The Sacramento State men’s basketball team proved to be cool under pressure as it pulled out a come-from-behind road victory against Central Arkansas.
Central Arkansas was led by head coach Corliss Williamson. Although Williamson won a National Championship with University of Arkansas in 1994 and later played in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings, the coach’s past success could not help his team as it fell to the Hornets tonight 71-68.
The Hornets started off slow and found themselves down by double-digits at the half for the second consecutive road game – the halftime score was 45-35.
“I just told (the team) to stick to their guns,” said head coach Brian Katz. “Against Davis we got away from our scouting report and we let the emotion of the game get to us. Tonight we had to stop penetration and hit the boards.”
In the second half, Central Arkansas came out and made its first two shots, which pushed the lead to 14.
A 3-pointer from sophomore Dylan Garrity brought the lead down to single digits with 14:47 left, but the Hornets were still down by eight.
Sac State went back down by nine before senior Julian Demalleville hit a 3-pointer. The deep ball brought the Hornets within six halfway through the second.
With 6:11 left in the game, Konner Veteto hit a jumper to tie the game at 60-60.
Sophomore Mikh McKinney completed a 3-point play to give Sac State the lead 63-60. McKinney finished with 14 points.
Down the stretch, key plays by seniors Joe Eberhard and Veteto maintained the Hornet lead after Central Arkansas tried to answer back. Veteto scored off of a steal by Eberhard.
Once Sac State nabbed the lead it would not look back.
Veteto and Eberhard posted the first two double-doubles of the season for Sac State.
Eberhard had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. Veteto was the scoring and rebounding leader with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
“If (Veteto) plays like that every game we will be hard to beat,” Katz said. “(As for Eberhard), we decided to call plays for him tonight. We looked at the stats and his shot count and decided we had to get him shots.”
Garrity did not reach his season scoring average of 15 points per game, but he grabbed a season-high of eight rebounds along with seven points and four assists.
The Hornets hit the road against the Pac-12’s Arizona State on Saturday.
Joe Davis can be reached on twitter @famousjoe530.