Sac State men’s basketball blows out Bethesda in first game since COVID-19 shutdown

The Hornets secure their first win of the season


Sara Nevis

Bryce Fowler (23) makes a layup during the first half in the game against Bethesda University at The Nest at Sac State Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Fowler is the leading scorer in the first half with 12 points.

Jordan Latimore

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team opened up its 2020-21 season with a blowout win against Bethesda, defeating the Flames 101-57.

After a nearly nine-month hiatus and in a gym filled with a few media members and no fans, the Hornets (1-0, 0-0 in the Big Sky) came out with an assertive performance against the Flames (0-1), starting the year off in commanding fashion.

“[The players] were dying to play, it was euphoric,” head coach Brian Katz said. 

The Hornets got out to a big lead in the first few minutes of the game with a 13-5 run within the first five minutes a lead that was never relinquished by the Hornets throughout the night.

The scoring load was exercised in many areas from the team with nine out of the 10 active players scoring at least five points and three finishing with double-figures. The Hornets also found an advantage in the rebounding department, securing 51 total boards compared to Bethesda’s 20. 

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“This team is deep,” senior guard Christian Terrell said. “All our parts are interchangeable, we trust everybody to do their job, it’s up to us how far we wanna take [this team].”

The Hornets’ shooting efficiency in large part contributed to the team’s victory. Sac State shot over 55% from the field and hit eight threes in the first half alone. 

For the Hornets, this game was more than just a dominant win, but a massive opportunity for the players to finally get back on the court.

Katz said it was surreal for the team to actually step on the floor and realize that play was actually going to take place.

“Today I was like, ‘Did Bethesda pass their tests? Did we pass our tests?’ And by noon I was like, ‘wow we’re really going to play.’”

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For Christian Terrell, his break from basketball has extended far beyond March when college basketball was shut down, due to being ineligible to play when he transferred to Sac State. The senior guard was grateful for a chance to get on the court again.

“It’s been a couple years since I’ve been able to play in basketball games,” Terrell said. “Just being able to step on the floor tonight even if it was just for one minute felt like heaven to me.”

Despite the long delay of play and unorthodox training regimen, the team displayed continuity on the court with 23 assists. 

“It shows how much we like each other,” senior forward Bryce Fowler said. “Just being around each other, getting to get to know each other when we’re not playing basketball it’s important.”

The Hornets are set to take on the Idaho Vandals Dec. 3 in its first conference matchup of the season.