SACRAMENTO -- After five weeks of official team practices, the Sacramento State men's basketball squad will play its lone exhibition game this Friday against Bethesda inside the Nest at 7:05 p.m.
Tickets for Friday's exhibition game are just $5. All Sacramento State faculty and staff will be admitted free. Like every athletics event on campus, Sacramento State students are always admitted free with a valid OneCard.
Friday's game will not be on the radio nor will it be video streamed. Once the regular season begins, 22nd-year play-by-play man Steve McElroy will call all the action for every game on ESPN 1320 AM.
Free video streams of all home games and contests played at a Big Sky Conference venue, via Pluto TV and www.watchbigsky.com, will be available once the regular season begins. Multimedia links for every game, including live stats, can be found on the men's basketball schedule on the website.
Sacramento State opens the regular season schedule on Friday, Nov. 9, against Simpson. That marks the first of four straight regular season games the Hornets will play in Sacramento, including contests inside the Nest against Cal Poly (Nov. 16) and Cal State Fullerton (Nov. 24) sandwiched around the Golden 1 Center game vs. UC Davis on Nov. 20.
Sacramento State is coming off an injury plagued 2017-18 season in which the team finished 7-25 overall and 4-14 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets had won at least 13 games five consecutive seasons until the seven-win output a year ago. In addition, the team had finished at or above .500 in Big Sky play three times the previous four seasons until going 4-14 in league.
Despite the injuries, the Hornets were involved in 12 games decided by six points or less, and finished 2-10 in those outcomes. That included the team's Big Sky Tournament loss to Portland State, 71-67.
The Hornets welcome back nine players and a redshirt from a year ago, including four starters. That includes seven of the top eight scorers from last season. Add in Marcus Graves, who is back (redshirted last season) after averaging 13.9 points in 2016-17, and Sacramento State should have lots of fire power this season. The team will need to compensate for the loss of forward Justin Strings who averaged 17.9 points a year ago and finished second in school history with 1,570 career points.
Among the four starters returning are junior center Joshua Patton (10.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg), junior guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (8.5 ppg, 3.6 apg), sophomore swingman Bryce Fowler (6.3 ppg) and senior guard Jeff Wu (5.6 ppg).
The 16-man roster features five seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen. The Hornets are guard-heavy, as 12 of the 16 players could see time in the back court.
• The Hornets have never played Bethesda during the regular season or exhibition. Bethesda is located in Anaheim and is a member of the National Christian College Athletics Association (NCCAA). The Flames play in the Pacific Christian Athletic Conference.
• Bethesda's schedule is loaded with Div. I opponents as the Flames will play regular season road games at Weber State, Idaho, Idaho State, Loyola Marymount, UC Santa Barbara, UC Riverside and Long Beach State.