Sacramento State men’s basketball crushed at home by Northern Colorado 79-61

Hornets drop the fourth straight game this season


Jack Freeman

Sophomore forward Cameron Wilbon tries to create space against a Northern Colorado defender in the low post in The Nest Thursday, Feb. 10. Wilbon finished with 14 points as the Bears routed the Hornets in a 79-61 loss for Sacramento State.

Jordan Latimore

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team dropped their fourth straight game in a deflating 79-61 loss to Northern Colorado on Thursday in the Nest.

It was a slow start from both the Hornets (6-13, 2-10 Big Sky) and the Bears (13-11, 8-4 Big Sky) as neither team scored for the first five minutes of the first half, but the game started picking up momentum very early with heavy drives to the rim.

The Bears came out early and punched the Hornets in the mouth, driving to the rim with heavy aggression and knocking down threes off of kick-outs, getting off to a quick and easy 9-5 lead. This was mainly the result of holes within the weak side parameters of Sac State’s defense which allowed just about every UNC to make plays off of the dribble.

The Northern Colorado offense never seemed to waver in the first half, and the club went on to shoot 50% from three and convert more than half of their field goals in the first 20 minutes. Sac State made sure to lean on their weapon, senior forward Bryce Fowler to shoulder the load.

The Bears were relentless, but Fowler had answers on possessions down the stretch of the half, scoring numerous times in the low post and on the perimeter to demonstrate every reason why he’s a top 10 scorer in the Big Sky.

Fowler finished with 16 first-half points which softened the blow of a 38-32 deficit going into halftime for the Hornets.

“I’m an all-around player. I’m kind of here to lead the team to score and create offense, whatever that is,” Fowler said. “In the first half we needed a little spark, some momentum, so I was really aggressive in trying to get to the basket and get some buckets

The second half was all Northern Colorado, and the Sac State defense didn’t have a single answer.

Within the first five minutes, the Bears were able to erupt on an 8-2 run coming out of the halftime break. Fueled by constant drives to the basket and second-chance opportunities from the boards, Northern Colorado wiped the floor with the Sac State team.

“Non-existent,” interim head coach Brandon Laird said about the Hornets’ defensive presence in the help side. “[We] got to try to get better at it, and then try to find individuals that are going to try to play, and try to do those things defensively.”

The Hornets never made the game closer than an 11-point margin after the 15-minute mark, as UNC went on to cruise to a crushing victory in The Nest with four players finishing in double-figures.

For a team that is now riding their second four-game losing streak of the season, keeping a high morale for Sac State is something that remains a challenge as losses, especially at home, continue to pile up.

“It’s definitely a struggle,” sophomore forward Cameron Wilbon said. “We try to come in, keep a positive outlook, but it’s definitely hard, especially when this one wasn’t that close.”

The Hornets’ next matchup will be another home game in The Nest Saturday, Feb. 12 against Southern Utah at 1 p.m.