Men’s basketball falters against North Dakota in 9th straight loss

Sacramento+State+senior+forward+Justin+Strings+looks+to+pass+the+ball+against+North+Dakota+at+the+Nest+on+Thursday%2C+March+1%2C+2018.+Strings+finished+with+21+points+in+a+90-73+loss+to+North+Dakota.+
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Men’s basketball falters against North Dakota in 9th straight loss

Sacramento State senior forward Justin Strings looks to pass the ball against North Dakota at the Nest on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Strings finished with 21 points in a 90-73 loss to North Dakota.

Sacramento State senior forward Justin Strings looks to pass the ball against North Dakota at the Nest on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Strings finished with 21 points in a 90-73 loss to North Dakota.

Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Sacramento State senior forward Justin Strings looks to pass the ball against North Dakota at the Nest on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Strings finished with 21 points in a 90-73 loss to North Dakota.

Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Kelly Kiernan - The State Hornet

Sacramento State senior forward Justin Strings looks to pass the ball against North Dakota at the Nest on Thursday, March 1, 2018. Strings finished with 21 points in a 90-73 loss to North Dakota.

Keith Jouganatos

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Even after a fast start, the Sacramento State men’s basketball team couldn’t maintain any rhythm in its 90-73 loss against North Dakota at the Nest on Thursday.

This game marked the ninth consecutive loss — which includes a span of four of their last six games being lost by five points or fewer — for the Hornets.

Sac State (6-24, 3-14 Big Sky Conference) took the lead for a brief period of time early on in the contest yet that was short lived as the defense suffered countless breakdowns throughout the night. These lackluster defensive situations helped North Dakota to shoot 55 percent from the field, as well as 52 percent from 3-point range.

Sophomore forward Joshua Patton, who finished with a team-high 24 points along with nine rebounds, cited the lack of energy on the defensive side of the floor as a reason for the struggles.

“We didn’t play well defensively,” Patton said. “We didn’t come out with enough aggression and if we had we wouldn’t have been forced to have played from behind defensively and been forced to try catching up the whole game”.

At halftime, the Hornets trailed 42-31 and then made the decision to go towards a full-court press defense in the second half. The press allowed Sac State to cut the deficit to seven points at its most effective peak. Yet numerous turnovers, along with an inability to make shots, sank any chance for a comeback.

Senior forward Justin Strings, who poured in 21 points of his own, also touched on the team’s lack of aggression from the opening tip as a reason for the Hornets’ loss.

“We just, from the start, did not come out aggressive, we wanted to try to come out with a lot of energy and we just failed to do that tonight,” Strings said.

In yet another multi-game losing streak this season, the Hornets are stuck with a roster depleted by injuries and an inability to find any type of momentum going into the tail end of the season. When asked about what it would take to get rid of this losing skid, Strings put things bluntly.

“Even though this season has been a challenge, we need everyone to come out with energy and play with that fire,” Strings said.

The Hornets will look to end this losing streak in their final home game of the season on Saturday against Northern Colorado at the Nest.

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