SAN FRANCISCO -- Sacramento State opened the game cold from the field and could never quite recover in a 69-56 loss at San Francisco in a non-conference men's basketball matchup Friday evening at the Sobrato Center.
The Hornets missed their first five field goal attempts, and over the first eight minutes of the game, went 2-for-9 from the field with five turnovers. By the time Sacramento State committed its fifth turnover during the game-opening rut, San Francisco had taken a 14-5 lead at the 12 minute mark of the first half.
The Dons, who never trailed the entire way, would lead by at least nine points the final 32:21 of the game, opening up an advantage as large as 20 points midway through the second half. Sacramento State cut the deficit to nine points three times during the later stages of the second half (56-47 with 6:56 left; 58-49 with 6:09 remaining; 61-52 with 4:58 left), but could not get any closer. Each time the Hornets cut the second-half deficit to nine points, the Dons immediately responded with a bucket on their next possession.
San Francisco, which has played all three of its games at home, improved to 2-1 on the young season while the Hornets dropped to 1-2. Sacramento State is currently in the midst of a stretch that will see the team play seven of its first eight games away from the Nest, which included a 72-61 loss at Colorado State in the season opener.
One of the Hornets' games away from the Nest will come on Tuesday when they face Causeway rival UC Davis at 7 p.m. at the Golden 1 Center. For tickets to Tuesday's game, please click here.
Sacramento State was playing San Francisco for the 14th time, and the Hornets are now 3-11 in a series which dates back to the 1951-52 season. That includes a 1-6 record when playing the Dons in San Francisco.
Sacramento State, which shot just 36 percent from the field in the first half, finished the game shooting 42 percent (19-45) from the field, 27 percent from the 3-point line (3-11) and 71 percent (15-21) from the free throw line. The Hornets missed five layups during the game, and were outscored in points in the paint (34-26), points off turnovers (12-7) and second chance points (18-7). USF held a 43-34 edge in the rebounding department and committed just five turnovers the entire way. The Hornets held USF to 37 percent (27-73) shooting from the field, but committed 14 turnovers and finished with just five offensive rebounds.
After being outscored in the first half by a 40-24 margin, Sacramento State held a 32-29 edge over USF in the second half.
For Sacramento State, senior Justin Strings scored in double figures in his 23rd consecutive game, finishing with 14 points and seven rebounds in a game-high 34 minutes. Guard Jordan Tolbert, who is averaging 14.0 ppg this year, had 15 points (6-for-9 FG shooting) and five rebounds. Sophomore forward Joshua Patton had seven points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in 25 minutes, but fouled out with 7:46 remaining. Patton had three of the Hornets' five offensive rebounds.
Kevin Hicks had six points and a steal, Jeff Wu added four points and four rebounds, and Chibueze Jacobs finished with five points. The Hornets used the same staring lineup for the third straight game, consisting of Tolbert, Hicks and Wu at guard, and Strings and Patton at forward.
USF had three players score in double figures, including Chase Foster (19 points, five rebounds), Remu Raitanen (12 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Ratinho (10 points).