PORTLAND, Ore. — Sacramento State shot just 35% (24-68) from the field, 21% (4-19) from the 3-point line and 56% (15-27) from the free throw line on the way to a 76-67 loss at Portland on Saturday eventing at the Chiles Center.
Despite holding advantages in points off turnovers (19-13), second chance points (13-5) and fast break points (18-3), Sacramento State's shooting woes proved to be a huge factor in the outcome. The Hornets missed 12 free throws and got just three points from its bench.
Sacramento State held a lead for the majority of the first half, but a 20-6 Portland run spanning 9:10 of both the first and second halves gave the Pilots a 10-point lead (44-34) with 14:40 remaining in the contest. Sacramento State was never able to get closer than seven points the rest of the way. The Pilots outscored the Hornets in both the first (30-29) and second (46-38) halves.
The loss dropped Sacramento State to 4-2 on the young season, as the Hornets were coming off a 20-point road win at Cal State Northridge last Saturday. Sacramento State has always had a tough time playing in Portland, as the Hornets are now 1-8 when playing the Pilots on the road. The only win in school history over the Pilots in Portland came in the first-round CIT victory during the 2014-15 season.
Still, the Hornets' 4-2 record is the team's best start after six games since the 2015-16 team started 5-1. Sacramento State has just three non-conference games remaining on its schedule, including a pair of home games next week.
With the win, Portland improved to 6-5 overall, and 5-1 at home. The Pilots had won four straight home games until falling to Texas State on Nov. 24. Tonight marked Portland's first home game since that loss.
Of the Hornets' 34 rebounds, 14 came on the offensive glass, including four from Joshua Patton and three from Ethan Esposito. Sacramento State also had 11 steals and forced 23 Portland turnovers. That includes 14 second half turnovers by the Pilots. In a game that was there for the taking, Sacramento State, however, left too many points at the free throw line. After going a respectable 7-for-11 from the line in the first half, the Hornets were just 8-for-16 from the charity stripe in the second half.
Patton posted the first double-double of his career, finishing with 22 points and a career-best 11 rebounds on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. He also had two steals and finished just two points of his career high. Patton had opportunities to score more, but finished 4-for-13 from the free throw line. He is the only Hornet to score in double figures in every game this season.
Guard Marcus Graves finished with 19 points, four assists, four rebounds and two steals. He shot 7-for-15 from the field and 2-for-4 from distance while 11 of those points came in the second half. Osi Nwachukwu added a season-best 10 points to go along with two steals. Four different Hornets had at least two steals, including Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa (3), Patton (2), Graves (2) and Nwachukwu (2).
Esposito, who had put up double figure points in every game, was held scoreless on 0-for-9 shooting. He did finish with seven rebounds and one blocked shot in 13 minutes. Mauriohooho-Le'afa had nine points, Calvin Martin four points and Jordan Tolbert three points. Tolbert's three points were the only scoring tallies for a Sacramento State bench that entered the game averaging 27.0 points per contest.
Portland got big games from JoJo Walker (22 points) and Marcus Shaver Jr. (21 points). The two combined for 30 of the Pilots' 46 points in the second half.
With only three non-conference games remaining on the schedule, Sacramento State will play a pair of home games on Tuesday vs. Holy Names and Thursday vs. Westcliff. Tip-off for both games is set for 7:05 p.m. The Westcliff game was recently added to the schedule when the Hornets and Cal Poly could not find an amicable date to make up their game on Nov. 16, which was cancelled due to poor Sacramento air quality.
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