Sac State men’s basketball team blows out Montana State at home

Hornets suffocate the Bobcats 81-52


Jordan Latimore

Sac State senior forward Chibueze Jacobs prepares to drive down the lane against Montana State at the Nest on Thursday, Feb. 27. The Hornets defeated the Bobcats 81-52.

Ian Edwards

Sacramento State men’s basketball team made a huge statement at home with a blowout win against Montana State University 81-52.

The Hornets (15-12, 8-10 Big Sky Conference) are heading into their final homestand before the tournament.The Bobcats (14-14, 8-9) are coming off back-to-back losses and are 4-9 this season on the road.

The Hornets got their first basket two minutes into the game with a score plus the foul in the paint by sophomore guard Brandon Davis, followed by a three pointer from junior forward Bryce Fowler. They held the Bobcats scoreless until the 15:30 mark in the first half.

The energy from the crowd was electric early, and fed the intensity that the Hornets were putting out on the defensive end.The Bobcats opened the game 0-5 from the field and were quickly forced into five turnovers.

The Hornets’ offense leveled off a bit but a three from senior guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa gave Sac State a 17-13 lead. Senior center Joshua Patton then got things going with back-to-back scoring to go up by eight. 

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The Bobcats could not get settled on possessions due to the Hornets’ aggressiveness on the ball and the presence in the interior from Patton. They were executing switches quickly and effectively which showed to be a real problem for the Bobcats’ offense. Patton even drew a charge just minutes before the half, which exemplified just how disruptive the Hornets were on that side of the ball.

The Hornets took a 36-19 lead into halftime with Fowler leading the way on offense with 11 points, along with five rebounds and three assists. The Bobcats were held to 36% from the field and 0-4 from deep.

The second half began with the Hornets immediately picking up where they left off, coming up with a steal on defense by Mauriohooho-Le’afa that turned into a lob to Patton on the other end. 

Things got a little interesting as the Hornets were forced to send Patton, Mauriohooho-Le’afa and Davis to the bench with foul trouble. This is when the Bobcats’ best player Harold Frey began to get warm from deep.

Help continued to come from the stands as they were hounding Bobcat players and getting to their feet after big plays. Coach Brain Katz believed the crowd support contributed to the energy that the Hornets were playing with, especially from the football team which was well represented tonight.

Junior forward Ethan Esposito erupted on offense with a big contest 3-pointer and a strong basket inside after the offensive rebound. The Hornets led by as much as 34 down the stretch. 

From an offensive standpoint, Thursday’s game could be considered the Hornets’ best outing of the season, especially from deep where the team went 10-21 for the game. 

“Really it just started with the defense, that leads us to be so confident on offense and play so freely,” Fowler said. 

The Hornets never trailed in this one and went on to win the game 81-52. This was a statement win for them and hopefully they can carry this level of play into the upcoming tournament.

Senior night is Saturday in the Nest against the University of Montana. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.