Big Sky Conference standings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento State's Mikh McKinney had a team-high 19 points and the Hornets didn't trail the final 38:46 of the contest on the way to a 71-65 victory over North Dakota on Thursday evening at The Nest.
The Hornets shot .500 (24-48) from the field, outscored North Dakota in points off turnovers by a big margin (16-4) and limited UND to .393 shooting, including 6-of-21 from the 3-point line. In addition, Sacramento State committed a season-low seven turnovers, and led by as many as 16 points in the second half.
The win for the Hornets (12-12, 8-7) moves the team into a five-way tie for third place in the Big Sky standings with Montana, Montana State, North Dakota (11-14, 8-7) and Northern Arizona. Weber State remains in first place with an 11-4 record while Northern Colorado is second at 10-5. Eastern Washington sits in eighth place with a 7-7 record, and both Idaho State and Portland State are 7-8. With five games remaining in the regular season, the top seven teams in the league standings will qualify for the Big Sky Tournament, a place the Hornets haven't been since the 2005-06 season.
Sacramento State is arguably the hottest team in the conference, having won six of its last seven games. After beginning the season 0-3 in league play, the Hornets have won eight of their last 12 conference games. Below are a number of other notables from the team's current streak.
• The Hornets have now won six straight games at home, the longest streak since the 2005-06 team won seven in a row at home.
• The team's six-game home winning streak against Big Sky competition is the longest since joining the league in 1996-97.
• Overall, the Hornets have won six of their last seven games, matching the 2005-06 squad for the best seven-game run in the team's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
• The Hornets have matched their high for most conference wins (8) since joining the Big Sky in 1996-97 (2004-05 and 2012-13 squads also won eight).
• At 12-12, the Hornets have a shot to finish the season with an overall record above the .500 mark for the first time since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991.
• At 8-7, the Hornets have the opportunity to finish with a Big Sky record above .500 for just the second time since joining the league in 1996-97. The 2004-05 squad finished 8-6 in league. The 2003-04 squad owns the high water mark for Big Sky finish (T-2nd).
In tonight's game, UND got a dunk from Ryan Salmonson on the first possession of the game, but the Hornets went on a 21-6 run spanning the next 12:28 to take a 21-8 lead with 6:18 remaining in the first half. Six different Sacramento State players scored during the run, including Jordan Salley posting six points in a row to increase an 8-6 lead to 14-6.
After taking the 21-8 lead, the Hornets led by at least five points the rest of the way. North Dakota made things interesting with a 10-0 run late in the second half to cut a 57-41 Sacramento State lead all the way down to 57-51 with 4:06 remaining. However, the Hornets received buckets from McKinney and Cody Demps on the next two possessions to go back up 10 points.
UND eventually cut the lead to five points (64-59) with 52 seconds remaining, but Sacramento State received two free throws from true freshmen Eric Stuteville and Nick Hornsby to go back up nine points (68-59) and put the game away.
"Teams should be able to win their home games, so we've been doing what we are supposed to on our home floor," Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz said. "We're feeling pretty good about ourselves at home, but I'm more excited we've won six of our last seven games overall. Offensively, we have balance right now, and its easier to get good looks at the bucket when you have balance."
McKinney continues to punish the Big Sky as his 19 points tonight came on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, including perhaps the biggest bucket of the game with 3:11 to play which put an end to North Dakota's 10-0 run. The shooting guard is making a run at first team all-Big Sky status and has gone off over the last seven games. During that seven-game spurt, he is averaging 21.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting .536 (52-97) from the field and .429 (9-21) from the 3-point line.
Joining McKinney in double figures for the Hornets was Hornsby, who finished with a season-best 15 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field (1-for-1 from distance) and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Zach Mills added nine points and five rebounds, Alex Tiffin had a team-best seven rebounds, Salley finished with eight points and Stuteville had seven points. Both Dylan Garrity and Cody Demps, who dealt with foul trouble, finished with five points.
Sacramento State has now shot at least 49 percent from the field in four of its last five games and the team is shooting a very proficient .487 in league play.
"Guys are shooting the ball with a lot of confidence right now and our offensive execution continues to get better," McKinney said. "Dylan (Garrity) and I, especially, are trying to get the ball to where our teammates feel comfortable, and they continue to knock down shots."
For North Dakota, Jamal Webb had a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds, but he was the only UND player to score in double figures. Senior guard Troy Huff, who entered the game second in the conference at 19.6 points per game, finished with just eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Hornets return to the court on Saturday for a home game against Northern Colorado at 7:05 p.m. The game is part of a "Whiteout the Nest" promotion where the first 500 fans in attendance will receive free t-shirts.
May 23, 2014 HORNET HOOPS GOLF TOURNAMENT SET FOR MONDAY, JUNE 9
April 28, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS TO HOST SEASON WRAPUP/SIGNING PARTY ON MAY 8
March 10, 2014 TICKETS AVAILABLE FOR BIG SKY MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
February 28, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD GAME SATURDAY AT IDAHO ST.
February 27, 2014 WINNING STREAK SNAPPED, MEN'S BASKETBALL FALLS AT WEBER STATE, 79-67
February 26, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO WEBER STATE ON THURSDAY, SEEKS 4TH STRAIGHT WIN
February 24, 2014 VOTE GARRITY’S 75-FOOT SHOT FOR GEICO PLAY OF THE YEAR
February 24, 2014 McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK FOR A SECOND TIME
February 22, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL CONTINUES TO ROLL AFTER CRUSHING NORTHERN COLORADO
February 21, 2014 FREE WHITEOUT SHIRTS TO THE FIRST 500 FANS AT SATURDAY’S HOOPS GAME
February 21, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 7TH STRAIGHT HOME WIN SATURDAY VS. NORTHERN COLO.
February 19, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 6TH STRAIGHT HOME WIN THURSDAY VS. NORTH DAKOTA
February 14, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO PORTLAND STATE ON SATURDAY
February 13, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL HAS WINNING STREAK SNAPPED AT EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 12, 2014 WINNERS OF FOUR STRAIGHT, MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EASTERN WASHINGTON
February 10, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS BEATS SOUTHERN UTAH, COMPLETES HOMESTAND WITH 4-0 RECORD
February 9, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS SEEKS 4TH STRAIGHT WIN, HOSTS SOUTHERN UTAH ON MONDAY
February 6, 2014 WINNING STREAK AT THREE AFTER MEN’S HOOPS DISMANTLES NAU, 87-70
February 5, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. NORTHERN ARIZONA
February 3, 2014 McKINNEY NAMED BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
January 31, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL’S SIXTH-ANNUAL ALUMNI GAMES TAKE PLACE SATURDAY
January 31, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS HOST BIG SKY-LEADING WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 29, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS LONG HOMESTAND THURSDAY VS. IDAHO STATE
January 25, 2014 BIG DISPARITIES HURT IN MEN’S HOOPS LOSS AT NORTHERN COLORADO
January 24, 2014 ROAD WEARY MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS AT NORTHERN COLORADO ON SATURDAY
January 23, 2014 NORTH DAKOTA USES LATE RUN TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
January 21, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL BACK ON THE ROAD THURSDAY AT NORTH DAKOTA
January 18, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL KNOCKS OFF EASTERN WASHINGTON AT HOME, 75-64
January 17, 2014 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS EASTERN WASHINGTON ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 15, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS FINALLY RETURNS HOME, HOSTS PORTLAND STATE ON THURSDAY
January 11, 2014 MEN’S HOOPS CRUSHES SOUTHERN UTAH, ENDS ROAD TRIP IN A BIG WAY
January 10, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS ROAD TRIP COMES TO AN END SATURDAY AT SOUTHERN UTAH
January 8, 2014 MEN'S HOOPS CONTINUES ROAD TRIP THURSDAY AT NORTHERN ARIZONA
January 2, 2014 MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS BIG SKY OPENER AT MONTANA STATE
December 31, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL OPENS BIG SKY PLAY THURSDAY AT MONTANA STATE
December 29, 2013 LATE FREE THROWS HELP DELIVER 69-67 MEN’S HOOPS WIN OVER UC RIVERSIDE
December 27, 2013 AFTER LONG LAYOFF, MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UC RIVERSIDE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
December 21, 2013 BIG SECOND HALF FUELS CAL STATE FULLERTON TO VICTORY OVER MEN’S HOOPS
December 19, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS AT CAL STATE FULLERTON ON SATURDAY AFTERNOON
December 14, 2013 MEN’S HOOPS CRUISES TO 85-54 WIN OVER WILLIAM JESSUP
December 12, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS WILLIAM JESSUP ON SATURDAY AT 7 P.M.
December 7, 2013 UTEP USES HEALTHY FREE THROW ADVANTAGE TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
December 4, 2013 MEN'S HOOPS TRAVELS TO EL PASO FOR FIRST EVER MEETING WITH UTEP
November 30, 2013 UC IRVINE USES BIG SECOND HALF TO DEFEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 29, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS UC IRVINE SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 P.M.
November 26, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL COMES THROUGH WITH CLUTCH WIN AT UC DAVIS, 73-67
November 25, 2013 MEN'S HOOPS AND UC DAVIS TO PLAY FOR THE 112TH TIME ON TUESDAY
November 18, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS TO #22 UCLA
November 15, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL TRAVELS TO #24 UCLA ON MONDAY
November 13, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS MIRA COSTA HIGH SCHOOL FORWARD JUSTIN STRINGS
November 13, 2013 BAKERSFIELD HOT FROM DISTANCE IN 74-66 WIN OVER MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 12, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL BEGINS ROAD TRIP WEDNESDAY AT CSU BAKERSFIELD
November 8, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL BEATS UC SANTA CRUZ, 73-43, IN SEASON OPENER
November 6, 2013 MEN'S BASKETBALL GETS UNDERWAY FRIDAY NIGHT VS. UC SANTA CRUZ
November 5, 2013 2013-14 MEN’S BASKETBALL MEDIA GUIDE NOW AVAILABLE
October 28, 2013 2013-14 MEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON OUTLOOK
October 17, 2013 BIG SKY MEN’S BASKETBALL COACHES AND MEDIA PRESEASON POLLS RELEASED
September 24, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON COMING FAST, FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE ON FRIDAY
July 23, 2013 MEN’S BASKETBALL RELEASES ITS 2013-14 SCHEDULE