Hornets lose first game of the season at the hands of CSU Bakersfield

State Hornet Staff

Sacramento State men’s basketball was unable to stop CSU Bakersfield’s 3-point shooting, leading to the team’s’ first loss of the season.

The Hornets gave up nine 3-pointers on 56 percent shooting from the perimeter as the Roadrunners prevailed Wednesday, 74-66.

Junior shooting guard Mikh McKinney,who leads the Hornets in scoring this season, finished with 11 points. He had only four points in the second half due to foul trouble.

“Coach (Brian Katz) never once told me to not be aggressive,” McKinney said. “I’ve struggled on the road in the past and I just need to be more consistent.”

Sac State started the game with a 4-0 lead when sophomore guard Cody Demps and junior forward Alex Tiffin each scored on a layup, but relinquished the lead as Bakersfield went on a 16-1 run, which included seven points by senior guard Issiah Grayson who finished with 15 points and five assists.   

McKinney brought the Hornets within four points with five minutes left in the first half, but he turned the ball over on a steal. Grayson sunk his second 3-pointer of the game moments later and led Bakersfield to a 32-24 halftime lead.

Of the Hornets’ 14 turnovers, 12 came in the first half.

“Turnovers were the main key at halftime,” McKinney said. “We didn’t need to make any changes offensively, all we had to do was just slow down and stay strong with the ball.”

After McKinney was called for his fourth foul with 14:54 left in the second half, junior point guard Dylan Garrity took over the offense as he scored 18 second-half points. He finished with 22 points, four rebounds and three assists.

However, every time Sac State cut into its deficit, the Roadrunners responded. On two separate occasions, Garrity made back-to-back 3-pointers to reduce Bakersfield’s lead, only to see his efforts matched on the other end.

Sac State closed the gap with four 3-point makes in the last 1:11, but was unable to steal the win.

Despite the loss, Demps finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds in his third career start.

The Hornets are now 5-20 all time against Bakersfield and have lost 12 out of their 13 road games dating back to last season.

Sac State returns to the court Monday when it continues its road trip, stopping in Los Angeles to face No. 24 UCLA. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.