SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After over four weeks of official team practices, the Sacramento State men's basketball team will finally hit the hardwood for its first game. That will come this Friday, Nov. 1, when the squad plays its lone exhibition game against Menlo at 7:05 p.m. inside the Nest.
Like all home games this year, admission for the exhibition game is $12 for reserved seating (Sections 3, 4, and 7), $10 for adult general admission (Sections 1 and 5), and $5 for youth general admission (ages 3-17, Sections 1 & 5). For a seating chart, click here. Just like every sporting event on campus, Sacramento State students will be admitted free with a valid One Card.
Friday will serve as a warmup for the Hornets' first regular season game of the season on Friday, Nov. 8, when the team hosts UC Santa Cruz at 7:35 p.m. That game is the second of a doubleheader that will see the Sacramento State women taking on Cal State Northridge at 5:05 p.m.
This year's Hornet squad is made up of nine returners from a season ago, headlined by junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. The duo, which are team co-captains this year, combine to form one of the best back courts in the Big Sky Conference.
Other Hornets back for 2013-14 include senior forwards Jordan Salley and Joey Quigley, senior guard Kendell Groom, junior center Ryan Okwudibonye, junior forward Alex Tiffin, and sophomore guards Cody Demps and Dreon Barlett. Tiffin, who is 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, redshirted last season after transferring from UC Davis. Okwudibonye is back from a knee injury that forced him to miss all but one game last year.
Sacramento State did lose four of its top six scorers from a year ago in forward John Dickson (1st; 12.8 ppg), center Konner Veteto (4th; 10.2 ppg), swingman Joe Eberhard (5th; 6.9 ppg) and shooting guard Jackson Carbajal (6th; 3.3 ppg). In all, Sacramento State lost five players from a season ago, and those five players combined to average nearly 50 percent (.498) of the team's total offensive production.
The list of newcomers includes freshmen Nick Hornsby, Eric Stuteville and Trevis Jackson as well as transfers Zach Mills and Case Rada. Each player averaged at least 14.7 points per game last season at their respective schools.
The Hornets have increased their conference win total every year of head coach Brian Katz's tenure, culminating in a 14-15 overall record and 8-12 conference mark last season. Not only did the team match its high water mark for Big Sky wins last year, the program's 14 overall victories were the most in seven years, and second most during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
In addition, Sacramento State went 10-4 at home, the program's most wins inside the Nest in eight years. The Hornets never lost more than two games in a row, and were at or above the .500 mark all season until the final game of the year. That also included four one-point losses in conference play as Sacramento State could have been that much better.
For those who can't make it on Friday, fans can listen to the game via www.hornetsports.com by clicking here. Brian Berger will call all the action. Steve McElroy, who enters his 17th year as the team's play-by-play radio announcer, will begin calling games on Nov. 8 when the regular season opens. Free video streams of all home games, via www.WatchBigSky.com, will not be made available until the regular season begins. All regular season and postseason games will be broadcast live this season at KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer.
NOTES -- Menlo College is an NAIA school from Atherton, Calif., that competes in the California Pacific Conference...the Hornets have played the Oaks four times in school history during the regular season with Sacramento State winning each of those games by at least 14 points…the last time the two teams met was the 2011-12 season opener when the Hornets prevailed, 70-56.