MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS UC IRVINE SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
Complete Game Notes (25 pages) - pdf
Sacramento State (2-2) will play at home for the first time in nearly a month when the team hosts UC Irvine (4-3) on Saturday evening…tip-off at The Nest is 7:05 p.m…the Hornets concluded a three-game road trip on Tuesday with a 73-67 victory over rival UC Davis…including the Hornets' season-opening win over UC Santa Cruz, Sacramento State is 11-4 at home dating back to last year…the Hornets will be playing a UC Irvine squad that features three players standing seven feet or taller on the roster…that includes 7-foot-6, 290-pound Mamadou Ndiaye, who, come Saturday, will be the tallest individual to ever step foot in The Nest, which was built in 1955…Sacramento State and UC Irvine have played each other just three times with the Hornets owning a 2-1 advantage…that includes a 1-0 record at home, 1-0 at a neutral site, and 0-1 on the road…the teams' last meeting was Dec. 4, 2004, an 81-69 Anteater victory in Irvine…the home win came in a 64-56 victory during the 2003-04 season…the Hornets' 73 points on Tuesday matched a season best after an offensive rut that saw the team score 66 and 50 points, respectively, against CSU Bakersfield and UCLA…the team set season highs in 3-point field goal percentage (.529) and free throw percentage (.833) at UC Davis…Saturday evening'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…like every home game, and each road game played in a Big Sky venue, Saturday's contest can be seen live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com…live stats for the game are available at www.hornetsports.com…Saturday's game is the first of just five non-conference contests remaining on the schedule before the Big Sky opener at Montana State on Jan. 2.
MULTIMEDIA COVERAGE OF THE GAME
For the sixth straight year, all of Sacramento State's home games and any game played in 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.
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.
552 AND COUNTING
Sacramento State has converted at least one three-pointer in 552 straight games. It has been over 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.
GETTING IT GOING FROM DISTANCE
Entering the UC Davis game, Sacramento State was shooting just .286 (18-63) from the 3-point line and hadn't shot better than .350 from distance in each of the first three games. However, that all changed against UC Davis when the Hornets went 9-of-17 (.529) from distance in an eventual 73-67 win. Dylan Garrity (13-of-28, .464) remains the only Hornet with more than five three-pointers made this season.
CLUTCH FREE THROW SHOOTING
Sacramento State went 10-for-10 from the free throw line during the final 28 seconds of Tuesday's 73-67 victory at UC Davis. On three occasions during the waning moments of the game, the Aggies cut the Hornet lead to two points only to see Sacramento State answer with a pair of free throws. The clutch performance from the line was a little surprising considering the Hornets entered the game at just .646 (31-48) from the line. Sacramento State finished the game shooting .833 (20-of-24) from the charity stripe.
NEW CONTRACT FOR COACH KATZ
Head coach Brian Katz is currently in 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.
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.
FOULS ON THE DECLINE
Though Sacramento State is averaging 20 fouls per game, and has already seen four players foul out of games this season, the team is getting better at staying away from contact. The team's number of fouls has dropped each game from 24, 20, 19, and finally 17 against UC Davis. The Aggies went to the free throw line 15 times in that game, easily the lowest figures by a Hornet opponent thus far.
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.). Including the team's season-opening win, the Hornets are now 11-4 inside the friendly confines dating back to last year, and over that 15-game span, are averaging nearly 70 points per contest (69.7).
GARRITY AVERAGING BIG NUMBERS THUS FAR
Junior point guard Dylan Garrity, who has been the Hornets' starting point guard the moment he stepped foot on campus two years ago, continues to impress. Already fourth in school history in assists (350), Garrity has increased his scoring average from 8.1 ppg as a freshman, to 11.6 ppg as a sophomore, and currently 15.3 ppg this season. He is shooting a very proficient .457 (21-46) from the field, .464 (13-28) from the 3-point line, and has a robust .605 true shooting percentage. He is third in the Big Sky averaging 36.0 minutes per contest, and despite the high amount of minutes and demand on the point guard position, has turned the ball over just five times all year. That breaks down to a miniscule one turnover every 28.8 minutes.
McKINNEY COMES UP LARGE IN RIVALRY GAME
Junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney, who shares the team captain duties with Dylan Garrity, picked a great time to have his best game of the season, dropping in a season-best 25 points against arch rival UC Davis. McKinney has started all 33 games the Hornets have played dating back to last year, and is averaging 12.5 ppg during his career. That includes 14.3 ppg this season, scoring in double figures in three of the four games thus far. McKinney is shooting .947 (18-19) from the free throw line this season, which ranks among the top 25 players in the nation in that statistic.
DEMPS PLAYING BIG MINUTES
After fouling out in just eight minutes in the season opener, true sophomore swingman Cody Demps has played 39, 38 minutes and 35 minutes, respectively, over the last three games. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demps is leading the team in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and is tied for fourth in scoring (6.0 ppg). His 11 points at UC Davis were a season best, and his average of 30.0 minutes per game is the second highest mark on the squad.
THE PROFICIENT SALLEY
Over his last 20 games dating back to last season, senior forward Jordan Salley is shooting a ridiculous .740 (35-of-47) from the field. He finished last season by going 22-of-29 over his final 16 games, and is currently 13-for-18 (.722) this season. The athletic Salley will often jump higher than his defender to set up a clean midair look at the basket. After averaging just 8.0 minutes the first three games this season, he played a career-high 30 minutes at UC Davis where he responded with 11 points. Despite averaging just 13.5 minutes per game thus far, he is third on the team with 7.5 points per game, and is averaging a team-high one point every 1.8 minutes on the floor.
MILLS GETS IN GOING
Junior swingman Zach Mills figured to be a fixture in the Hornets' rotation prior to the season. However, the transfer from Irvine Valley College had scored just seven points in a combined 23 minutes over the first three games. Mills got it going, and then some, against UC Davis where he finished with 10 points (3-of-4 shooting) and a team-high seven rebounds in 23 minutes. None of those 10 points were bigger than the pair of free throws he connected with 28 seconds left to put the Hornets back up four points. Mills has a team-high true shooting percentage of .790. True shooting percentage takes into account field goals, 3-pointers and free throws.
Head coach Brian Katz has started Dylan Garrity at point guard, Mikh McKinney at shooting guard, Cody Demps at swingman and Alex Tiffin in the post of all four games thus far…true freshman center Eric Stuteville, who checks in at 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, could be called on to help guard UC Irvine's 7-foot-6 big man Mamadou Ndiaye…Jordan Salley leads the Hornets in both charges drawn (3) and dunks (3)…sophomore shooting guard Dreon Barlett knocked down the biggest 3-pointers of his career on back-to-back possessions late in the second half to give the Hornets a 56-50 lead over UC Davis…Barlett is now shooting .450 (9-20) for his career from beyond the arc…senior forward Joey Quigley returned from a groin injury that forced him to miss the UCLA game, but played just six minutes at UC Davis on Tuesday…the Hornets' victory at UC Davis allowed the team to avoid its first three-game losing streak since the 2011-12 season.