Hornets Dominate Davis



Brian Katz, the men’s basketball team’s head coach, above, speaks to the team during its game against University of California, Davis.:

Mike Mital

After its 82-70 win against the University of California, Davis, the Sacramento State men’s basketball team has plenty of reasons to celebrate.

On that night, senior guard Loren Leath scored a career best of 31 points, making shot after shot in front of the biggest home crowd of the season. It was also the first victory of the year for the Hornets, a much-needed confidence builder for a team that has just four returning players from a year ago.

Instead of celebrating, however, the Hornets are quietly working hard and focusing on winning one game at a time.

“The win against Davis is a big deal for the people in Sacramento,” said Head Coach Brian Katz. “But the most important thing for our team is that we improve and get better every day. We really have to focus on the little things as well as develop the players in order to get better.”

After suffering a tough road loss to Santa Clara on Saturday, the team is now 0-5 in its first five games on the road. Although it has yet to play a game against an opponent from the Big Sky conference, the team must come together quickly if it is to improve on a 2007-08 campaign where it finished 4-24 overall and 2-14 in conference play.

The team looks to improve its play on the road as the season progresses.

“So far, our biggest problem has been turnovers, which is a little expected with all the new guys and new offense they have to learn,” Katz said.

With 12 transfers from community colleges and a new staff led by Katz, first-year head coach, the Hornets are looking to establish a new identity as a team on the rise. The Hornets will also be looking to establish a new identity on offense as well. This year’s team will focus on improving its shot selection while also becoming more physical on both sides of the ball.

Establishing post play should be a little easier this season, as the Hornets feature five players on their roster who are 6’8 or taller. Combining this size with the post-oriented philosophies of assistant coach Terry Battenberg, and defending the paint, will be a “tall” order for opposing teams.

On the defensive side of the ball the team hopes to continue to lead the Big Sky in steals for the ninth straight season (9.0 per game), while putting an emphasis on man-to-man defense for most of its games. As this newly-assembled team gains experience and becomes more comfortable in its new offensive system, it anticipates on improvement in the near future.

“We’ve become a much better defensive team from earlier this season, and our shot selection has been pretty good so far,” Katz said. “We took a step back on offense with the loss to Santa Clara, but we’re working hard to get better at every facet of the game.”

Despite early-season losses, the team looks to become competitive in the Big Sky Conference.

Mike Mital can be reached at [email protected]