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MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG HOME STRETCH THURSDAY VS. NORTH DAKOTA

GAME PREVIEW

After completing a season-long four-game road trip that saw the Hornets post a 1-3 record, Sacramento State (8-8, 3-5) returns home to face North Dakota (7-10, 4-4) on Thursday…tip-off at the Nest is set for 7:05 p.m…the game will mark the first of a stretch that will see the Hornets play five of their next six games at home…last week, the Hornets dropped a heartbreaking 60-59 decision at Idaho State before finding itself down just two points at Weber State with three minutes to play before eventually falling…the Hornets are 5-2 at home, and 2-1 against Big Sky competition inside the friendly confines…that only conference loss came to Montana in which a free throw with two seconds remaining gave the Grizzlies the win…in fact, of the Hornets' eight conference games, seven have been decided by single digits…should the Hornets win on Thursday, the team's six home wins would match the most since the 2006-07 squad won eight inside the Nest (the Hornets won six at home each of the last two years)…Sacramento State finds itself in a six-way tie for fifth place in the 11-team Big Sky standings…Weber State and Montana are both 8-0, and just two games separate places three through 11 in the standings…the top seven teams in the final regular season standings will qualify for the Big Sky Tournament (March 14-16)…despite two losses last week, the Hornets' 8-8 record is still the best after 16 games since the 2005-06 squad was 11-5…the program is still looking for its first overall record above the .500 mark since the Div. I era began in 1991-92 (the 2005-06 squad finished 15-15)…North Dakota just completed a 3-1 homestand, including three straight wins heading into to Thursday…UND is 1-7 on the road with its lone road win coming at Idaho State on Jan. 3…North Dakota is one of two newcomers to the Big Sky this year (Southern Utah)…the Hornets are 1-1 all-time against UND, as the teams have played each of the last two years…Sacramento State lost in Grand Forks two years ago (64-60), and beat UND in the Nest last season (75-64)…like every Big Sky game, Thursday's contest can be seen live and free on Big Sky TV…the game can also be heard on the internet at www.hornetsports.com with 16th year play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy calling all the action…live stats of the game can be found by clicking here.

Sacramento State's full set of game notes can be found by clicking on the link above the story.

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