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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Three game losing streak ends with nail-biter against Davis

Sac State secures another win in the long-standing rivalry with 69-63 win
The+five+on+the+floor+for+Sac+State+huddled+late+in+the+fourth+Sunday%2C+Nov.+26%2C+2023+against+UC+Davis.+Sac+State+improved+their+overall+record+against+the+Aggies+to+70-51+with+a+69-63+win.
Malachi Parker
The five on the floor for Sac State huddled late in the fourth Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023 against UC Davis. Sac State improved their overall record against the Aggies to 70-51 with a 69-63 win.

After a three-game skid in the SoCal Challenge tournament, Sacramento State prepared to take on their biggest rival in UC Davis.

After the Tulane loss the two following games were hard pills to swallow as the Hornets had a double-digit lead in the second half of both and lost both by a combined seven points.

“There was nothing I liked about Tulane, it happens,” Sac State head coach David Patrick said. “You play an older group of guys that have won a lot together, that can happen.”

Patrick said the team had a players-only meeting after the 92-57 loss at Tulane.

“There were times where we would get into disagreements because we’re competitors,” junior guard Austin Patterson said. “We battled and stayed connected and that was very important for us.”

Long scoring lulls in the second half and turnovers cost Sac State two potential wins.

“We’ve talked about finishing the task at hand,” Patrick said. “The same thing could have happened again, but they took it amongst themselves to not allow that.”

Late game scenarios are something every basketball player role plays in their head. Junior guard Zee Hamoda showed how his scenario plays out on Sunday in a 69-63 win against UC Davis.

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Sac State could not have had a worse start against Davis. They committed five turnovers before scoring their first bucket. On the other end, senior guard Elijah Pepper came out hot as he scored the first eight points of the game for Davis, connecting on two contested 3-pointers and a mid-range jump shot.

Despite the slow start and a number of turnovers, Sac State kept the game close by controlling the boards and allowing zero points in the paint in the first half.

“The turnovers were more self-hurt,” Patrick said. “We did a great job defending the paint which was an emphasis, and we were able to take advantage of our size.”

Sophomore forward Duncan Powell took over to start the second half, as he put up 10 points in the first eight minutes.

Sac State began to clear out one side of the floor and allow Powell to make the right play.

The Aggies had no choice but to send help to stop Powell. The Hornets’ ball movement led to open jump shots that looked like shooting practice for everyone else. Getting the big men on the interior rather than the perimeter is an adjustment Patrick said they made at halftime.

Despite the offense flowing more fluidly, Davis was not going to hand the game over. Pepper, who ended the game with 22 points along with junior guard Ty Johnson, who added 21, had their foot on the gas pedal.

With Davis down six halfway through the second half, Johnson went on an 8-0 run by himself with a flurry of mid-ranges to put Davis up by two.

Senior guard Brandon Betson took notice and responded by scoring seven straight points for Sac State, capping it off with a three-pointer that put Sac State up 59-58 with just under five minutes to go.

Sac State then scored six points in a row and found themselves up seven with 90 seconds left and a win well within grasp. Davis responded by scoring five points in 36 seconds to cut the Sac State lead to two, forcing the Hornets to take a timeout.

The plan was to get the ball into the hands of Hamoda and live with the result.

Hamoda took the ball from the top of the key, gave his defender one hesitation move with the shot clock winding down to three seconds, pulled up from downtown and hit nothing but the bottom of the net as he gave Sac State a five-point lead with 11 seconds left in the game.

“Time was winding down and I needed to show how I can handle situations like that,” Hamoda said. “I watched the film and learned from my mistakes and that’s how we grow.”

Hamoda then ran down to the defensive end and blocked a shot attempt by Johnson, thus securing their second win of the season.

“Obviously we weren’t perfect in the Davis game,” Patterson said. “We flushed away the past and it felt really good to see the hard work and words we preached this week paid off.”

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About the Contributor
Malachi Parker, Visuals Staffer
(he/him) Malachi is a fourth-year student, majoring in journalism and is in his second semester at The State Hornet and will be a part of the visuals staff. He hopes to go into a job as a sports journalist or photographer.
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