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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

Sac State makes finishing touches for Portland State and Idaho

Hornets are conditioning aggressively ahead of Big Sky matchups
Junior+guard+Austin+Patterson+takes+a+jump+shot+against+Pacific+Union+on+Tuesday+Nov.+14.+Patterson+scored+17+points+and+made+five+three-pointers.
James Fife
Junior guard Austin Patterson takes a jump shot against Pacific Union on Tuesday Nov. 14. Patterson scored 17 points and made five three-pointers.

Big Sky Conference play is in full swing and the Sacramento State men’s basketball team is 2-6 in conference and sits in second-to-last place in the Big Sky.

They’ll go head-to-head on the road against Portland State on Saturday and face Idaho at The Nest on Monday.

Portland State is on a two-game winning streak, beating Montana 72-46 and Montana State 94-91. Montana recently beat Sac State 67-70 in a close match on Jan. 27.

Although Idaho is on a seven-game losing streak, their last win was on Dec. 28 against Sac State 61-58. This rematch is a chance for Sac State to show their development since then.

Most of the Hornets’ games have been close calls that have been decided by small margins. Little issues like not running on and off defense a lot and pressing harder on the court need to be addressed.

The game against Montana showed that Sac State’s defense was a major part of why the Hornets were able to stay in that game. They were able to hold Montana at 38% shooting from the field during a four minute stretch in the second half.

They also had 11 offensive rebounds against Montana dominating them and outrebounding the Grizzlies 34-22.

RELATED: Sac State calls it close but extend losing streak to four

“The fact that we’re taking care of the ball has been very encouraging,” Sac State head coach David Patrick said. “The teams are pretty much even from top to bottom.”

In the past four games, the Hornets lost the ball 40 times altogether, averaging 10 turnovers a game. Before those four games, they would lose the ball over 12 times a game.

Most of the Big Sky Conference teams are even among one another with the only outlier being Eastern Washington, who leads the conference by one game over Northern Arizona.

Patrick said that he was uplifted by what he sees from his team when going up against the more veteran teams in the league.

“We’re the youngest team by far,” Patrick said. “The young guys gotta learn to finish.”

Sac State in these past games has been inconsistent when holding a lead. Against Montana, they were up two points in the first half, 41-39. But they crumbled in the second half, ultimately losing 67-70 .

Not being able to hold a lead could stem from a lack of pressure and conditioning. Junior guard Austin Patterson said he believes that they need to have more of a competitive mindset coming into these next two games.

“As cliche as it sounds it’s literally just the little things,” Patterson said. “They may seem little, but they’re actually huge in conference games.”

Patterson said that their preparations have been kicked up to another level with the whole team being more aggressive while at practice.

Junior guard Zee Hamoda has been a strong point for the Hornets this season. Hamoda leads the team in points per game, with 13 and a 34% clip in three-pointers made.

“We believe in our ability to play, and our talent and system will get us there,” Hamoda said.

Although they are a young squad, with four freshman starters,This hasn’t stopped the team from working together to put more effort out there on the court.

As game time inches closer and closer, the squad feels as if they have a chip on their shoulder.

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About the Contributor
Kai Arellano, Sports Staffer
(he/him) Kai Arellano is a junior transfer from Los Medanos College, majoring in journalism. He has won fourth place in the 2023 State Publication Awards for Illustration presented by the Journalism Association of Community Colleges. This is also his first semester on The State Hornet. In his spare time he enjoys watching baseball and competing in mixed martial arts.
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  • Jeremiah BustosFeb 3, 2024 at 10:09 pm

    What a great article by Kai Arellano! Very insightful.

    Reply