SACRAMENTO -- Despite a career-high 23 points from sophomore guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa, Sacramento State could not overcome 11 3-pointers from Portland in an 80-75 loss to the Pilots on Thursday evening at the Golden 1 Center.
The game marked the second of the season for the Hornets at the downtown facility which is the home of the Sacramento Kings. Tonight's game was the first of a doubleheader that saw Kansas taking on Stanford in the nightcap.
Despite Sacramento State putting up its best numbers of the season against a Div. I opponent in points (75), field goals made (29) and three-pointers made (8), the Hornets fell to 3-9 overall this season. The team is still looking for its first win away from the Nest as Sacramento State is now 0-4 on neutral floors, 0-5 on the road and 3-0 at home.
The victory allowed Portland to move its record to 6-7 overall. The Pilots, who are coached by former NBA veteran Terry Porter, were able to win their second straight, and third in the last four games.
In a highly entertaining back-and-forth game that saw both teams shoot for high percentages, it was the Pilots that outlasted the Hornets after going 11-of-26 from the 3-point line and holding a 16-9 advantage in points off turnovers. Portland led for nearly 35 minutes of game clock, but Sacramento State stayed within striking distance the entire way.
After the Hornets took their only lead of the second half at 46-45 with 16:36 to play, Portland used a 27-17 run over the next 12 minutes of game clock to take a 72-63 lead at the 4:41 mark.
Sacramento State would respond with an 8-2 run that was punctuated by a three-point play from Jordan Tolbert and a 3-ball from Mauriohooho-Le'afa to get within, 74-71, with 2:45 to play. However, Portland would score on four of its final five possessions, which included four made free throws, to ice the game. The Hornets had two good looks from beyond the 3-point line during the game's final two minutes, but missed both opportunities.
Sacramento State trailed by a game-high 13 points in the first half, but went on a 12-0 run late in the half to get back in the game.
Sacramento State shot 51% (29-57) from the field and 40% (8-20) from the 3-point line, but just 56% (9-16) from the free throw line. That included going 8-for-14 from the charity stripe in the second half. Portland, which shot 50 percent from the field and had the same number of made buckets as the Hornets (29-58), went 11-of-26 (42%) from deep. The Pilots had just seven turnovers compared to 12 miscues for Sacramento State.
Mauriohooho-Le'afa's 23 points surpassed his previous career best of 20, as the sophomore shot 8-of-11 from the field, 5-for-7 from the 3-point line and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. He also had four rebounds, two assists and a steal in 34 minutes. He has now scored in double figures in four of his last five games.
Senior Justin Strings had 19 points and a season-best 13 rebounds to go along four assists in a game-high 36 minutes. Strings, who is the Hornets' leading scorer at 16.3 ppg, was limited to 7-for-19 shooting from the field. He scored in double figures for the 32nd consecutive game dating back to last year.
Tolbert rounded out the Sacramento State players in double figures as he finished with 16 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-for-3 from the 3-point line. Tolbert is now shooting a very proficient 51% (20-39) from beyond the arc this season. Freshman swingman Bryce Fowler had eight points and four assists, forward Joshua Patton added five points and eight rebounds, and guard Jeff Wu had four points and three rebounds. Sacramento State used just eight players in tonight's game, including Jiday Ugbaja who played in seven minutes in his second game back from injury.
Portland had five players in double figures, including D'Marques Tyson (17 points, 5-of-8 from distance), Josh McSwiggan (18 points, 7 rebounds, 4-of-8 from distance), Marcus Shaver Jr. (12 points), Philipp Hartwich (11 points, 8 rebounds) and JoJo Walker (10 points). The combination of McSwiggan and Tyson went 9-for-16 from beyond the 3-point line.
Sacramento State is in the middle of a stretch that sees the team play three times over a five-day stretch, including Saturday at home against UC Santa Barbara at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets defeated Cal State Northridge on Tuesday night. Saturday will mark the Hornets' final non-conference game of the season as the team will host Portland State in the Big Sky Conference opener on Saturday, Dec. 30.
February 21, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL BEGINS FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD TRIP THURSDAT AT NAU
February 17, 2018 STRINGS ACHIEVES HUGE MILESTONE; MEN’S HOOPS FALLS TO WEBER STATE
February 16, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS WEBER STATE ON SATURDAY FOR WHITEOUT THE NEST
February 9, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS AT MONTANA ON SATURDAY NIGHT
February 7, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL LOOKS FOR SERIES SWEEP OF MONTANA STATE ON THURSDAY
February 3, 2018 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS AT HOME TO IDAHO
February 2, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL HOSTS IDAHO ON SATURDAY NIGHT AT 7 PM
January 26, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS CONCLUDES ROAD TRIP SATURDAY AFTERNOON AT PORTLAND STATE
January 20, 2018 MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS SECOND GAME OF ROAD TRIP TO IDAHO STATE
January 19, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS AT IDAHO STATE ON SATURDAY NIGHT
January 18, 2018 LATE RUN DOOMS MEN’S BASKETBALL IN LOSS TO WEBER STATE
January 17, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS ROAD TRIP ON THURSDAY AT WEBER STATE
January 12, 2018 MEN'S BASKETBALL TO HOST MONTANA STATE ON SATURDAY FOR KIDS DAY
January 11, 2018 MONTANA USES BIG SECOND HALF TO BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL, 78-66
January 10, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS BACK IN THE NEST ON THURSDAY VS. MONTANA AT 7 P.M.
January 3, 2018 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS FIRST BIG SKY ROAD GAME THURSDAY AT IDAHO
January 2, 2018 STRINGS RECEIVES BIG SKY PLAYER OF THE WEEK ACCOLADES
January 1, 2018 STRINGS NAMED THE NATIONAL MID-MAJOR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
December 29, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS BIG SKY PLAY AT HOME SATURDAY VS. PORTLAND STATE
December 23, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS AT HOME TO UC SANTA BARBARA, 82-72
December 22, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS HOSTS UC SANTA BARBARA ON SATURDAY IN FINAL NON-LEAGUE GAME
December 21, 2017 MEN’S HOOPS FALLS TO PORTLAND, 80-75, IN GOLDEN 1 CENTER MATCHUP
December 20, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS PLAYS PORTLAND AT THE GOLDEN 1 CENTER ON THURSDAY AT 5:30 PM
December 18, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS BACK AT HOME TUESDAY VS. CSUN
December 9, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS AT BOISE STATE
December 3, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL TO PLAY SAINT MARY'S ON THE ROAD MONDAY NIGHT
November 24, 2017 BACK AND FORTH GAME GOES FULLERTON’S WAY IN 68-63 WIN OVER MEN’S HOOPS
November 23, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL DROPS FIRST ROUND WOODEN LEGACY GAME TO SAN DIEGO STATE
November 21, 2017 UC DAVIS USES LATE RUN TO EVENTUALLY BEAT MEN’S BASKETBALL
November 20, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL PLAYS UC DAVIS ON TUESDAY AT THE GOLDEN 1 CENTER
November 17, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL FALLS ON THE ROAD AT SAN FRANCISCO
November 16, 2017 MEN'S BASKETBALL BACK ON THE ROAD FRIDAY NIGHT AT SAN FRANCISCO
November 8, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS DAMIEN HIGH SCHOOL GUARD ELIJAH McCULLOUGH
November 7, 2017 MEN'S HOOPS OPENS REGULAR SEASON FRIDAY AT COLORADO STATE
October 23, 2017 GRAVES OUT FOR THE SEASON WITH INJURY
October 17, 2017 MEN’S BASKETBALL RELEASES ITS 2017-18 SCHEDULE
September 18, 2017 BOISE’S CENTURYLINK ARENA TO HOST BIG SKY BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT FROM 2019-22
August 24, 2017 HORNSBY SIGNS CONTRACT TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY IN GERMANY