CEDAR CITY, Utah -- Dylan Garrity had a game-high 21 points, Mikh McKinney added 15 points, and Sacramento State led from start to finish in a convincing 77-49 victory at Southern Utah Saturday evening at Centrum Arena.
The Hornets opened the game with a 3-pointer from Garrity at the 19:28 mark of the first half and never looked back. In fact, the Hornets pushed the lead to 11 points with 13:50 to play in the opening half, and led by double figures the rest of the way. Sacramento State held a 36-15 advantage at the half, and led by as many as 36 points before settling for the 28-point margin of victory.
That 28-point margin of victory was the largest in a road game during Sacramento State's Div. I era (1991-pres.), and the largest overall since a 79-45 win at Chaminade midway through the 1989-90 season. The program was a member of the Div. II ranks in that win over Chaminade.
Sacramento State posted season highs in both field goal percentage (.604, 29-for-48) and 3-point field goal percentage (.563, 9-for-16). The team's field goal percentage wasn't far off the Div. I-era record of .622, set in 2012 against Montana State. The Hornets also limited Southern Utah to .320 (16-for-50) from the field and just 1-for-12 from the 3-point line. In fact, the Thunderbirds converted just 16 field goals, and 16 of their points came from the free throw line.
The Hornets finally conclude their four-game road trip and improved to 5-8 overall and 1-3 in the Big Sky. Sacramento State is the only team in the conference that had to play its first four league games on the road, and will finally return to the friendly confines of The Nest next week on Thursday against Portland State and Saturday vs. Eastern Washington. The Hornets were also able to ease the jinx of Centrum Arena as the team is now just 3-8 when playing the Thunderbirds in Cedar City.
Southern Utah, which was playing just its fourth home game of the season, dropped to 1-11 overall and 0-3 in the Big Sky.
The Hornets shot better than 57 percent from the field in both halves and held a substantial advantage in points off turnovers (21-6). The Hornets turned the ball over just nine times while also holding a 30-24 advantage in the rebounding department.
Nine different Sacramento State players shot 50 percent or better from the field, and all 14 Hornets on the roster appeared in the game. Eleven of those players cracked the scoring column, including Garrity who finished just one point off his career high. His 21 points came on 8-of-12 shooting from the field, and 5-of-7 from the 3-point line. He also dished out four assists. The nine 3-pointers for Sacramento State were one shy of a season best.
At one point during the contest, the Hornets had a 24-4 lead with 7:45 remaining in the first half. Southern Utah converted on just 2 of its first 12 field goal attempts and turned the ball over seven times over that span. Sacramento State led by at least 15 points the remainder of the contest.
Joining Garrity in double figures for the Hornets was McKinney who had 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting to go along with five assists and two steals. Sacramento State got nice production from all five starters, including seven points and six rebounds from junior Zach Mills, five points and five rebounds from junior Alex Tiffin, and six points, two assists and a steal from sophomore Cody Demps. The blowout also allowed the starters to get more rest than usual as none of the five played more than 29 minutes.
The Hornets received 23 points off the bench, including six points and a pair of 3-pointers from sophomore Dreon Barlett, five points, three rebounds and two blocked shots from senior Joey Quigley, and four points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal from true freshman Nick Hornsby.
For Southern Utah, Trey Kennedy had 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting, A.J. Hess had 10 points on 3-of-12 shooting, and Casey Oliverson finished with nine points and 10 rebounds. The Thunderbirds did shoot 16-of-17 from the free throw line, including 7-for-7 from Kennedy.
Both home games next week for Sacramento State will begin at 7:05 p.m. Thursday's game against Portland State will mark the first of a stretch that will see the Hornets play six of their next eight games at home.