SACRAMENTO -- Trailing, 54-52, midway through the second half, Sacramento State used a 29-2 run over the game's final 10:22 to eventually defeat Holy Names, 81-56, on Tuesday evening inside the Nest.
Holy Names, which led at halftime, 37-35, failed to score a point the final 5:11 of the contest. The game-clinching run was sparked by three Hornets who factored heavily into the outcome. Of the 29 points during the run, Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa had 10 of those points, Joshua Patton eight and true freshman Grant Greabell had eight. Greabell, getting his first extensive action of the season, played 10 high-energy minutes, finishing with eight points, three rebounds and a steal on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, including a 3-pointer that gave Sacramento State a seven-point lead (61-54) with 7:51 to play.
Holy Names kept things close for a good portion of the game, leading by as many as six points in the first half with the help of eight 3-pointers and a 35-33 rebounding edge over the Hornets. However, Sacramento State used a big second half, outscoring the Hawks, 46-19, while shooting 68% (19-28) after halftime.
For the game, the Hornets shot 60% (35-58) from the field and 50% (3-6) from the 3-point line while holding a commanding advantage in points in the paint (60-12), points off turnovers (24-10) and fast break points (24-0). The Hornets forced 18 Holy Names turnovers while committing just eight of their own. Entering the game ranked ninth in the nation with 9.8 steals per game, Sacramento State added nine more steals tonight.
Holy Names was limited to 35% shooting (20-57) from the field, but the team was 8-for-20 from the 3-point line and had the same amount of made free throws (8) as the Hornets.
With the victory, Sacramento State improved to 5-2, matching its best seven-game start in the last 33 years. Five other Hornet teams began with 5-2 records, including the 2015-16, 2012-13, 1999-00, 1988-89 and 1987-88 squads. The 1985-86 team began the year with a 6-1 record.
The Hornets also improved to 3-0 at home this season, and 61-25 inside the Nest dating back to the 2012-13 season. Sacramento State was playing at home for the first time since an overtime win on Nov. 24 against Cal State Fullerton, and will play inside the Nest again on Thursday night.
Holy Names is a Div. II program from Oakland, and the Hornets and Hawks were playing for just the second time ever. The only other meeting was a Sacramento State win inside the Nest on Nov. 20, 2015. Dating back to 1999, tonight's win was the 36th straight for the Hornets against a non-Div. I institution.
Three Hornets had at least 14 points, including senior guard Marcus Graves who posted his third double-double of the season with 14 points, 10 assists and four steals. Patton scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with three blocks and a pair of steals. He remains the only Hornet to score in double figures in all seven games and has scored at least 15 points in four straight. Mauriohooho-Le'afa had 15 points, four rebounds and four assists on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Twelve different Hornets played in tonight's game and 10 cracked the scoring column. That included Bryce Fowler who posted a well-rounded line of seven points and career highs in both rebounds (11) and assists (7). He also had zero turnovers in 27 minutes. Osi Nwachukwu had six points, three assists and a steal and Ethan Esposito added six points, three rebounds and a steal.
Calvin Martin, who had started every game this year, sat out tonight's game with a groin injury. He was replaced in the starting lineup by Chibueze Jacobs.
Holy Names used 14 players in tonight's game and was led by Jacob Dean's 11 points.
Sacramento State will play again Thursday night against Westcliff in a game that was recently added to the schedule to compensate for the loss of the Cal Poly game. That game was cancelled on Nov. 16 due to poor Sacramento air quality related to the Camp Fire. The Hornets and Westcliff will tip on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.
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