SACRAMENTO -- Sophomore Joshua Patton had career highs in points (17) and rebounds (7), and senior Justin Strings added 16 points, five rebounds and five assists to help lead Sacramento State to a 74-53 win over Notre Dame de Namur on Tuesday evening at the Nest.
The victory allowed Sacramento State to win its home opener for the seventh consecutive season. The Hornets improved to 1-1 this year, including a 72-61 loss at Colorado State in the season opener last Friday. Tonight marked the only time during the entire month of November that Sacramento State will play a game inside the Nest.
Notre Dame de Namur, which is a Div. II institution from Belmont, Calif., and a member of the PacWest Conference, dropped to 0-3 with the loss. The Hornets and Argonauts were playing each other during the regular season for just the second time, and first since a 69-59 Hornet victory in 1995.
Sacramento State will now begin a stretch that will see the team play six straight games away from the Nest, beginning on Friday at San Francisco at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets will play UC Davis in the Golden 1 Center on Nov. 21, followed by three games over four days at the Wooden Legacy in Fullerton from Nov. 23-26. Beginning with the Hornets' tournament opener against San Diego State on Thanksgiving Night at 10 p.m., all three of the Wooden Legacy will be aired live on an ESPN platform channel.
Trailing, 14-10, with 15:29 left in the first half, Sacramento State responded with a 13-0 run over the next seven minutes to take a 23-14 lead. During the spurt, four different Hornets scored, including Strings (5), Patton (3), Bryce Fowler (3) and Chibueze Jacobs (2). Sacramento State would eventually push its lead to 12 points at halftime (42-30), and led by double figures the final 20:40 of the contest. The Hornets held a game-high 25-point lead with 7:45 to play before settling for the 21-point win.
Sacramento State shot .609 (28-46) from the field, .500 (5-10) from the 3-point line and .722 (13-18) from the free throw line while holding a massive 38-16 advantage in points in the paint. Many of those interior points came from Patton and Strings as the two forwards had their way around the basket. Sacramento State also used a 33-21 edge in the rebounding department to secure a 9-3 advantage in second chance points. The Hornets shot 62% from the field in the first half, and 59% in the second half. Sacramento State, which had 18 assists on 28 made buckets, used all 12 healthy players on the roster during the game.
Notre Dame de Namur, which was limited to just 23 second-half points, finished the game shooting .413 (19-46) from the field, .400 (6-15) from the 3-point line and just .474 (9-19) from the free throw line.
Patton's 17 points came on 5-of-7 shooting from the field with career bests in both free throws made (7) and attempted (10). He also added seven rebounds (three on the offensive glass), a block and a steal in 26 minutes. Strings is now averaging 17.5 points per game after posting a stat sheet stuffing line of 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals in 27 minutes. He shot 7-for-10 from the field and 1-for-1 from beyond the arc.
Joining Strings and Patton in double figures was junior Kevin Hicks, who had 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals in a team-best 30 minutes. Fellow back court junior Jordan Tolbert finished with eight points, seven assists, two steals and just one turnover in 25 minutes. Sacramento State got 20 points from the bench, including Jacobs who had seven points and three rebounds. Fowler, who is a true freshman, buried his first collegiate 3-ball, and finished with five points and two rebounds. Guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa finished with four points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Notre Dame de Namur did not have a player score in double figures, but the team did have three players with nine points. That included Omar Lo, Stephen Baity and Mitchell Fulfer.
The Hornets' game against the Dons on Friday (7 p.m.) will mark the first time the two teams have faced one another in San Francisco since 2007. Next Tuesday's game against UC Davis at the Golden 1 Center will start at 7 p.m. For tickets to the game, please click here.
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