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Sacramento State Game Notes (pdf)
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• The Hornets (4-1) will look to rebound from their first loss of the season when they host Pacific on Sunday at 5:35 p.m. on the second day of the Sacramento State Invitational.
• Sacramento State lost a chance to start a season 5-0 for the first time in program history when the Hornets lost on Saturday to South Dakota, 96-90.
• The tournament, which features two more games on Sunday inside the Nest, also saw Eastern Washington beat Pacific, 70-63, on Saturday.
• This marks the first men's basketball tournament that Sacramento State has hosted in 20 years. The last came during the 1995-96 season when Sacramento State played George Washington and Old Dominion at Arco Arena.
• Eastern Washington will host the tournament next season.
• This year's Hornet team and the 1999-00 squad were the only two teams in program history to start a season with four straight wins.
• Sunday marks the final contest of a season-long four-game homestand for the Hornets.
• The Hornets had won 23 of their last 26 games at home prior to Saturday's loss.
• In a series which dates back to 1948, the Hornets are 7-31 all-time against Pacific, including a 4-10 mark when playing in Sacramento. The Hornets have not played Pacific since a 79-49 loss in Stockton on Dec, 12. 2009. The last game in Sacramento (70-51 Pacific win) took place on Dec. 30, 2008.
• The Hornets have lost 14 of the last 15 in the series with the lone win coming on Haron Hargrave's overtime buzzer beater to win, 74-72, at home on Dec. 6, 2006.
• The home wins came during the 2006-07, 1964-65, 1957-58 and 1952-53 seasons.
• Sacramento State was 4-5 vs. Pacific through the 1952-53 season, but the Hornets are just 3-26 against the Tigers dating back to 1954.
• The Tigers are 1-4 this season , but three of those four losses have come by seven points or less, including an 85-82 double overtime loss at home to Nevada.
• The Hornets are coming off a season in which the team went 21-12 overall and 13-5 in the Big Sky while securing its first overall record above .500 in the Div. I era (1991-pres.), first postseason appearance in the Div. I era, and first postseason win in 53 years.


• Free HD video streams will be provided for every home game this season, and every game of this weekend's tournament, via www.WatchBigSky.com. In addition, all road games played in a Big Sky venue will be streamed free on www.WatchBigSky.com.
Click here to see this weekend's tournament home page, which includes the schedule, links to multimedia options, ticket prices and more.
• Every game this year will be broadcast live on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer with 19th-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy calling all the action.
• Fans outside the Sacramento area can listen to every game via www.hornetsports.com.


• Eight different South Dakota players connected on at least one 3-pointer, and the Coyotes knocked down 12-of-19 attempts (.632) from distance on the way to a 96-90 victory over the Hornets on Saturday afternoon.
• The Coyotes, a member of the Summit League, shot .538 (35-65) from the field, .632 (12-19) from the 3-point line and .636 (14-22) from the free throw line.
• In a game that featured seven ties and 13 lead changes, neither team led by more than eight points the entire way.
• Sacramento State took its last lead of the day at 81-80 with 4:39 remaining, but South Dakota responded by scoring on its next three possessions. That amounted to an 8-0 run, which included a 3-pointer and a conventional 3-point play to give the Coyotes their largest lead of the afternoon (88-81) with 3:06 left.
• One of those 3-pointers came from Dan Jech, who scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, including 4-for-4 from distance.
• Sacramento State cut the South Dakota lead to two points twice (1:08, 0:40), but the Coyotes responded with buckets each time to keep it a two-possession game.
• The Hornets shot well from the field (.529, 36-for-68) and scored at least 84 points for the third straight game, but had trouble with their perimeter defense.
• South Dakota owned a small advantage in the rebounding department (36-33), but secured 15 offensive boards resulting in a 22-13 advantage in second-chance points.
• Five Hornets scored in double figures, comprised of Cody Demps (19), Justin Strings (17), Dreon Barlett (14), Nick Hornsby (12) and Eric Stuteville (12).


• Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, Sacramento State is 36-10 (.783 winning percentage) at the Nest. That includes wins in 23 of their last 27 home games.
• Sacramento State went 13-2 at home last season, including a nine-game home winning streak. They were the lone team in the Big Sky to go undefeated at home in league play (9-0).
• Dating back to last year, seven of the last nine home games (excluding exhibition) have sold out, with the lone exceptions coming against Holy Names and South Dakota.


• Of Sacramento State's four wins this season, three have come despite the Hornets trailing by eight points or more in the second half.
• That includes a 10-point deficit at Arizona State (11:37 to play), nine points at Seattle (15:16 to play), and eight points vs. UC Davis (16:41 to play).


• During the last five minutes of games this season, Sacramento State is shooting .618 (21-34) from the field, .429 (6-14) from the 3-point line and has buried 25 free throws.
• The Hornets are averaging 14.6 points per game during the last five minutes.
• In addition, the Hornets are holding opponents to .426 shooting from the field (2-of-13 from the 3-point line) and have five steals and six blocked shots during the last five minutes.


• Sacramento State has gotten nice production from the bench this season, as reserves are averaging 26.8 points per game.
• Sacramento State head coach Brian Katz has primarily been using a rotation of 10 players, the most depth for the program in recent memory.
• Leading the way has been sixth-man Justin Strings who is third on the team averaging 12.6 points on .667 shooting (26-39) from the field. Freshman Jeff Wu is averaging 5.8 ppg.
• Since scoring just five points in the season opener at Arizona State, the Hornets have gotten at least 18 points from the bench in four straight games. That includes at least 28 points from the bench in three of the last four games.


• Sacramento State finished the 2014-15 season with a 21-12 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Big Sky Conference. Prior to last season, the Hornets had never finished with an overall record above .500 since joining the Div. I ranks in 1991-92.
• The 21 victories were tied for the second most in program history (1948-pres.), and the 13 conference wins were the most in school history (regardless of conference). All of this from a program that had just three winning seasons the previous 38 years.
• The Hornets advanced to the postseason for the first time in the Div. I era, and won at Portland in the first round of the CIT, the program's first postseason win in 53 years.


• Sacramento State has improved its conference record every year since head coach Brian Katz took over the program in 2008-09, including last year's 13-5 mark.
• Last year, Coach Katz was named as CollegeInsider.com's National Mid-Major Coach of the Year, District 6 Coach of the Year and Big Sky Conference co-Coach of the Year.
• A graduate of Sacramento State, Coach Katz recently signed a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the program through at least the 2019-20 season.


• Sacramento State has scored at least 84 points in three straight games, and is averaging 90.0 points per contest over that stretch.
• It marks the first time in the Div. I era (1991-pres.) the Hornets have scored 84 points or better in three straight games, and first time since the 1990-91 season.
• During the three-game stretch, the Hornets are shooting .519 (97-187) from the field, .435 (27-62) from the 3-point line and .754 (49-65) from the free throw line.
• Five Hornets are averaging double figures during the three-game spurt, comprised of Cody Demps (18.7 ppg), Justin Strings (15.0), Eric Stuteville (11.7), Marcus Graves (10.7) and Eric Barlett (10.3).


• Sophomore Marcus Graves, who received Big Sky Player of the Week and National Mid-Major Player of the Week honors during the first week, is averaging 15.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.8 steals, has a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
• While the Hornet coaching staff and teammates have not been surprised by that output, many observers have been....Graves averaged just 1.2 points, 0.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 5.3 minutes in 13 games last year as a true freshman.
• Graves had scored at least 13 points in each of the first four games of the season until that streak was stopped when he scored five points on Saturday vs. South Dakota.
• The reason for last year's lack of playing time is he played behind a four-year starter (Dylan Garrity) and three-year starter (Mikh McKinney) at the guard spot.


• Though the Hornets lost two of the best players in program history in guards Mikh McKinney and Dylan Garrity, the Hornets still return 10 players from last season, including three starters in guard Cody Demps, center Eric Stuteville and forward Nick Hornsby.
• All 10 returners have at least one year of playing experience in a Sacramento State uniform, including a pair of fourth-year seniors (Demps, guard Dreon Barlett) and three third-year juniors (Hornsby, Stuteville, guard Trevis Jackson).
• The Hornets were selected to finish in a tie for fourth out of 12 teams in the Big Sky preseason media poll, but were selected just 10th in the coaches poll.


• Through three games, the Hornets were shooting just .571 from the free throw line, but the team seems to have turned a corner from the charity stripe over the last two games.
• Over the last two games, Sacramento State is shooting .814 (35-43) from the free throw line, including an .824 (28-34) mark vs. rival UC Davis. That included shooting 9-of-12 from the line over the final 1:47 to put the game away.
• The Hornets were 36th in the nation in free throw percentage (.736) last season, making the early struggles at the line surprising.


• Like Marcus Graves, sophomore forward Justin Strings did not play much last year, but has taken full advantage of his increased playing time this season.
• As the team's sixth man this year, he is shooting a blistering .667 (26-of-39) from the field, and, at one point, had connected on 13 straight field goal attempts spanning two and a half games. That streak came to an end on Saturday vs. South Dakota.
• He has scored at least 13 points in four straight games and is third on the team with 12.6 ppg after never scoring more than six points in any game as a true freshman.
• In addition, he has grabbed at least four rebounds in every game, and is shooting .500 (8-16) from the 3-point line and 1.000 (3-3) from the free throw line.
• Strings (6-foot-7, 235 pounds) grew an inch and added 25 pounds in the last year.


• Fourth-year senior Cody Demps, who has started 68 straight games dating back to his sophomore season, was anointed a team co-captain this year.
• The best defender on the team, Demps, who can play four positions, has been running the point for the first time of his career. He is currently averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 32.2 minutes per game.
• The quiet leader was the team's third leading scorer last year at 9.8 ppg.
• Demps ranks among the Big Sky's top 15 players in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, blocked shots (0.8), assist-to-turnover ratio (+2.7) and offensive rebounds (2.2)


• Junior Nick Hornsby has at least eight points and seven rebounds in all but one game.
• Eric Stuteville is averaging 11.7 ppg and 7.0 rpg on .667 FG% over the last three games.
• Freshman Jeff Wu is the first men's hoops player from Taiwan to receive a Div. I scholarship.
• Fourth-year senior Dreon Barlett, who has played in 74 straight games, is 7-for-10 from the 3-point line over the last two games. For his career, he is shooting .452 (52-115) from distance, the second best mark in program history (among players with 50 makes).