AFTER LONG LAYOFF, MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UC RIVERSIDE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
Complete game notes (25 pages) - pdf
Sacramento State (3-5) will play for the first time in eight days when the team hosts UC Riverside (4-7) on Sunday, Dec. 29…tip-off at The Nest is set for 2:05 p.m…the game will mark the first and only time the Hornets will play on a Sunday this season…in addition, Sacramento State will play for just the second time at home during the entire month of December (the other coming in an 85-54 victory vs. William Jessup)…the Hornets are 2-1 this season at home with each of those outcomes decided by at least 26 points…Sunday will mark the final non-conference game of the season as Sacramento State opens conference play on Thursday at Montana State…the Hornets will begin the conference slate with four straight road games…Sacramento State is coming off a 59-51 loss at Cal State Fullerton in which the Hornets blew an eight-point halftime lead…UC Riverside will mark the fourth Big West team that Sacramento State has played this year, and the Hornets are 1-2 in those games (road win at UC Davis; home loss vs. UC Irvine, road loss at Cal State Fullerton)…Sacramento State is 3-0 when scoring at least 70 points, and 0-5 when scoring under 70…UC Riverside has dropped three of its last four games, including a 71-64 home loss to Northern Illinois last Sunday…the Anteaters are 1-4 on the road with the lone win coming at Southern Utah (74-59)…the Hornets are 4-12 all-time against UC Riverside, including a 4-6 record when playing in Sacramento…the Highlanders have won the last three meetings between the two teams, including a 59-58 victory at The Nest on Nov. 28, 2009…that loss was one of the most gut wrenching during the Brian Katz era (box score on page 9)…Riverside's Larry Gurganious grabbed an offensive rebound with one second to play and quickly lofted up a heavily challenged shot than sat on the rim for what seemed like an eternity before falling in… like every home game, Sunday'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 the game...live stats for the game are also available via www.hornetsports.com.
556 AND COUNTING
Sacramento State has converted at least one three-pointer in 556 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.
FOULS ON THE RISE
Last May, the NCAA men's basketball rules committee voted on changes intended to cut down the amount of physical play and encourage a more open style of play. The NCAA warned that more fouls would likely be called. In Sacramento State's case, that has certainly rang true. Through eight games, the Hornets have been whistled for 178 fouls, or 22.3 per contest. In comparison, last year's team finished the season with an average of 16.0 fouls per game. A Hornet has fouled out of a game seven times already this season after finishing with six foul outs in 29 games last year.
FREE THROW ATTEMPT DISPARITY
With the Hornets averaging more than 22 fouls per game, the opponents have taken advantage, going to the free throw line a ridiculous 221 times. That breaks down to a robust 27.9 free throw attempts per game, which is partially to blame for the Hornets' 3-5 record. Opponents have shot at least 20 free throws in all but one game, including 45 by UTEP three weeks ago. The opposition has attempted 92 more free throws (221-129) and converted 54 more of those freebies (143-89) than Sacramento State.
GAUGING THE PLUS/MINUS
The plus/minus ratio, originally created in hockey, gauges the success of a team when a certain player or combination of players are on the floor. Thus far, true freshman Nick Hornsby has a team-best ratio of +2.71 per game while senior Jordan Salley is second at +2.50. So the Hornets have outscored their opponents by nearly three points per game when Hornsby is on the floor. As far as lineups go, the fivesome of Dylan Garrity, Mikh McKinney, Cody Demps, Alex Tiffin and Salley have been the best statistically, checking in at +2.75 per contest.
GARRITY/McKINNEY ACCOUNT FOR BIG PART OF THE OFFENSE
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, together, have scored nearly 43 percent (.428) of the team's points this season. McKinney (14.9 ppg) and Garrity (12.0 ppg) are the only Hornets averaging better than 7.1 points per contest and one of the two has led the team in scoring in all but two games thus far.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Over the last four games, Sacramento State has posted its lowest turnover marks of the season, comprised of 11, 10, 8 and 11, respectively. That's an average of just 10.0 per contest during that four-game stretch. The Hornets are averaging just 12.5 turnovers per contest overall, and the team's 100 total turnovers are the 10th best mark in the nation.
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.
As far as a starting lineup goes, one thing is pretty certain....head coach Brian Katz will start Dylan Garrity at point guard, Mikh McKinney at shooting guard, Cody Demps at swingman and Alex Tiffin in the post. Who he starts alongside that foursome is still being ironed out. Katz has started four different players with the aforementioned foursome, comprised of forward Joey Quigley (3 times), center Eric Stuteville (2), and forwards Zach Mills (2) and Jordan Salley (1).
GARRITY CONTINUES TO IMPRESS
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 (359), Garrity has increased his scoring average from 8.1 ppg as a freshman, to 11.6 ppg as a sophomore, and currently 12.0 ppg this season. He is shooting .468 (22-47) from beyond the 3-point line, and averaging 2.8 makes per game, tied for the second best mark in the Big Sky. Most impressive, however, is the fact he's turned the ball over just six times in 248 minutes this year (one every 41.3 minutes) despite playing a highly demanding position. His 3.8-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is the sixth best mark in the nation and tops in the Big Sky. He has now gone 76 straight minutes without a turnover and has just one in the last 169 minutes played.
STAT SHEET STUFFING McKINNEY
Junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney, who shares the team captain duties with Dylan Garrity, is currently averaging 14.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.4 steals per game while shooting .451 (41-91) from the field and .923 (24-26) 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, and 22 more at UTEP. The Union City, Calif., native has started all 37 games during his Sacramento State career after transferring from Ohlone College. He has scored in double figures in 26 of those games. Over the last five games, he is averaging 17.4 points on .484 shooting from the field. Overall, his .923 free throw percentage is currently the eighth best mark in the nation.
BIG STRIDES FOR DEMPS
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 bigger minutes (27.4 per game), he is making the most of the added playing time, averaging 7.1 points and a team-high 4.0 rebounds per game. Including his career-high 16 points against UC Irvine, he has scored in double figures three times after doing so twice all of last season. He also had his first career double-double (10 pts, 12 reb) at CSU Bakersfield. He's been somewhat feast or famine, having scored at least nine points four times, and scoring two points or less on three occasions.
THE PROFICIENT SALLEY
Despite going 0-for-4 against Cal State Fullerton, over his last 24 games dating back to last season, senior forward Jordan Salley is shooting a ridiculous .672 (41-of-61) from the field. He finished last season by going 22-of-29 over his final 16 games, and is now 19-for-32 (.594) 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 101 minutes over the last five games. Overall, he is now averaging one point every 2.8 minutes of playing time, the second best mark on the squad.
The Hornets are 3-0 when outrebounding an opponent, and 0-5 when being outrebounded…including a career-high 21 points vs. William Jessup, junior forward Alex Tiffin has scored at least nine points on three occasions, and five points or less in the other five games…after beginning the season 1-for-6 from beyond the arc, sophomore Dreon Barlett is 5 for his last 10 from distance…seven different players have now led the Hornets in rebounding through eight games…the Hornets are allowing just 66.4 points per game, the second best mark in the Big Sky…despite averaging just 62.8 points per game offensively, the team is third in the conference with 13.4 assists per contest.