Big Sky Tournament Central
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SACRAMENTO -- Senior forward Justin Strings scored 30 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field and 6-for-7 from the 3-point line to lead Sacramento State to an 88-77 win over Northern Colorado in the regular season finale for both teams Saturday night at the Nest.
Strings converted on each of his first six 3-point attempts, and had 20 points in the first half followed by 10 more in the second half. He also added four rebounds, three assists, a block and a steal in 39 minutes. The Hornets led for nearly 38 minutes of game clock, held a lead as large as 18 points, and will use tonight's win as momentum heading into next week's Big Sky Conference Tournament in Reno.
The Hornets (7-24, 4-14) will be the No. 11 seed at the Big Sky's postseason event and take on No. 6 seed Portland State (19-12, 9-9) in the first round on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. at the Reno Events Center. The winner of that game will play in the quarterfinals against No. 3 Eastern Washington on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. The top four seeds (No. 1 Montana, No. 2 Idaho, No. 3 Eastern Washington and No. 4 Weber State) all receive a first round bye. For the tournament brackets, please click here.
Sacramento State has won its Big Sky Tournament first round game each of the last three years, and swept the season series against Portland State this season. That included an 80-75 win over the Vikings at home, and a 71-61 victory in Portland.
Tonight's win allowed the injury-plagued Hornets to snap a nine-game losing streak while beating a Northern Colorado squad (20-11, 11-7) that had won four straight, and six of seven. Sacramento State played without four injured guards in tonight's game (Marcus Graves, Jiday Ugbaja, Jeff Wu, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa).
Tonight was also Senior Night for Hornet seniors Strings and James Herrick as both players were honored prior to the game for their contributions to the program. Herrick wore #0 in tonight's game (Graves' number) to honor Graves who was lost for the season with a back injury prior to the start of the year. Herrick would put up season highs in points (4), rebounds (3), steals (1) and minutes (15).
The Hornets held a 48-39 advantage at halftime and quickly pushed that lead to 18 points after opening the second half on a 14-5 run. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Strings and Jordan Tolbert on the first two possessions of the half sparked the run.
Northern Colorado would chip away at the lead, eventually finishing off a 17-5 run that chopped a 17-point deficit all the way down to five points (74-69) with 5:56 to play. However, Sacramento State immediately responded with a 7-0 run to put the game away. Back-to-back jumpers from Strings and Tolbert, followed by a 3-ball from Bryce Fowler had the Hornets up, 81-69, with 3:47 to play. The Bears would get no closer than within 10 points of the Hornet lead the rest of the way. Sacramento State's 88 points were its second highest output of the season, and largest against a Div. I opponent.
The Hornets finished the game shooting 48% from both the field (31-65) and 3-point line (10-21) while also shooting a very proficient 84% (16-19) from the free throw line. Both teams had the same amount of rebounds (35), and the Hornets tuned the ball over just eight times. Northern Colorado was limited to 44% (26-59) from the field and 5-for-24 (21%) from the 3-point line. Most of the Bears' offensive damage came at the free throw line where they were 20-for-23. After making four of their first five 3-point attempts of the game, Northern Colorado went 1-for-19 from distance the rest of the way.
Joining Strings in double figures for the Hornets was Jordan Tolbert, who filled up the stat sheet with 20 points, five rebounds, eight assists, zero turnovers and two steals in 35 minutes. The assists and minutes were season highs for Tolbert, who shot 7-for-18 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line. Forward Calvin Martin had 11 points and five rebounds, going 3-for-5 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Joshua Patton added eight points, four rebounds and three blocked shots while Kevin Hicks, Chibueze Jacobs and Fowler all had five points. True freshman Jamion Wright, who played stingy defense all evening, received a season-high 18 minutes.
The Big Sky's leading scorer, Northern Colorado's Andre Spight, had 31 points on 10-of-22 shooting and 3-for-9 from distance before fouling out late in the game. Jordan Davis added 17 points.
The Hornets will now turn their attention to the Big Sky Tournament, a four-day event that includes all 12 teams in the conference. First round games take place on Tuesday, followed by the quarterfinals on Thursday, semifinals on Friday and championship game on Saturday at 5:05 p.m.
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