Sac State men’s basketball suffers 72-65 loss to Santa Clara

Hornets drop fourth straight as offensive struggles continue


Dominique Williams

Hornets junior guard Gianni Hunt contending with UC Davis defense Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022, at Golden 1 Center. The Hornets dropped their fourth game in a row with a 72-65 loss against Santa Clara Saturday.

Jordan Latimore, Sports Editor

For any new team, learning how to win close games comes with time. The Sacramento State men’s basketball team seems like they were due for that kind of victory Saturday night against the University of Santa Clara.

After a 72-65 loss to the Broncos, it’s clear that the Hornets will just need even more time on their side.

“It’s all the little things that add up to winning,” head coach David Patrick said.

Coming into Santa Clara dropping their past three games, it seemed like Sac State was in for a major lineup or change of scheme.

The adjustments were seen from the starting lineup itself with Patrick opting to put the versatile junior wing Cameron Wilbon in at small forward, replacing junior guard Gianni Hunt who came off the bench for the first time this season.

Despite the bold lineup change, Sac State still dealt with the early offensive struggles they’ve witnessed this season. The Hornets opened the game 2-8 from the field as Santa Clara was able to get out to an early 7-2 lead near the 16-minute mark.

“To win on the road, you gotta make your shots,” Patrick said. “You can’t have brain lapses at the end of the game if you want to beat [the other team].”

Sophomore Santa Clara guard Brandin Podziemski was the primary spark for a Santa Clara offense that started the game scorching from the field. Podziemski had nine first-half points as the Broncos’ lead at point hit 14-8 at the 12:20 mark.

After getting punched in the mouth early, the Hornets bounced back and recovered with a huge run of their own.

Through their defense, which forced six turnovers, Sac State was able to get out in the fast break and score in transition. The Hornets were able to cut the lead to 16-15 with under 10 minutes remaining in the first half. 

“Our team is very tough and that is why we’ve been battling with every team we’ve played,” junior guard Austin Patterson said. “Coach Patrick has always preached toughness in this program, so that’s what we’re about.”

Senior Center Callum McRae and senior guard Zach Chappell imposed their will in multiple ways, finding a lot of success within the pick-and-roll offense.

The tandem combined for 18 of the Hornets’ first-half points as they trailed by just two points at halftime 26-24.

Sac State came out in the second half and kept their foot on the gas, riding on the hot hands of their offense. The Hornets led by as much as five at the 10-minute mark.

Santa Clara found themselves late in the second half, looking to prove to the Hornets that they were not going to Sacramento with a win.

Behind Podziemski, the Broncos erupted on a 15-7 run to take back the lead 59-56. 

Everything just became too much to bear for Sac State. The Hornets never saw their lead return as the Broncos’ scoring put too much pressure on them. 

The Hornets lost their fourth game in a row and will be back at home for the second time this season on Wednesday, Dec. 3, against the University of Denver at 7 p.m. in The Nest.