Men’s basketball defeats Bristol University, improves season record


Senior Mikh McKinney breaks past a Bristol player as he prepares to take a shot durning a non-conference game Tuesday Nov. 25. McKinney led the Hornets with 22 points in the 97-63 victory that evening.

Mike McGough

Sacramento State’s men’s basketball team improved its record to 3-1 with a Tuesday night victory over Bristol University, winning by a final of 97-63.

The win came six days after a 74-42 win over Simpson, after which head coach Brian Katz said his group needed to work to improve offensive execution.

With the Hornets coming just three points shy of triple digits, Katz was happier with his players’ offensive efforts this week.

“We did a little better,” Katz said. “We’ve still got a ways to go. We made some shots. We had 13 turnovers. That’s too many. We’ve got to get better in that area, and we will.”

Sac State saw key contributions from senior guard Mikh McKinney, who scored 22 points in 27 minutes and made nine of 10 attempted field goals, and sophomore center Eric Stuteville, who scored 12 points and brought in seven rebounds in 18 minutes played.

“I played my game, whatever we had to do to win,” McKinney said. “My teammates were getting me good shots through the offense, so I was just taking them.”

McKinney also had six assists and shot three-for-three in 3-point attempts.

What started as a close game, with the score at 22-17 Hornets after almost nine minutes of play, turned into a blowout thanks to a 16-2 run that gave Sac State a 38-19 lead with 5:52 left in the first half.

The Hornets would go on to add a 30-4 run that lasted almost 10 minutes in the second half. Sac State shot 19-36 from the field in the first half and improved to 19-25 after halftime.

Katz mentioned his team’s 12 offensive rebounds as a factor that allowed the team to find easy baskets in the second half.

“The basket’s a lot bigger when you make easy baskets, and that shot you’re shooting on the perimeter is not quite as hard,” Katz said. “So I attribute our really good shooting in the second half to the easy baskets we got, which makes the group more confident.”

The Hornets scored 54 points in the paint Tuesday night.

The only missed shot by McKinney came with 44 seconds remaining in the first half.

After stealing the ball from Dodi Ibrahim of the Bristol Bears, McKinney had a wide open lane to the basket. McKinney, who is 6 feet 1 inch tall, tried for a dunk. His attempt rimmed out, and he was called for a technical foul as he hung onto the rim.

“I should have let it go,” McKinney said. “I wasn’t thinking straight. But it’s just one play, and it was a horrible play, and you just move on to the next play after that.”

Stuteville, who shot six of eight from the floor, was pleased with the win, but still saw room for improvement.

“We jumped on them pretty early,” Stuteville said. “We set a pretty good tone. We could play a little bit better defense, even though it was a blowout.”

Forward Cody Demps also had a good game. He hauled in 10 rebounds, split equally between offense and defense, and scored 10 points on three of seven field goal attempts. Demps led the team with 29 minutes played.

The wide margin of victory again allowed Katz to give extra time to some of his younger bench players, as he did last week against Simpson.

Junior guard Dreon Barlett and freshman forward Justin Strings each scored six points, shot two of three from the field, and reeled in two defensive rebounds. The duo posted these similar stats in 11 and 10 minutes played, respectively.

McKinney, a team captain, was happy with these performances.

“Everybody played well,” McKinney said. “I really liked the way that our bench players came in at the end of the game, and they continued what we started.”

The win was Sac State’s third of the season, with the team’s only loss coming in its regular season opener at nationally-ranked Gonzaga.

Stuteville outlined the team’s philosophy regarding improvement.

“We could always be better, because we plan to beat every team in the country,” Stuteville said.

The Hornets will conclude their three-game home stand at 7:05 p.m. Monday against Utah Valley.