SACRAMENTO -- After five weeks of official team practices, the Sacramento State men's basketball squad will play its lone exhibition game this Friday against UC Santa Cruz inside the Nest. The game will tip at 7:35 p.m., and will be part of a doubleheader that will see the Hornet women's team host Holy Names at 5:05 p.m.
The men open the regular season schedule on Friday, Nov. 10, at Colorado State. Sacramento State will play inside the Nest just twice during the entire month of November, which includes the home opener against Notre Dame de Namur on Nov. 14. The Hornets will also play UC Davis at the Golden 1 Center on Nov. 21.
Tickets for Friday's doubleheader are just $5, and that ticket will get fans into both games. Just like every athletics event on campus, Sacramento State students will be admitted free with a valid One Card.
Sacramento State is coming off a 2016-17 season in which the team went 13-18 overall and 9-9 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets began the season with a 3-8 non-conference record, and then fell to 3-11 overall and 0-3 in the Big Sky. However, an 88-83 win at Southern Utah on Jan. 12 began a streak in which the Hornets won 10 of their final 17 games.
The Hornets welcome back eight players from a year ago, including three starters. Among those starters are senior forward Justin Strings (15.9 ppg), senior guard Marcus Graves (13.9 ppg) and sophomore guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (4.6 ppg). However, Graves will miss the season because of injury meaning there will now be three new starters in the team's lineup.
Also returning are seniors Jiday Ugbaja and James Herrick, junior Jeff Wu, and sophomores Chibueze Jacobs and Joshua Patton. Sacramento State fans may get a chance to see some or all of the Hornet newcomers in the exhibition, a list that includes juniors Kevin Hicks, Calvin Martin, Cristian Perez and Jordan Tolbert, as well as freshmen Bryce Fowler and Jamion Wright.
Friday's game will not be on the radio nor will it be video streamed. Once the regular season begins, 21st-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy will call all the action for every game on KTKZ 1380 AM The Answer. All games will be streamed via www.hornetsports.com as well.
Free video streams of all home games and contests played at a Big Sky venue, via www.WatchBigSky.com and Pluto TV, will be available once the regular season begins. Multimedia links for every game can be found on the men's basketball schedule on the website.
• The Hornets and UC Santa Cruz have played three times previously, the last was a 2013-14 season-opening win that saw Sacramento State defeat the Banana Slugs, 73-43. The Hornets have won all three meetings between the two teams by at least 25 points.
• UC Santa Cruz is a Div. III school with an enrollment of 17,335. The Slugs posted a 12-13 record a season ago, including a 5-4 mark away from home.
• Friday will mark the first game for UC Santa Cruz as the Slugs will play two exhibition games, including Nov. 10 at Fresno State.
• Men's basketball is entering its 70th year at Sacramento State (1948-pres.), and made the transition to the Div. I level prior to the 1991-92 season.
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