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Men's Basketball

 
November 6, 2013

MEN'S BASKETBALL GETS UNDERWAY FRIDAY NIGHT VS. UC SANTA CRUZ

Sacramento State Game Notes (10 pages) - pdf

GAME PREVIEW


Sacramento State opens the 2013-14 season on Friday when the team hosts UC Santa Cruz inside the Nest at 7:35 p.m…the game is part of a doubleheader that will see the Hornet women take on Cal State Northridge at 5:05 p.m…fans can watch both games for the price of one ticket while students are admitted free with a valid One Card…Sacramento State is 6-16 in season openers since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92…that includes a 5-5 record when the team begins the season at home…Sacramento State and UC Santa Cruz will be playing for just the third time ever, and first since the Hornets defeated the Banana Slugs inside the Nest on Jan. 30, 1987 by a 97-72 score…the Hornets also beat the Slugs at home, 94-66, on Jan. 24, 1986…Sacramento State was a Div. II program at the time before moving up to the Div. I ranks in 1991-92…the Banana Slugs are an independent Div. III program that posted a 7-18 record last year under head coach Ron DuBois…Sacramento State went 14-15 overall and 8-12 in the Big Sky Conference a season ago, and return eight players and a redshirt…among those returners are arguably one of the best backcourts in the Big Sky in junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney…Friday could mark the Hornet debuts of freshmen Nick Hornsby and Eric Stuteville, sophomore Case Rada and junior Zach Mills…freshman point guard Trevis Jackson will likely redshirt this season…like every home game, and each road game played in a Big Sky venue, Friday's contest can be seen live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com…the game can also be heard over the airwaves on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer and on the internet at www.hornetsports.com with 17th year play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy calling all the action...live stats for the game are also available via www.hornetsports.com…after Friday night's game, the Hornets embark upon a three-game road trip that include stops at CSU Bakersfield (Nov. 13), UCLA (Nov. 18) and UC Davis (Nov. 26).

SEASON OPENERS

Entering its 66th season in program history, the men's basketball program has not fared well in season openers since the first year of play in 1948-49. The Hornets are 20-45 all-time in season openers, including a 6-16 record since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.

MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Though last year's Big Sky Conference record isn't glaring, Sacramento State has improved its league record each of the last four years. The Hornets went 8-12 last season against Big Sky teams, improving upon a 5-11 record in 2011-12, 4-12 in 2010-11, 3-13 in 2009-10, and 1-15 in 2008-09. Last year's 8-12 conference record also included four heartbreaking one-point losses.

ESTABLISHING A HOMECOURT ADVANTAGE

Sacramento State went 10-4 at home last season, the program's most wins inside the Nest in eight years, and tied for the most during the Div. I era (1991-pres.). The Hornets never lost back-to-back games inside the friendly confines and averaged nearly 70 points per contest (69.5). During the team's first four seasons under head coach Brian Katz, the Hornets won 2, 5, 6 and 6, at home, respectively, prior to last year's breakthrough.

548 AND COUNTING

Sacramento State has converted at least one three-pointer in 548 straight games. It has been nearly 20 years since the Hornets failed to convert a three ball. The last time the program was blanked from beyond the arc came on Nov. 28, 1993, when the Hornets went 0-for-6 in an 85-57 loss on the road at Montana State.

PLAYING THE DEFENSE

Sacramento State allowed opponents just 65.7 points per game last season, the best mark in over 40 years. The last Hornet squad to allow less points was the 1970-71 team which gave up 64.7 per contest. The Hornets held opponents to under 60 points in nine of 29 games last year.

ATTEMPTING TO CRACK THE .500 MARK

Sacramento State's 14 victories last year were the most in seven years, and the second most during the program's Div. I era. The Hornets, who never lost more than two games in a row, were at or above the .500 mark the first 28 games of the season until dipping below the .500 mark for the first time in the regular season finale. Sacramento State has still never had a team finish with a record above the .500 mark since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991.

TEAM CAPTAINS CHOSEN

Junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney will share the team captain duties this season. The duo combines to make up one of the more dynamic backcourts in the Big Sky Conference and are the top scoring returners as McKinney averaged 12.3 ppg last year while Garrity averaged 11.6 ppg.

CLOSE CALLS

Nineteen of the Hornets' 29 games last season were decided by single digits. Sacramento State went 12-7 in those single digit outcomes. All but six of the team's games against Big Sky competition were decided by a single-digit outcome. Amazingly, the Hornets played six games that were decided by one point, going 2-4 in those outcomes. Each of the four one-point losses came during conference play.

WHO IS STARTING?

Dating back to the beginning of the 2010-11 season, head coach Brian Katz has used 39 different starting lineups over that span. With five newcomers, fans can expect to see a number of different starting lineups again during the non-conference portion of the season. The only two players who are a lock to start games this year are the guard combination of Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney.

MULTIMEDIA COVERAGE FOR THE SEASON

For the sixth straight year, all of Sacramento State's home games and any game played at a Big Sky Conference venue will be aired live and free via video stream at www.WatchBigSky.com. Fans only have to register for an account, and the games are free to watch. In addition, all games will be broadcast live over the airwaves on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer and online at www.hornetsports.com with 17th-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy calling all the action. Live stats will be offered for every home game via www.hornetsports.com as well.

GRADUATING PLAYERS

Academically, of the 18 Hornets that have expired their eligibility under head coach Brian Katz, 14 have graduated, and three more are on pace to graduate during the 2013-14 academic year.

TAKING CARE OF THE BALL

Last season, the Hornets turned the ball over just 11.2 times per game, the 28th best mark in the nation, and the top mark in school history. That included turning the ball over a Div. I single-game record four times in the home win vs. Portland State.

GETTING TO THE FREE THROW LINE

Sacramento State converted on 436 free throws last year, the most in seven years, and the team's .728 free throw percentage was the highest mark since the 1976-77 season and fourth highest in school history.

LOSING SOME SCORING PUNCH

The Hornets did lose four of their top six scorers from a season 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 last year, and those five players combined to average nearly 50 percent (.498) of the team's total offensive production.

NEW CONTRACT FOR COACH KATZ

Head coach Brian Katz, who will be entering his sixth season with the program in 2013-14, received a new five-year contract in July, lengthening his tenure as the Hornets' head coach through at least the 2017-18 season.

THE BACKCOURT

Although Sacramento State lost three starters from a year ago, the Hornets do return arguably one of the best backcourts in the Big Sky Conference in junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. Garrity will enter his third season with the Hornets and has been the team's starting point guard since the moment he stepped foot on campus. McKinney transferred from Ohlone College prior to last season and burst onto the scene by averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 2012-13. The duo combined to average 23.9 points and 7.6 assists per game while shooting .418 from the field, .392 from the 3-point line and .832 from the free throw line. Garrity, who was the Big Sky Freshman of the Year two seasons ago, was named honorable mention all-league for the second straight year.

ALSO RETURNING FOR THE HORNETS

In addition to starters Garrity and McKinney, the Hornets boast players that have experience in the team's starting lineup in sophomore guard Cody Demps, and senior forwards Joey Quigley and Jordan Salley. Guards Dreon Barlett and Kendell Groom as well as center Ryan Okwudibonye also have experience in a Sacramento State uniform. Add in 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward Alex Tiffin, who redshirted last year after transferring from UC Davis, and the Hornets have a solid core of returners.

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