RECAP: Sac State men’s basketball defeats idaho State 70-65 on senior night

McRae leads Hornets to bounce back victory in home regular season finale


Cristian Gonzalez

Senior center Callum McRae spectates his teammates in front of Idaho State defender Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in a 70-65 win over Idaho State. McRae led the Hornets win with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

Hugo Quintanilla

Regardless of the outcome of the Sac State men’s basketball team’s game against Idaho State Saturday, the Hornets assured one thing on their Senior Night matchup with the Bengals — they were not going to beat themselves.

“We made less of the same mistakes,” Wilbon said. “We were making the same mistakes over and over. Small things that we knew were completely fixable. I feel like tonight, we did a better job focusing on the small things.”

Coming into Saturday evening’s matchup, the Sacramento State men’s basketball team had lost six games in a row.

Behind the heroics of senior center Callum McRae on senior night, the Hornets broke their skid, defeating Idaho State Bengals 70-65, at the Nest.

“It’s just special that my teammates trust me to take that role,” Senior Callum McRae said. “I had more shots than pretty much everyone else. I was just glad that they trust me to get the job done.” 

While also holding the Bengals junior center Brayden Parker to only five points, McRae led the Hornets with 21 points and 15 rebounds. 

Sac State had a slow start to the match versus the Bengals, despite junior guard Gianni Hunt hitting two of three, three-point field goals. 

The Hornets struggled to score, going into halftime trailing 34-33. 

Coming into the second half, McRae, senior guard Zach Chapppell and junior guard Cameron Wilbon led the way and the Hornets took an eight-point-lead with 15 minutes left in the game. 

The Bengals offense was poor in the first 10 minutes of the second half, only scoring 13 points while the Hornets put up 19. 

Their talents merged, Wilbon, his senior teammate McRae and junior forward Akol Mawein were able to keep the Hornets ahead of the Bengals. 

“I made a statement with the lineups,” Head Coach David Patrick said. “I played all the young guys because the effort was what was lacking for us. Tonight, the effort of the older guys stood out and got us across the line, so I think the message was felt.”  

As the Hornets made their way back into The Nest, the seniors had an incredible impact, playing a big role in their win over the Bengals and snapping the six game losing streak. 

The Bengals’ defense was unable to stop Hornet senior center McRae, who stands at 7-foot-1. 

“I’m not just the biggest, I think I’m one of the most skilled,” McRae said. 

Sac State’s go-to ball handlers struggled dealing with the constant double teams and on-ball pressure from the Bengals entering the final minute of the matchup.

The Hornets quickly had to pivot from offense to defense to keep the Bengals from scoring. The result was two fouls from the Bengals.

McRae and Chappell went to the free throw line in the last six seconds of the match — each going two-for-two. They helped the Hornets seal their lead, defeating the Bengals by five points.

Idaho State had a chance to tie with less than 30 seconds remaining. They got called for a five-second violation, gifting the ball back to Sac State — costing the Bengals the game.

The Hornets will now rest before their three-game road trip, which starts in Bozeman, Montana to face Montana State on Thursday Feb. 23.

“I feel like now we got that win out of the way,” Wilbon said. “Now I feel like we’re going to start rolling as a team.”