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MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO #24 UCLA ON MONDAY

Sacramento State Game Notes (24 pages) - pdf

GAME PREVIEW

Sacramento State (1-1) will play the second leg of its three-game road trip on Monday when the team travels to Pauley Pavilion to take on UCLA (2-0)…tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m…the game will be televised live on the Pac-12's National Network, but will not be aired on the Pac-12 Bay Area network (check your local provider to see if you get the game)…UCLA is currently ranked 24th in the nation in both the USA Today Coaches, and AP top 25 polls…the Hornets began their road trip on Wednesday by losing to CSU Bakersfield, 74-66…Monday will mark just the second time the Bruins and Hornets have faced each other…in the other meeting, UCLA won in Pauley Pavilion by an 86-56 score on Dec. 23, 2005 (box score on page 9)…that UCLA team was stacked with talent as five players went on to play in the NBA, including Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Darren Collison, Luc Mbah a Moute and Cedric Bozeman…Afflalo, Farmar, Collison and Mbah a Moute are still playing in the NBA…the Hornets are 3-35 all-time against the Pac-12's current members…however, two of those victories have come in the last four years, including a 65-63 win at Oregon State in 2009 and a 74-71 victory at Utah last season…Sacramento State will be playing its first ranked opponent since falling at 10th-ranked Marquette, 82-51, on Dec. 15, 2007…since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92, the Hornets are 0-12 against ranked teams.…Monday's game can 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...since the game is being televised, there is no live video stream available…live stats for the game are available at www.uclabruins.com…Monday's game will wrap up a stretch that will see a Big Sky Conference team take on a Pac-12 opponent five times over a four-day span.

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.

550 AND COUNTING

Sacramento State has converted at least one three-pointer in 550 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 a loss on the road at Montana State.

AGAINST THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Since Sacramento State began playing basketball in 1948, the Hornets are just 3-35 against the Pac-12 Conference's current affiliates. However, the team has won twice in the last four years against a Pac-12 opponent, including a 65-63 win at Oregon State on Nov. 21, 2009, and a 74-71 win at Utah on Nov. 16, 2012. Prior to the Oregon State win, the Hornets dropped 29 straight games against members of what had been the Pac-10. The only team the Hornets have not played from the Pac-12's current alignment is Arizona.

AGAINST RANKED OPPOSITION

Since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92, Sacramento State is 0-12 against ranked opposition. The team's last game against a ranked opponent came in an 82-51 loss at 10th-ranked Marquette on Dec. 15, 2007. In fact, the Hornets fell to three ranked opponents during that 2007-08 season (Kansas State and Oregon were the others).

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. Sacramento State's defense has gotten off to a nice start in 2013-14, limiting the opposition to just 58.5 points per game on .390 shooting from the field.

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. The closest was the 2005-06 squad which posted a 15-15 record.

TEAM CAPTAINS CHOSEN

Junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney are sharing the team captain duties this season. Garrity and McKinney, if they remain healthy, will likely start every game of the season. This will mark the second straigtht season that Garrity has shared the team captain duties.

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.

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.

CLOSE CALLS

Including Wednesday's loss to CSU Bakersfield, 20 of the Hornets' last 31 games have been decided by single digits. Sacramento State has gone 12-8 in those outcomes. All but six of the team's games against Big Sky competition last year 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.

THE BACKCOURT

Although Sacramento State lost three starters from a year ago, the Hornets do return one of the best backcourts in the Big Sky Conference in junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. Garrity enters 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 better than 12 points last year. Though very early in the season, Garrity (16.5 ppg) and McKinney (12.5 ppg) are the top two scorers, and have accounted for 42 percent of the team's points. Both players are shooting better than 52 percent from the field and have combined for a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (28 assists, 14 turnovers).

SHOOTING IT WELL THUS FAR

Two games into the season, Sacramento State is shooting a very proficient .476 (49-103) from the field. Six different players are shooting at least 50 percent from the floor, and three of the team's starters are shooting better than 52 percent (Alex Tiffin .583, Mikh McKinney .533, Dylan Garrity .524).

LOSING SOME SCORING PUNCH

The Hornets lost 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.

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE NEWCOMERS ALREADY

Though still very early in the season, Sacramento State has received considerable contributions from its new players. Newcomers make up three of the team's top seven scorers, including transfer Alex Tiffin (7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg), and true freshmen Eric Stuteville (6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg) and Nick Hornsby (5.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg). Combined, the team's five active newcomers have accounted for 32 percent of the team's scoring and 38 percent of the rebounding.

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. Already this season, the Hornets have attempted 46 free throws, or an average of 23.0 per game. However, the team hasn't shot nearly as well from the charity stripe this year (.652).

DOES HE EVER MISS?

Over his last 18 games dating back to last season, senior forward Jordan Salley is shooting .771 (27-of-35) from the field. He finished last season by going 22-of-29 over his final 16 games, and is currently 5-for-6 from the floor this year.

NOTABLES

On this year's roster are just two players with more than two years of experience heading into the season in fourth-year senior Kendell Groom and third-year junior Dylan Garrity…dating back to last year, Sacramento State has dropped eight of its last nine road games…sophomore guard Cody Demps posted the team's first double-double of the season when he had 10 points and a career-high 12 rebounds at CSU Bakersfield…the Hornets are outrebounding the opposition by 4.5 rebounds per game…the top four Hornets in terms of plus/minus ratio are Nick Hornsby (+31), Dylan Garrity (+24), Joey Quigley (+23) and Mikh McKinney (+11)…the plus/minus ratio is used to determine the point differential against an opponent when a particular player is on the floor.

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