The State Hornet

Sac State men’s basketball defeats Portland State 78-67

Hornets improve to 4-8 in conference play

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Sac State men’s basketball defeats Portland State 78-67

Sac State junior center Joshua Patton prepares to go up for a basket during the Hornets 78-67 win over Portland State on Monday.

Sac State junior center Joshua Patton prepares to go up for a basket during the Hornets 78-67 win over Portland State on Monday.

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Sac State junior center Joshua Patton prepares to go up for a basket during the Hornets 78-67 win over Portland State on Monday.

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Eric Jaramishian - The State Hornet

Sac State junior center Joshua Patton prepares to go up for a basket during the Hornets 78-67 win over Portland State on Monday.

Dominique Walker

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The Sacramento State men’s basketball team defeated Portland State University 78-67, improving its overall record to 10-11 and 4-8 in the Big Sky Conference.

The Hornets led throughout the whole game and allowed Portland State to make just 19 baskets out of 53 attempts and held the Vikings to 36 percent shooting from the field.

“We think (defense) is our identity and we lost our identity for a bit when we went on that little losing streak,” Katz said. “Guard the ball, make everything hard, nothing easy and then the offense will come and go but if you’re solid defensively then you always have a chance to win.

The Hornets rank No.1 in the conference in scoring defense, allowing 67.7 points per game.

Sac State was efficient offensively shooting 59 percent from the field and junior forward Osi Nwachukwu went 7-7 from the field and scored 15 points.

“I was just playing off our guards,” Nwachukwu said. “Everytime they penetrate, the coaches tell me I have to cut, my three ball hasn’t been falling lately like that, so I’m trying to cut whenever anybody got the ball going to the rim or in the post. Just picking my spots.”

Marcus Graves and Ethan Esposito led the Hornets with 16 points a piece.

“In our minds we should’ve won by 20 or 30 points,” Graves said, “we gave them too many easy baskets, undisciplined fouls so we just have have to keep improving and getting better.”

Head coach Brian Katz thinks the team is starting to peak at the right time before the Big Sky Conference tournament, the winner of which gets an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

“We’ve seen [the win] coming,” Katz said. “We got a couple nice wins on the road. Other than the Montana game, we could’ve won every game. It’s coming together for us so I’m not really surprised.”

The Hornets next game is at the Nest Feb. 14 against Southern Utah University.

RELATED: Sac State men’s basketball lose 2 out of 3 on road trip

 

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