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READY FOR HOOPS? MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYS TWO HOME EXHIBITIONS THIS WEEK

READY FOR HOOPS? MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYS TWO HOME EXHIBITIONS THIS WEEK

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After a month of official team practices, the Sacramento State men's basketball team will finally hit the hardwood for the first of two home exhibition games Tuesday night against Holy Names at 7:05 p.m.

The men will play its second home exhibition game this Friday against Menlo at 7:05 p.m. in preparation for the team's season opener at 13th-ranked Gonzaga on Friday, Nov. 14.

Like all home games this year, admission for both exhibition games is $12 for reserved seating (Sections 3, 4, and 7), $10 for adult general admission (Sections 1 and 5), $5 for youth general admission (ages 3-17, all sections), and $5 for senior general admission (ages 65-over, Sections 1 and 5). Just like every sporting event on campus, Sacramento State students will be admitted free with a valid One Card.

Sacramento State returns all five starters from last year's team that went 14-16 overall, 10-10 in the Big Sky and qualified for the conference tournament for the first time since 2006. The list of starters include senior guards Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity. McKinney was a unanimous first team all-Big Sky and second team all-district selection last year while Garrity received honorable mention all-league accolades for the third straight year. Other returning starters include junior swingman Cody Demps, senior forward Zach Mills and senior center Alex Tiffin. All five of those players started at least 24 games a year ago.

Overall, the team returns nine players from a squad that set Div. I-era (1991-pres.) school records for Big Sky victories (10), home wins (11) and home winning streak (seven games). In addition, the squad's 14 overall wins tied for the second best mark in the Div. I era. The Hornets, who are guided by seventh-year head coach Brian Katz, won eight of their final 12 regular season games before falling to North Dakota, 79-76, in the Big Sky Tournament quarterfinal round.

Besides the five starters, other returners include junior guard Dreon Barlett, sophomore center Eric Stuteville, sophomore forward Nick Hornsby and sophomore guard Trevis Jackson.

The list of newcomers include five freshmen - guards Marcus Graves and Jiday Ugbaja, forwards Justin Strings and Mason Stuteville, and center James Herrick. Graves, Ugbaja, Strings and Stuteville each averaged at least 16.5 points per game during their senior prep seasons while Herrick averaged 11.1 points and 11.3 rebounds during his senior year.

Amazingly, since Katz took over the coaching duties at Sacramento State prior to the 2008-09 season, Sacramento State has improved its conference record every year. In addition, last season's team went 11-3 at home, the most home victories since the 1988-89 squad posted the same amount.

Like every game this season, fans can listen to the game via www.hornetsports.com by clicking here. Brian Berger will call all the action for Tuesday's game while 18th-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy will call every game the rest of the season beginning on Friday. Also beginning on Friday, fans can listen to games over the airwaves as every game the rest of the season will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer.

Free video streams of all home games and contests played at a Big Sky venue, via www.WatchBigSky.com, will not be made available until the regular season begins. Multimedia links for every game on the schedule can be found on the men's basketball schedule on the website.

NOTES -- Holy Names is in Oakland, Calif., and is a candidacy member of NCAA Div. II as it transitions from NAIA status…the Hawks are members of the Pacific West Conference…Tuesday will mark the first time Sacramento State and Holy Names have faced each other…Friday's opponent, Menlo College is an NAIA school from Atherton, Calif., that competes in the California Pacific Conference…the Hornets have played the Oaks four times in school history during the regular season with Sacramento State winning each of those games by at least 14 points…Friday will also mark the fourth time in six years the Hornets will face Menlo in an exhibition game.