Sac State men’s basketball suffers tough home loss to Eastern Washington

Hornets lose momentum in second half against Eagles, lose 82-63


Lucas Monteros

Senior guard Zach Chappell listens to Sac State men’s basketball coach David Patrick during timeout in an 82-63 loss to Eastern Washington at The Nest Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. The Hornets moved to 5-5 in the Big Sky Conference while Eastern Washington remains undefeated.

Nathan Smith

The Sacramento State men’s basketball team succumbed to a rough start in the first half and a flat second half leading to an 82-63 defeat at the hands of Eastern Washington on Thursday.

In their previous matchup, the men’s basketball team lost a nail biter on the road to Eastern Washington 78-75. The vengeful Hornets were looking to upset the Eagle’s conference winning streak at home.

To open the game, the Hornets offense looked smothered as senior guard Zach Chappell, senior center Callum McRae and junior guard Cameron Wilbon struggled to find open looks. On the other side, Eastern Washington capitalized on the Hornet’s six turnovers to put the score at 20-4. 

Within the first few minutes of the half, Sac State head coach David Patrick subbed out Chappell and Wilbon for senior forward Hunter Marks and junior forward Akol Mawein.

“You’re searching for answers when you’re down,” Patrick said. “We still don’t have a unit that can start the game for us, you know, and that’s a sign of a team still trying to find its way.”

Even with a nice-looking three from sophomore guard Austin Patterson and a couple of buckets inside the paint from junior forward Akol Mawein, the Hornets had fallen into a 19 point rut —  down 30-11 in the first half. 

“The sense of urgency when you score was not there,” Patrick said. “They got twelve transition baskets for the game. Without even seeing the film, nine of them would have been in the first half.” 

It wasn’t until Chappell’s heroic three-pointer as the shot clock expired that the Hornets gathered some momentum to thrive on. As Patterson and Marks drained clutch threes to help carry the team to a 17-2 run, the Hornets found themselves in the driver’s seat at the end of the first half leading 35-34. 

”It felt good,[Coach Patrick] preaches rebounding, which really got us going,” Patterson said. “Having offensive boards back-to-back got me going to get the team going and then I started getting threes after that.” 

Nevertheless, the same momentum from the first half was not shown in the second half for the Hornets. 

They found themselves in a scoring drought as Eastern Washington began to pull away with a 10-0 run. Even with the physical play from the Hornet’s defense, sophomore forward Casey Jones and redshirt junior guard Tyrese Davis for Eastern Washington found ways to earn and-one layups. 

With less than seven minutes in the game, the score had been pushed to 60-45 with all momentum swayed to the Eagles. The Hornets were never able to recover and dropped the game 82-63. 

“When it comes to the team, we have a long way to go, but we should be good by the time the conference tournament comes around,” Mawein said.