SEATTLE LEADS FROM START TO FINISH IN VICTORY OVER MENâ€™S BASKETBALL
SEATTLE – Alex Jones’ game-high 19 points led five Seattle players in double figures as the Redhawks stormed to a 98-67 victory over Sacramento State in a non-conference men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon at KeyArena.
In a game that was never close, Seattle jumped out to a 15-2 lead during the opening four minutes, and led by at least 11 points the rest of the way. In fact, the Redhawks, who outscored Sacramento State in the first half, 51-27, led by at least 20 points the final 16:18 of the contest.
The 31-point margin of defeat was the worst of the season for Sacramento State. This comes two months after the Hornets defeated Seattle in Sacramento (80-67 on Jan. 9). The meetings between the two squads this year marked just the second and third times ever the two programs had ever faced one another.
Seattle couldn’t miss all afternoon, as the team shot a blazing 61.0 percent (36-59) from the field, 50.0 percent (6-12) from the three-point arc and 83.3 percent (20-24) from the free throw line. The field goal percentage was the easily the best posted against Sacramento State this season, surpassing the previous mark of .571, set by Northern Arizona on Jan. 24.
The Redhawks had their way underneath the basket as 46 of Seattle’s 98 points came inside the paint and they outrebounded the Hornets by a 41-29 margin. All but two of the Redhawks’ 10 players that appeared in the game shot at least 50.0 percent from the field, including Jones, who finished 8-of-11.
With the victory, Seattle (12-13) has now won three straight, all against Big Sky opposition (Eastern Washington and Portland State also lost to the Redhawks over the past two weeks). The loss dropped Sacramento State to 9-17 overall and 3-10 on the road. The game marked the final non-conference contest of the year for the Hornets as the team has four conference games remaining on the regular season schedule.
Joining Jones in double figures for Seattle were Chris Gweth (16 points, 5 rebounds, 5-of-8 shooting), Cervante Burrell (15 points, 4-of-7 shooting), Charles Garcia (12 points, game-high 9 rebounds, 5-of-7 shooting) and Mike Boxley (11 points, 4-of-7 shooting). Aaron Broussard added seven points and six rebounds.
Sacramento State failed to shoot better than 40.0 percent in either half, and finished the game at 34.4 percent (21-61) from the field, 35.0 percent (7-20) from beyond the arc and 75.0 percent (18-24) from the free throw line. The Hornets made just seven of their 26 shots in the opening half.
Senior Justin Eller continues to sparkle as the center finished with a season-high tying 18 points to go along with five rebounds. The majority of those points came from the free throw line where he posted career highs in makes (10) and attempts (12). Eller, who now leads the team with a scoring average of 10.6 points per game, has finished with at least 17 points each of the last three games.
Junior Duro Bjegovic was the only other Hornet in double figures as the Croatian finished with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from distance. Senior Jared Stigall was one point shy of his career high as he finished with a season-best eight points, including a pair of three-pointers. Senior Domineek Daniel had seven points and three rebounds, while senior Antonio Flaggs had six points and freshman John Dickson added six points and two blocked shots.
The Hornets return to action next week for their final Big Sky road games of the regular season at Montana State (Feb. 18) and Montana (Feb. 20). Sacramento State (3-9) is just two games behind sixth-place Northern Arizona (5-7), and the Hornets will host NAU in two weeks. The top six teams in the nine-member Big Sky Conference reach the league’s postseason event.