Men’s basketball loses 84-73 for first Big Sky loss of season

Mike McGough

Sacramento State’s men’s basketball team suffered its first Big Sky loss of the 2014-15 season Saturday night, falling to the Northern Colorado Bears on the road by a final score of 84-73.

The loss ended the Hornets’ win streak at four games and put the team’s Big Sky record at 3-1 on the season. Sac State is now 9-6 overall and 3-5 on the road.

Though coach Brian Katz would have loved to stay undefeated, he said he was still proud of his players and happy with the 3-1 start to the season.

“We come home 3-1, and we have two home games,” Katz said. “We’re certainly never happy to lose. It would have been great to be 4-0, but we’re not.”

Senior guard Dylan Garrity turned in another big scoring night for the Hornets. He made nine of his 18 (50.0 percent) field goal attempts and went six of 13 (46.2 percent) from 3-point land on his way to tallying 24 points.

Katz commended the effort put in by Garrity, a player whom he recently instructed to be more aggressive shooting the ball.

“Any shot that he takes is a good shot,” Katz said.

The game began as a close affair, with neither team leading by more than six points for the first 29 minutes of play. But with 10:23 left on the clock in the second half, the Bears started to pull away with an 11-0 run that helped the team secure a 66-53 lead by the 7:11 mark.

Sac State clawed their way back late in the game, as a pair of deep 3-pointers by Garrity helped build a 13-3 run that put the score at 74-71 Bears with 2:18 remaining in the contest. But the Hornets would fail to make a field goal for the remainder of the game, ending their win streak at four games and taking their first conference loss of the year.

“I was proud of the way our guys fought back,” Katz said. “It says a lot about the courage of our group. They’re just not going to give up. However, we gave up too many transition baskets. That’s what really hurt us.”

Northern Colorado ended up shooting 32 of 50 (64.0 percent) from the floor and had 16 fastbreak points Saturday night.

Sac State made 28 of 63 (44.4 percent) attempted field goals and eight of 25 (32.0 percent) from behind the arc in Saturday night’s game. Each team turned the ball over 11 times, and the Hornets outrebounded the Bears by a 29-27 margin.

The Hornets had a 39-36 lead going into halftime thanks to a deep Garrity 3-pointer in the final three seconds. Saturday night marked Sac State’s first loss this season in a game in which they owned a halftime lead.

In addition to Garrity, guards Cody Demps and Mikh McKinney also had solid games for Sac State.

Demps had eight rebounds for the game and shot four of seven from the field, while McKinney shot seven of 15 and stole the ball three times. McKinney did, however, commit five of his team’s 11 turnovers. McKinney and Demps each ended the game with 14 points scored.

Northern Colorado guard Tevin Svihovec had a huge game, scoring 26 points and hauling in five defensive rebounds.

Though Katz never wants to see his team lose, he understands that splitting a road trip can be considered a success.

“As the old adage goes, if you win at home and split on the road, you know you’re going to have a chance to win the conference,” Katz said.

The Hornets will play their next game at 7:05 p.m. Thursday night at the Nest, as they will host the University of Idaho Vandals.