Sac State men’s basketball team dominates Idaho on the road

Hornets bounce back against Vandals 67-56


Alex Brizee - Argonaut

Sac State senior center Joshua Patton attempts to block Idaho on the road at Kibbie Dome on Saturday, Feb. 22. The Hornets defeated the Vandals 67-56.

Ian Edwards

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team won big on the road against Idaho University 67-56 thanks to its suffocating defense Saturday.

The Hornets (14-12, 7-10 Big Sky Conference) were coming off a one point loss to Eastern Washington on Thursday night. The Vandals (7-20, 3-13) won 67-53 in the Nest the last time these two teams met on Feb. 3.

Senior forward Osi Nwachukwu came out aggressive early for the Hornets scoring their first two from inside and had six points in the opening four minutes. The Hornets offense got going early with an 8-0 run to go up by seven points.

The Hornets defense made it hard for Vandals senior guard Trevon Allen, who had been a problem for them in their last matchup, holding him scoreless halfway through the first half. The Hornets also forced eight early turnovers. Senior center Joshua Patton was an anchor inside, coming up with two blocks on the same defensive possession.

RELATED: Sac State men’s basketball team’s strong second half not enough, falls to Eastern Washington

The Hornets had a 17-11 lead after holding the Vandals to two scoring droughts, one of six minutes and the other four and a half minutes. All things were clicking for the offense after a dunk by Patton to go up by 10.

The Hornets held the Vandals to 28% shooting from the field (7-25) and forced 11 turnovers. On the Hornets’ last offensive possession of the half, Patton knocked down the prayer after a full court pass from junior forward Bryce Fowler, however, after review it would be waived off and the Hornets took a 28-19 lead into halftime.

Nwachukwu lead all scorers with 10 points, shooting 5-6 from the field. Fowler had three steals at the half.

Both teams traded baskets early in the second half, including a straight away 3-pointer from sophomore guard Brandon Davis off an assist from Patton. Nwachukwu’s aggressiveness of defense would fuel his offense, making an impact and giving the Hornets a 16 point lead at  43-27.

RELATED: Sac State men’s basketball team loses a nail-biter against Northern Colorado

The Hornets held as much as a 19 point lead before the Vandals went on a run. The Vandals had 3-pointers from Allen to cut the lead to 10 with four minutes left to play.

The Hornets needed a stop and they got it when Nwachukwu came up with a big steal that led to a putback slam by Patton on the other end. The shot put Sac State’s lead back to double digits after being cut to as close as eight.

The Hornets hit their free throws down the stretch to hold onto the lead for the win 67-56.The Vandals were held to 39% shooting from the field and 28% from deep. Nwachukwu ended the game with 20 points, and added five rebounds and four steals. Patton ended with 14 points and three blocks. 

The Hornets’ offense is clicking at the right time with three games left before the Big Sky tournament. The Hornets come home to play fourth place Montana State on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.