percentage (.286), assists (6) and steals (0). The team's overall field goal percentage (.340) and free throws attempted (17) were the second lowest marks of the year. In fact, tonight marked the first time in Sacramento State's Div. I history (1991-pres.) the team was held without a steal.
The Hornets also committed 20 turnovers, easily their most of the season. Entering tonight's game, the team had committed 12 turnovers or less in all but one game, and was 21st in the nation in fewest turnovers per contest (11.3).
Despite the performance, the Hornets remained in the game all evening, never trailing by anything more than eight points. Sacramento State trailed by just five points (47-42) with 4:36 left in the contest, but NAU went 8-of-12 from the free throw line over the game's final 4:10 to help secure the victory. The Lumberjacks held a lead somewhere between four and eight points during the final 13 minutes of game clock.
Sacramento State trailed by six points with 1:36 to play, and had two straight possessions to inch closer but could not come up with points on either of those trips. The Hornets' largest lead came at 3-0 when buried a three-pointer 10 seconds into the contest, and the team's final lead came at 15-14 with 11:57 left in the first half. Sacramento State tied the game at 35-35 on a pair of Garrity free throws with 14:32 remaining in the second half, but NAU immediately responded with an 8-0 run over the next four minutes of game clock.
The Hornets fell to 6-5 overall and 1-2 in conference with the loss, and the team has now dropped nine straight games to the Lumberjacks when playing in Flagstaff. With the victory, Northern Arizona improved to 5-8 and 2-1 in the league.
Sacramento State went 16-of-47 from the field, 4-of-14 from the three-point line and 14-of-17 (.824) from the free throw line. The Hornets' defense did hold NAU to 32.1 percent (18-56) shooting from the field and 27.3 percent (6-22) from distance. In fact, after the Lumberjacks buried four of their first five three-point attempts of the game, NAU went 2-for-17 from the stripe the rest of the way. The Lumberjacks held large advantages over the Hornets in points in the paint (22-12) and points off turnovers (19-4).
Sacramento State's posted his second double-double of the season with a team-high tying 12 points and team-best 10 rebounds. The Hornets held a 40-33 advantage in the rebounding department, which included eight boards from and four each from Garrity and . was the only other Hornet in double figures as he finished with 12 points. Garrity added nine points to go along with four rebounds and two assists. (3-for-6) was the only Hornet with more than one shot attempt to shoot at least 50 percent from the field.
For NAU, DeWayne Russell scored a game-high 25 points on 4-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc and 11-of-12 from the free throw line. Russell's 25 points were 13 better than any other player on the floor. He was joined in double figures by Gabe Rogers' 11 points, but Rogers was limited to 5-of-15 shooting from the field and 1-of-7 from the three-point arc.
Sacramento State will play three times next week, including a home game Monday against Southern Utah and road games at Portland State on Thursday and Eastern Washington on Saturday, Jan. 12.