Men’s basketball secures win in home opener

Andrew Watson

In its first home game of the 2014-15 regular season, Sacramento State’s men’s basketball team defeated the Simpson Redhawks Wednesday night by a final score of 74-42.

Head coach Brian Katz was pleased with the team’s start and its defensive play, but felt that offensive execution was lacking.

“I thought we were really good at the start,” Katz said. “Obviously we had a sluggish second half and started turning the ball over. I think we have some areas to improve on. Our offensive execution wasn’t great. But we’ll get better.”

Katz mentioned timing, screening and ball movement as offensive areas that were lacking.

Junior Cody Demps, starting at forward, led the Hornets in scoring with 16 points, making five of seven field goal attempts.

“I feel I did okay,” Demps said. “I had some spurts where I was really aggressive, and I feel like I had other spurts where I had a couple unnecessary turnovers. I think that can be taken care of.”

Demps also had two assists and four rebounds, two on offense and two on defense, as well as one steal. He led both teams with 30 minutes played.

“Cody’s always really solid,” Katz said. “He’s a very versatile player, he can play one through four. Cody just can help you in so many ways: defensively, off the ball, on the ball, posting, the whole deal.”

Senior guard Dylan Garrity shot four of eight from the field and two of five from 3-point range, netting 10 points in 26 minutes played.

Despite a 32-point win, Garrity made his thoughts clear regarding the potential for improvement.

“To be completely honest, we didn’t play very well,” Garrity said. “We just had no flow offensively. We need to work on our execution in practice this next week. Otherwise, we’re not going to beat anybody [that’s] any good.”

Garrity did note that the team played tight defense. But the senior was critical of his own individual performance, his ball-handling in particular.

“I had three turnovers and that’s unacceptable from me,” Garrity said.

The Hornets turned the ball over 17 times over the course of the game. Forward Nick Hornsby also turned the ball over three times.

Mikh McKinney, the top scorer in Monday’s win over UC Riverside, finished with nine points, shooting two of five from the field. He played 27 minutes and led the team with four assists.

Sac State went into the half with a 45-17 lead, made possible by a Dreon Barlett 3-pointer with one second left on the game clock.

The Hornets struggled to start the second half. Sac State did not score for almost six minutes into the second period, until a Garrity layup made it 47-22 with 14:04 to play.

In the first half, Sac State shot 16 of 25 from the field, good for 64 percent—but then went just 11 of 24, less than 46 percent, in the second half.

The Hornets executed defensively, with the Redhawks making just 13 of 46 attempted field goals, a shooting percentage lower than 29 percent.

Sac State also out-rebounded Simpson by a margin of 39 to 20.

Simpson’s top scorer, center Ian Corella, scored 15 points shooting six of ten from the field, with no 3-pointers attempted and no assists.

The wide margin of victory gave Katz the opportunity to give his younger players some time on the court.

“I thought Jiday Ugbaja really cut hard,” Katz said. “I really thought he came in with a purpose. I liked that. I really liked the way James Herrick really got after the ball and rebounded, that was great.”

Ugbaja and Herrick, both freshmen, played a combined seven minutes. Herrick managed to reel in four rebounds in four minutes.

Garrity gave his final thoughts on a win that pointed out areas for improvement despite having a lopsided score.

“It was kind of sloppy,” Garrity said. “The turnovers and all the fouls just kind of made it a slow game and kind of hard to watch. But a win is a win, and we’ll take a win any time.”

The Hornets’ next game will be 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, with a home game against Bristol University.