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MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. MONTANA STATE

MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME THURSDAY NIGHT VS. MONTANA STATE

Sacramento State Game Notes - pdf
Big Sky Confernece standings

GAME PREVIEW

• Winners of four straight, and eight of nine, Sacramento State (13-6, 7-1) returns home to face Montana State (4-15, 1-6) at the Nest on Thursday. Tip is 7:05 p.m.
• The Hornets are coming off a road sweep of Idaho State and Weber State, and now have three different winning streaks of four games this year.
• The team's 13-6 overall record matches the best in the Div. I era (1991-pres.) and the last 27 years. The 1987-88 squad was 15-4 after 19 games. That 1987-88 team happens to be the last Hornet men's hoops squad to make the NCAA Tournament.
• The 7-1 Big Sky record is the best mark in program history, and the Hornets have never been in first place this late in the year since joining the league in 1996-97.
• The Hornets are now ranked 20th in the nation in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major top 25 poll, the highest ranking in school history.
• ESPN Bracketology predicts the Hornets to represent the Big Sky in this year's NCAA Tournament in a play-in game vs. North Florida with the winner taking on Kentucky.
• Senior guard Mikh McKinney was named the Big Sky Player of the Week for the second straight week and school-record third time this season. He now has a program-record five career Big Sky Player of the Week awards.
• Should the Hornets win on Thursday, the potential 14-6 record would be the team's best in the Div. I era, and best in 27 years (the 1988-89 team was also 14-6).
• A win on Thursday would also give Sacramento State a five-game winning streak, which would match the team's longest winning streak in the Div. I era (2005-06 team) and the last 28 years (the 1987-88 squad won six straight).
• Of the Hornets' last eight wins, five have come by seven points or less.
• Trailing Sacramento State (7-1) in the Big Sky standings are Eastern Washington and Montana, who are both 6-1 and sit a half game back.
• Sacramento State is 8-1 at home this season, including 4-0 in Big Sky play. Dating back to last year, the Hornets have won 12 of the last 14 home games vs. league teams.
• Montana State, which beat Southern Utah at home last week, has lost 10 of its last 11 games, and is 0-10 on the road this season.
• The Hornets are 16-27 all-time against the Bobcats, but hold an 11-9 record against MSU when playing in Sacramento.
• The Hornets have won three straight meetings against the Bobcats in Sacramento, including last year's 84-59 victory in the regular season finale. That win propelled the Hornets into the Big Sky Tournament, the team's first postseason appearance since 2006.

TV/RADIO/VIDEO STREAM/LIVE STATS

• Every game the rest of the season, home or away, will be streamed live and free on www.WatchBigSky.com. Every home game will be streamed in HD. Fans will need to create an account before watching for the first time.
• Every game this season will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM with 18th-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy calling all the action.
• Fans outside the Sacramento area can listen to all games via www.hornetsports.com or on the iHeart Radio application for mobile devices.
• Live stats will be provided for every game this season, via www.hornetsports.com for home games, or provided by the opponent's website for games on the road.
• Links for all multimedia options can be found next to each game on the men's basketball schedule at www.hornetsports.com.

A LOOK AT THE HORNETS' LAST GAME

• Mikh McKinney scored 27 of his career-high 33 points in the second half to lead the Hornets to a 78-71 road win at Weber State on Thursday.
• McKinney played all 40 minutes while shooting 10-of-16 from the floor, 5-of-7 from the 3-point line and 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
• He put on a shooting display in the second half, going 8-of-9 from the floor, 5-of-5 from the 3-point line and 6-of-7 from the free throw line. He scored 27 of the Hornets' 41 points in the second half and 19 of the Hornets' final 22 points.
• After a Cody Demps layup put the Hornets up, 64-63, with 5:52 remaining, Sacramento State never trailed the rest of the way as McKinney buried three late 3-pointers.
• The Hornets shot .596 (28-47) from the field and .588 (10-17) from the 3-point line. That included .737 (14-19) from the field in the 2nd half, including 6-of-8 from distance.

A PROFICIENT SHOOTING TEAM FROM EVERYWHERE

• Sacramento State is one of just five teams in the nation to rank among the top 10 squads in both field goal percentage (10th, .494) and 3-point percentage (10th, .409).
• For good measure, the team is also 28th in the nation in free throw percentage (.740).
• The Hornets have shot at least .500 from the field on 11 occasions this year, and are 10-1 in those games. In addition, the Hornets have shot better than .590 four times, including a .596 percentage in Saturday's win at Weber State
• Of the Hornets' top eight scorers, six are shooting better than .480 from the field.
• The program record for single-season field goal percentage is .491 (1985-86), and 3-point field goal percentage is .418 (1987-88).

HOME SWEET HOME

• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 29-8 at the Nest. That includes an 8-1 home mark this season, 11-3 last year, and 10-4 inside the friendly confines in 2012-13.
• The Hornets have won 12 of their last 14 home games against Big Sky teams, including a school-record seven-game home winning streak against Big Sky teams last year.
• This season, the Hornets are winning their home games by an average of 13.3 points.
• Overall, Sacramento State has won 16 of its last 18 home games.
• At home, the Hornets are shooting a blistering .548 (265-484) from the field and .432 (57-132) from the 3-point line. Of the nine home games, Sacramento State has shot at least .500 from the floor on seven occasions.

WINNING THE CLOSE ONES

• The Hornets are 4-0 in games decided by three points or less, 5-1 in games decided by five points or less, and 7-1 in games decided by single digits.
• Of the Hornets' seven conference wins, five have come by seven points or less.
• The Hornets are 7-1 in league despite outscoring the opposition by average of just 4.6 points per contest.

EIGHT-MAN ROTATION

• Head coach Brian Katz has essentially used an eight-man rotation a good portion of the season, featuring guards Mikh McKinney, Dylan Garrity, Cody Demps and Dreon Barlett, forwards Nick Hornsby, Zach Mills and Alex Tiffin, and center Eric Stuteville.
• Each of those eight players are fully ingrained into Katz's rotation and make up the team's top eight scorers. Seven of the eight players on the rotation are averaging at least 5.0 points per game.
• Katz has used the same starting lineup in 17 of 19 games thus far, consisting of Garrity and McKinney at guard, Demps at swingman, Hornsby at forward, and Stuteville at center. That lineup has produced an 13-4 record this year.

WINNING STREAKS

• Sacramento State has won four straight games three times this season.
• A win on Thursday would match the team's longest winning streak (five games) in the Div. I era (1991-pres.) and the last 28 years.
• Here is a look at the longest winning streaks in school history:  
12 - 1969-70;  11 - 1952-53;  8 - Three teams;  7 - 1975-76;  6 - Seven teams. The most recent team to win six straight was the 1987-88 squad.

IMPROVEMENT EVERY YEAR UNDER COACH KATZ

• Sacramento State has improved its conference record every year since head coach Brian Katz took over the program prior the 2008-09 season.
• After going 1-15 during Katz's first season in 2008-09, the Hornets went 3-13 in 2009-10, 4-12 in 2010-11, 5-11 in 2011-12, 8-12 in 2012-13, and 10-10 last year.

HORNETS PICKED HIGH IN PRESEASON RANKINGS

• Of the seven preseason polls released projecting the Big Sky, the Hornets were picked among the top four teams in all seven polls. That includes a first place prediction from Blue Ribbon, a second place prediction by ESPN and third place by The Sporting News.
• The Hornets were tabbed fourth in both the Big Sky coaches and media polls.

TWO 1,000 POINT SCORERS ON THE SAME SQUAD

• Earlier this season, senior guards Dylan Garrity and Mikh McKinney became the 12th and 13th players, respectively, in school history to score 1,000 career points.
• The two are currently within 12 points of each other as Garrity is seventh in school history with 1,206 points and McKinney is ninth with 1,194 points.
• Together, they became just the sixth and seventh players to reach 1,000 points during the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.), joining John Dickson, Loren Leath, Damond Edwards, Alex Bausley and Michael Boyd.

GARRITY THREE ASSISTS SHY OF SETTING SCHOOL RECORD

• With 499 career assists, senior guard Dylan Garrity is now just three assists shy of breaking the Sacramento State all-time record for most assists (501), currently held by DaShawn Freeman (2002-06).
• In addition, Garrity, who is currently ninth in Big Sky history with his 499 assists, is just seventh assists shy of moving all alone into sixth place in league history.
• Garrity, who has become more of a scorer than a distributor during his career, had 193 assists as a freshman, 143 as a sophomore, 107 as a junior, and 56 this season.
• Garrity has become a long range marksman, currently shooting better than 40 percent from distance for the third straight season.
• Among players averaging at least 2.5 made 3-pointers per game, Garrity's current season percentage of .442 ranks as the 19th best percentage in the nation.
• His career 3-point percentage of .427 is the third best mark in school history.
• He has raised his scoring average every year of his career, from 8.1 ppg as a freshman, to 11.6 ppg, 13.2 ppg, and currently 13.7 ppg this year.

McKINNEY PUTTING TOGETHER A HUGE YEAR

• Including his game winner at North Dakota and 27-point second halves in wins over Idaho and Weber State, senior guard Mikh McKinney has been incredible this season.
• He just became the first player in school history to be named to the Lou Henson Mid-Major Player of the Year Watch List. He is one of two players from the Big Sky (Tyler Harvey).
• He is averaging 18.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.7 steals per game while shooting .543 (126-232) from the field, .413 (31-75) from the 3-point line and .767 (56-73) from the free throw line. He is also a robust +87 in plus/minus ratio.
• Amazingly, he ranks among the nation's top 50 players in eight different categories, including sixth in steals per game, 33rd in total field goals made, and 34th in scoring.
• Perhaps the most impressive stat from his line is the field goal percentage (.543), which is the fourth best mark in the nation among guards.
• He ranks among the Big Sky's top three players in five categories, including first in steals, second in scoring and minutes, and third in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio.
• Has scored at least 11 points in 16 straight games, and in 17 of the 18 games he's appeared. McKinney has scored in double figures in 62 career games.
• His average of 2.7 steals per game is the sixth best mark in the nation.
• Has started all 77 games in which he's played in a Sacramento State uniform.

DEMPS PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL IN CONFERENCE PLAY

• After averaging 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on .391 shooting in non-conference play, junior guard Cody Demps has ramped those numbers up to 12.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists on .583 shooting in Big Sky play
• In league play, he ranks among the Big Sky's top 10 players in four categories, including second in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.5), fifth in field goal percentage, seventh in free throw percentage (.833) and ninth in assists per game).
• He has shot at least 50 percent from the field in seven of the eight league games.

HORNET NOTABLES

• Sophomore Nick Hornsby has pulled at least seven rebounds in five of the last seven games, and is T-8th in the Big Sky with a  team-high 6.4 rpg in league play.
• Junior guard Dreon Barlett is shooting .519 (14-27) from distance this season. If he had enough makes to qualify, his career .450 (36-80) 3-point percentage would rank second in school history.
• Centers Eric Stuteville (.600) and Alex Tiffin (.571) have are combining to shoot .590 (46-78) thus far in Big Sky play.