Sac State Men’s Basketball dominates in final non-conference matchup

Sacramento+State%E2%80%99s+Christian+Terrell+%2835%29+makes+a+fastbreak+layup+past+Fresno+Pacific%27s+Aamondae+Coleman+%284%29+during+the+first+half+of+the+home+game+Sunday%2C+Jan.+3%2C+2021.+Terrell+had+20+points+in+the+first+half+and+26+points+total.

Sara Nevis

Sacramento State’s Christian Terrell (35) makes a fastbreak layup past Fresno Pacific’s Aamondae Coleman (4) during the first half of the home game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. Terrell had 20 points in the first half and 26 points total.

Sara Nevis

Jordan Latimore

The Sacramento State men's basketball team came out with a bounce-back 85-54 win against Fresno Pacific after Wednesday's loss to Saint Mary’s.

The Hornets remain undefeated at The Nest with a home record of 4-0 as they head into strictly conference play for the remainder of the season.

The game opened up with an aggressive showing from the Sunbirds, who scored 10 straight points in the paint, fueled by defensive breakdowns and early turnovers by the Hornets.

Sac State eventually found an offensive rhythm that went unmatched by Fresno Pacific.

Led by senior guard Christian Terrell, the Hornets ignited a 9-0 run that was driven by ball movement in the half-court and fastbreak points off Sunbird turnovers. Terrell credits the home court feel as a one contributor in Sunday’s performance.

“Home court is important in any season, you’re comfortable in your gym,” Terrell said. “You know your own rims, you know how the ball will bounce, it's all about getting to your spot.”

Terrell finished with 26 points, 20 of which came in the first half. The Hornets shot 64% from the field in the first 20 minutes of action that resulted in a 47-29 halftime lead.

On top of shooting at an efficient clip, the Hornets also found success in passing the ball and getting guys open looks with off-ball movement. The Hornets finished the game with 25 total assists, with seven out of the eight players recording at least one.

“We not only took care of the ball, but the ball moved,” Head coach Brian Katz said. “You always want the ratio [of assists to turnovers] to be 2:1, now tonight it was 3:1, and that would be the thing I took away from this game.”

The second half saw more of the same, with the Hornets finding ways to move the ball and assert their dominance on the offensive end. Senior forward Ethan Esposito came alive offensively in the second half, fishing with 22 points.

For the Hornet players, this recovery win was a testament to how they were able to regain their confidence after a tough loss against St. Mary’s where they only scored 45 points.

“I thought it was great,” Espositio said. “We knew we had to come out with some energy and be aggressive in order for us to bounce back from Saint Mary’s.”

Terrell said he was able to show up for his team Sunday, compared to Wednesday.

“I let my team down going 1-12, those types of games can't happen,” Senior guard Christian Terell said in reference to his play on Wednesday against Saint Mary’s. “I knew I had to come out and help my team get the win and they did a great job of finding me.”

Heading into conference play, Sac State remains unbeaten at home and in the Big Sky.

The Hornets are set to play their next game against Portland State on Thursday.