Feb 11, 2019
SACRAMENTO — Sacramento State shot 59% (32-of-54) from the field, four Hornets scored in double figures, and the team never trailed on the way to a 78-67 home victory over Portland State on Monday evening at the Nest.
There were three ties during the first seven minutes of the contest and Sacramento State never led by more than seven points the majority of the first half. The Hornets were able to gain some separation with a 17-7 run spanning the final five minutes to take a 43-31 lead into halftime. Sacramento State, which converted 10 of its first 12 field goal attempts of the game, finished the half a blistering 71% (17-24) from the field. One of those shots was a half court buzzer beater by Chibueze Jacobs which sent Sacramento State into halftime with the 12-point advantage.
Portland State got no closer than nine points of the Hornet lead the entire second half despite the Vikings being in the bonus at the 13:39 mark. Sacramento State opened up a lead as large as 17 points with 7:11 remaining before eventually settling for the 11-point victory.
The Hornets’ field goal percentage was their highest against a Div. I opponent this year, and the Hornets had big advantages in points in the paint (48-14) and fast break points (14-3). Sacramento State finished the game with 20 made layups and a dunk against Portland State’s overmatched defense.
With the victory, the Hornets, who have split their last eight games, improved to 10-11 overall and 4-8 in the Big Sky. Tonight marked the first of a four-game homestand, and a stretch that will see the team play six of its final nine regular season games at home. Sacramento State is 6-3 inside the Nest, and each of those three losses have come by five points or fewer.
Portland State dropped its third straight while falling to 9-14 overall and 4-8 in the conference. Sacramento State has won four of the last five meetings between the two schools dating back to the 2016-17 season.
The Hornets were able to win comfortably despite Portland State converting on five more 3-pointers and 10 more free throws. PSU finished shooting just 36% (19-53) from the field, but made 9-of-24 from long range and 20-for-24 from the free throw line. Sacramento State had 16 assists on its 32 made buckets while shooting 4-of-9 from the 3-point line and 10-for-15 from the charity stripe.
Osi Nwachukwu had a season-high 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 shooting from the field to go with a block and a steal. Nwachukwu had 13 of those points on 6-for-6 shooting in the first half. Ethan Esposito (6-10 FG) had 16 points and six rebounds despite playing 19 minutes, Marcus Graves (7-12 FG) had 16 points and five assists, and Bryce Fowler had 10 points, four assists and a game-high three steals.
Joshua Patton had nine points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, Jacobs had six points, four rebounds and two blocks, and Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa had six points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal.
All but two Hornets shot at least 50 percent from the field, and the two that didn’t were both 3-for-7 from the floor.
Michael Nuga led Portland State with a game-high 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the 3-point line while Holland Woods had 11 points and five assists.
Tonight was the first of a stretch that will see the Hornets play three home games over a six-day span. That includes games on Thursday vs. Southern Utah and Saturday vs. Northern Arizona. Both games will tip at 7:05 p.m.