VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS AND INTERVIEWS
SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento State got a huge night from Justin Strings (31 points) while shooting 59 percent from the field (36-61), owning the glass (35-25) and scoring 50 points in the paint on the way to an 87-68 victory over Montana State on Saturday evening at the Nest.
In the Hornets' most complete effort of the season, Sacramento State did nearly everything well, scoring more than 40 points in both halves while posting season highs in field goals made (36) and assists (23). The Hornets had just 10 turnovers while recording seven blocked shots and eight steals. Sacramento State also had sizeable advantages in points in the paint (50-34), points off turnovers (15-8), second chance points (19-7) and fast break points (6-0).
After Montana State began the game on a 9-2 run, the Hornets outscored the Bobcats by an 85-59 margin over the final 37:13 of game clock. The Hornets led by just one point at the break (41-40), but opened the second half on a 17-9 run and never looked back. The Hornets held a lead the final 21:27 of the game, and had a double-figure point advantage the final 9:15. In fact, Sacramento State led by as many as 23 points before setting for the 19-point win.
The Hornets broke things open late in the second half, using a 19-4 run spanning eight minutes that stretched an eight-point lead all the way to 85-62 with 1:40 to play. Five different Hornets scored during the run, and an Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa 3-ball capped the spurt and drew a standing ovation from the fans in attendance.
With the win, Sacramento State snapped a three-game losing streak while improving to 5-13 overall and 2-3 in the Big Sky Conference. All five Hornet wins this season have come at home and the team is now 5-2 inside the Nest, and 57-20 at home dating back to the 2012-13 season.
Montana State, which is currently in second place in the league standings, dropped to 11-8 overall and 4-2 in the Big Sky. The Hornets are now 13-11 all-time when playing Montana State at home.
The Hornets' schedule thus far in Big Sky play has not been easy. As of right now, Sacramento State has played the first place team in the conference (Montana), the second place team (Montana State), two teams tied for third (Eastern Washington and Idaho), and a Portland State team that was coming off a 25-point road win at Cal.
Strings' 31 points fell just three points of his career high, set two weeks ago in the win over Portland State. The senior forward scored in double figures for the 38th consecutive time while shooting 14-of-24 from the field and adding three rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 40 minutes. He is now averaging 23.2 points in conference play, the third best mark in the league. In addition, Strings moved past former Hornet John Dickson for seventh in program history in scoring with 1,328 career points. That figure is also the fourth best mark in the program's Div. I era (1991-pres.).
Strings wasn't the only Hornet with a monster game as sophomore forward Joshua Patton matched his career high with 18 points while setting a career best with five blocked shots. The Big Sky's leader in blocks in now averaging 2.1 stuffs per game. Sophomore guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa posted his first career double-double with 14 points, 10 assists, two steals and just one turnover in a career-high tying 38 minutes.
Junior forward Calvin Martin, a transfer from Citrus College, played 15 active minutes, posting season bests in points (13) and rebounds (7). Four of those rebounds came on the offensive glass, and he had a major hand in the Hornets scoring a season-best 19 second chance points. Even Hornets that didn't have big scoring nights contributed significantly, including freshman Bryce Fowler who had eight rebounds and a season-best six assists, junior Jeff Wu had five assists, two steals and played solid defense, and James Herrick posted season highs in points (4) and rebounds (3) in seven minutes.
Sacramento State finished the game shooting 59% (36-51) from the field, 39% (5-13) from the 3-point line and 77% (10-13) from the free throw line. Montana State converted on 12 fewer buckets than the Hornets, finishing 44% (24-55) from the field, 27% (4-15) from the 3-point line and 84% (16-19) from the free throw line. The Bobcats are also one of the Big Sky's best rebounding teams until being punished on the glass this evening. In fact, MSU had just 10 rebounds during the entire second half.
The Bobcats were led by Tyler Hall's 20 points while Harald Frey had 10 points and Benson Osayande also added 10 points.
Sacramento State will now play its next three games on the road, its longest Big Sky road trip of the season. The trip begins next week with games at Weber State on Thursday and Idaho State on Saturday. The Hornets conclude the trip at Portland State on Saturday, Jan. 27. Sacramento State does not play at home again during the month of January.
NOTES -- Tonight was Kids Day inside the Nest, and kids 12-under were admitted free, and Hornet players signed autographs after the game…senior guard Jiday Ugbaja missed his second straight game with injury, and has now missed 12 games this season because of injury…Sacramento State has now used the same starting lineup in 13 straight games…five Hornet men's basketball Hall of Famers (DaShawn Freeman, Loren Leath, Jameel Pugh, Greg Reed and Mitch Third) were in attendance, and honored during a game break.
April 11, 2018 MEN’S BASKETBALL SIGNS CLARK HIGH SCHOOL’S JAMES BRIDGES
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