Poor first half sinks Sac State men’s basketball team

Hornets’ road struggles continue with loss at Southern Utah


Shaun Holkko

Sac State senior forward Osi Nwachukwu high-fives teammates during pregame introductions before playing UC Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at the Golden 1 Center. The Hornets lost on the road to Southern Utah 74-49 on Saturday afternoon.

Shaun Holkko

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team fell behind early Saturday afternoon on the road at Southern Utah University and failed to recover, losing 74-49.

The Hornets (10-6, 3-4 Big Sky Conference) have struggled away from the Nest this season with a 2-6 road record. The Thunderbirds (11-6, 4-2) came into the contest looking to rebound following a home loss to Northern Arizona University.

During the first ten minutes of action, defense prevailed. The Hornets and Thunderbirds were knotted at 10 until Sac State senior center Joshua Patton made a free throw to give his team the one-point advantage with 10:06 remaining in the first half.

After conceding the lead, Southern Utah would make their run. Over the course of 5:13, the Thunderbirds went on a 17-1 run to take a commanding lead at 27-12. Sac State took a timeout with 3:11 left in the first half to refocus. The Hornets were able to limit the damage and went into halftime trailing 33-18.

RELATED: Sac State men’s basketball team’s winning streak snapped at Northern Colorado

In the second half, the Thunderbirds increased their lead to 20 at 45-25 with under 13 minutes left in the game. Sac State attempted one last comeback attempt with a late 6-0 run, cutting the deficit to 58-46 and leading to a Southern Utah timeout.

The Hornets were unable to complete the comeback as the Thunderbirds closed the game on a 16-3 run over the final 5:21 to win by 25 at 74-49. 

Sac State shot poorly in the loss. The Hornets converted 16-of-51 from the field (31.4%), 3-of-17 from three (17.6%) and 14-21 from the free-throw line (66.7%). In all six road losses, Sac State has failed to score more than 60 points.

The Hornets had two players get in double-figures scoring. Senior forward Osi Nwachukwu had a team-high 13 points, six rebounds and three steals. Patton contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks.

Southern Utah was led to the win by senior forward Cameron Oluyitan who had a game-high 19 points, five rebounds and three assists. Junior guard Dre Marin added 17 points, four rebounds and four assists. Off the bench, junior guard John Knight III was perfect, scoring 13 points on 4-of-4 from the field and 5-of-5 from the free-throw stripe for the Thunderbirds.

RELATED: Sac State men’s basketball team beats Weber State 71-57

Sac State will now return home for one game and attempt to remain unbeaten at the Nest against Portland State on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.