Men’s basketball takes close game, wins 62-59 at Idaho State

Mike McGough

Sacramento State’s men’s basketball team picked up its sixth conference victory of the season with a nail-biting 62-59 win Thursday at Idaho State.

The victory put the Hornets’ record at 12-6 overall and 6-1 in the Big Sky Conference, marking the best seven-game start to Big Sky play in school history.

Thursday’s game came down to the wire, as the Hornets trailed 59-58 with 30 seconds remaining in the game. With the shot clock off, Sac State senior Zach Mills drew a foul from Chris Hansen of the Idaho State Bengals.

Mills drained both of his free throws, giving the Hornets a 60-59 advantage with 13 seconds left to play.

Sac State played staunch defense on the Bengals’ final meaningful possession, forcing Hansen to step out of bounds with three seconds on the clock. Sophomore guard Trevis Jackson of the Hornets was fouled immediately and made both of his free throws with less than two seconds on the clock to put Sac State’s lead at 62-59.

After a failed half-court shot attempt by Idaho State, the win became official.

The Hornets had an off shooting night by their standards, making just 22 of 49 (44.9 percent) of field goal attempts. The team entered Thursday’s game shooting 52.4 percent from the floor through six conference games. Sac State’s 62-point scoring effort also marked the team’s lowest output in a game in 2015.

As he has done so often this season, senior guard Mikh McKinney of the Hornets created problems for the opposing defense. McKinney led his team with 24 points on eight-of-13 shooting from the field and added a team-high five assists in 38 minutes on the floor. He also went three-of-six from behind the arc.

Sophomore center Eric Stuteville was Sac State’s next highest scorer Thursday night with 11 points. Due to foul trouble, Stuteville played just 22 minutes.  

The Hornets were able to pull out a victory despite an uncharacteristic performance by senior guard Dylan Garrity, who scored no points in 33 minutes on the floor. Garrity missed all five of the shots he took, but did manage two assists and a blocked shot.

Garrity now sits just four assists shy of tying the school record of 501 for his Sac State career.

Though the Hornets jumped out to an early 16-8 lead with 13:53 left to play in the first half of Thursday’s contest, the team struggled to pull away.

Sac State went into halftime up 30-26, and led by as many as 12 points midway through the second half.

But the Bengals clawed their way back thanks to a 7-0 run with about eight minutes remaining in the game that cut the Hornets’ lead down to 51-50. The final five minutes became a back-and-forth affair, with Sac State snatching the road win thanks to timely free throws and a strong final stop on defense.

The victory kept the Hornets at the top of the Big Sky Conference standings.

Sac State will travel to Weber State for the team’s next game at 6:05 p.m. Saturday night.