Sacramento State Game Notes - 24 pages - PDF


Sacramento State (2-3) will play the first of four remaining non-conference games on Saturday, Dec. 7, when the team travels to El Paso, Texas, to take on UTEP (4-4)…tip-off at the Don Haskins Center is 6:05 p.m. PST…the Hornets are coming off a 79-53 home loss to UC Irvine, the program's worst home loss in terms of point differential in 14 years…Sacramento State is 2-0 when scoring 70 points or better, and 0-3 when scoring under 70 points…one of those wins came in a 73-67 victory at Causeway rival UC Davis two games ago…Saturday's game will be the first ever meeting between Sacramento State and UTEP, and the Miners are the only team on this year's schedule the Hornets have never faced before…UTEP will become the 191st school that Sacramento State has played since the first season of Hornet basketball in 1948-49…of Conference USA's current 16-team alignment, Sacramento State has played just six of those squads heading into Saturday's game (UAB, FIU, Old Dominion, Tulane, Rice and UTSA)…UTEP has lost three of its last four games heading into Saturday, but its last two losses came to Iowa and Kansas after a 78-70 win over Tennessee…the loss to Kansas was 67-63 on Saturday in the Bahamas…the Miners, who are the definition of a balanced-scoring team, have eight players averaging between seven and 14 points per game…Saturday's game can be heard over the airwaves on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer and on the internet at with 17th year play-by-play announcer Steve McElroy calling all the action…the game is not being televised, but UTEP does offer a live video stream of the game for a fee…live stats can also be found by clicking here.


Sacramento State has converted at least one three-pointer in 553 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.


Though a very limited sample size, of Conference USA's current 16-team alignment, Sacramento State has exactly one combined win against those schools. That came during the program's Div. II era on Dec. 16, 1988, at Sacramento's Arco Arena when the Hornets beat Florida International, 100-88. Combined, Sacramento State is 1-7 all-time against Conference USA's current alignment, including 0-1 vs. UAB, Rice and UTSA, and 0-2 against Old Dominion and Tulane.


Though its very early in the season, here are a few trends worth monitoring...Sacramento State is 2-0 when outrebounding the opposition, and 0-3 when getting outrebounded…2-0 when the Hornets attempt more free throws, 0-3 when shooting less free throws…2-0 when scoring at least 70 points, 0-3 when failing to score 70…2-0 when shooting at least 41 percent from the field…2-0 when Mikh McKinney scores at least 14 points…2-0 when Zach Mills records at least five points and five rebounds.


After limiting UC Santa Cruz to 43 points and a .294 field goal percentage in the season opener, Sacramento State's defense has taken a few steps back. Over the last four games, the Hornets are allowing opponents 76.5 points and a .532 field goal percentage. In fact, each of the last three opponents have shot better than .538 from the floor. From beyond the arc this season, opponents are shooting a healthy .411, which is the worst mark in the Big Sky. All of this comes one year after the Hornets allowed just 65.7 points per game, the best mark in over 40 years.


A good chunk of the team's scoring this season has come from the back court of junior point guard Dylan Garrity and junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney. The duo combines to form one of the best back courts in the Big Sky Conference, and has combined to score 42 percent of the team's points this season. Garrity (14.0 ppg) and McKinney (13.4 ppg) are the only two players averaging better than 8.0 points per contest and one of the two has led the team in scoring in all but one game thus far.


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.


Unlike the last few years, head coach Brian Katz has stuck with the same starting five, for the most part, in each of the first five games. The combination of guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney, swingman Cody Demps and forward Alex Tiffin has started every game this season. At center, Joey Quigley has started three games and true freshman Eric Stuteville has started the other two. The team is 2-1 when Quigley gets the start at center, and 0-2 when Stuteville gets the nod. The previous three seasons, Katz used 39 different starting lineups.


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 career assists (353), Garrity has increased his scoring average from 8.1 ppg as a freshman, to 11.6 ppg as a sophomore, and currently 14.0 ppg this season. He is shooting .452 (14-31) from beyond the 3-point line and has scored at least nine points in every game this year. Perhaps most impressive, he has turned the ball over just six times in 177 minutes this year (one every 29.5 minutes) despite averaging over 35 minutes a game and playing a highly demanding position. His 2.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is the best mark in the Big Sky.


Junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney, who shares the team captain duties with Dylan Garrity, is currently averaging 13.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting .438 (21-48) from the field and .900 (18-20) from the free throw line. He has scored in double figures in all but one game, including a season-best 25 points at UC Davis. The Union City, Calif., native has started all 34 games during his Sacramento State career after transferring from Ohlone College. He has scored in double figures in 23 of those games and is a career 82 percent free throw shooter (114-139).


Last season as a true freshman, swingman Cody Demps averaged 3.0 points and 1.8 rebounds in 13.8 minutes of playing time. What a difference a year makes. This season, Demps is not only getting huge minutes (30.8 per game), he is making the most of the added playing time, averaging 8.0 points and a team-high 6.2 rebounds per game. Including his career-high 16 points against UC Irvine, he has scored in double figures three times in the last four games after doing so twice all of last season. The local product has played at least 34 minutes while posting at least five rebounds in each of the last four games. That includes his first career double-double (10 pts, 12 reb) at CSU Bakersfield.


Over his last 21 games dating back to last season, senior forward Jordan Salley is shooting a ridiculous .704 (38-of-54) from the field. He finished last season by going 22-of-29 over his final 16 games, and is second in the Big Sky at .640 (16-25) this year. 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 has combined for 52 minutes over the last two games. Overall, despite averaging 15.2 minutes per game, he is fourth on the team with 7.4 points per game, and is averaging a team-high one point every 2.1 minutes on the floor.


Over the last week, three Hornets have celebrated their birthdays in Joey Quigley (Nov. 29), Cody Demps (Dec. 2) and Jordan Salley (Dec. 4), and one more, Ryan Okwudibonye, celebrates his birthday on Sunday…Salley leads the Hornets in both charges drawn (4) 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 against UC Davis, and is now shooting .429 (9-21) for his career from distance…sophomore shooting guard Case Rada missed the game against UC Irvine because of flu-like symptoms…true freshman and walkon point guard Trevis Jackson, who was originally going to redshirt this season, played against both UCLA and UC Irvine.