SACRAMENTO — Four Hornets scored in double figures, led by Izayah Mauriohooho-Le'afa's 21 points, as Sacramento State cruised to an 88-60 victory over Westcliff in a men's basketball exhibition game Wednesday evening at the Nest.
Tonight marked the only exhibition game for Sacramento as the team opens the regular season next Friday, Nov. 8, at home vs. Simpson.
Westcliff took its first and only lead of the game at 4-3 early in the first half, but Sacramento State responded with a 13-2 run and it was all Hornets from there. Sacramento State scored 44 points in both halves, and led by double figures the final 24:46 of the contest. That includes a lead of at least 20 points the last 16:29.
Sacramento State shot a proficient 59% (33-56) from the field, 55% (6-11) from the 3-point line and 73% (16-22) from the free throw line. The Hornets also outrebounded the Warriors, 35-23, and scored 50 of their 88 points inside the paint.
A total of 13 Hornets played, four scored in double figures and 10 cracked the scoring column. Sacramento State had big edges in points off turnovers (21-10), points in the paint (50-18) and bench points (38-22).
Mauriohooho-Le'afa, a fourth-year senior, scored his team-high 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and 4-for-4 from the 3-point line while adding four steals. He was a +19 in plus/minus and registered 19 of his 21 points in the first half.
Joining him in double figures were second-year junior Ethan Esposito (14 points, 6-8 FG, 6 rebounds), third-year junior Bryce Fowler (12 points, 7 rebounds 3 steals) and junior college transfer Jordan Cooke-Harper (12 points, 6-6 FT). Cooke-Harper, a sophomore from Southwestern JC, scored 12 points in 13 minutes.
Fourth-year senior Chibueze Jacobs had nine points, eight rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes, second-year senior Osi Nwachukwu eight points and three rebounds, and second-year sophomore James Bridges scored six points and a had a team-high +23 while burying both of his 3-point attempts.
Making their Hornet debuts, redshirt sophomore Brandon Davis had four assists in 15 minutes, and Spencer Monteiro, William FitzPatrick and Ryan Blackmon each had two points.
Tonight marked the first of four straight games the Hornets will play in Sacramento, which includes each of the first three regular season contests. Two of those regular season games will be played inside the Nest while Sacramento State will also take on UC Davis in the annual Golden 1 Center game on Nov. 20.
Next Friday's season opener against Simpson will begin at 7:05 p.m. The Hornets will also play inside the Nest against UC Riverside on Nov. 15 at 7:05 p.m.
NOTES -- Westcliff is in its third year at the NAIA level, and hails from Irvine…there was no video stream offered for tonight's game, but video streams for all regular season home contests and games played in a Big Sky Conference venue will be available on Pluto.TV…tonight was Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night…every home game this season inside the Nest will begin at 7:05 p.m.
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