Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sacramento State Alone In First For Now

When everyone wakes up on Friday morning and checks the Big Sky standings (I assume this is something that people do), they will see Sacramento State alone atop the Big Sky at 3-0 after their 63-61 win over North Dakota. Eastern Washington and Idaho are currently 2-0, but the Hornets are the lone team with three wins.

It took a tough battle on the road to get the win, but the Hornets ended the game on a 9-3 run, and got a Mikh McKinney floater with 2.6 seconds left to give them the win. Among the notables, Sac State's 9-5 overall mark and 3-0 Big Sky mark is their best start since 2005-06, and they are 3-0 in the Big Sky for the second time since they joined the conference in the 90s.

There is nothing terribly impressive about North Dakota right now, though Grand Forks is always a tough place to go win, but I thought the way they won was encouraging. Their offense was bogged down a bit, and UND was able to do an excellent job on McKinney and Dylan Garrity, who combined for 23 points on 8/20 FG, which is a slow night for them.

However, the Hornets got others guys to step up. Senior forward Zach Mills played 35 minutes, and scored 17 points, including hitting 3/4 from downtown. Alex Tiffin had 12 points and 5 rebounds off the bench. Defensively, UND was 2/10 from the floor, and even though they shot the ball well overall, the Hornets didn't allow them second chance opportunities.

It was a full team win, and for a team that at times can be overly reliant on their two man backcourt, that is an even better sign than the fact that it happened to bring them to 3-0.

Follow me on Twitter @bigskybball


  1. It was a total grinder tonight. Hornets started off very slow (only 2 points in the first 8 minutes of the game) and that is where UND had a chance to bury us. Good defense by both teams but the Hornet bench was the clear cut difference.

    Seriously, did anyone doubt that McKinney's last second circus shot was going to drop? Absolutely clutch. The Hornets will be playing with house money in Greeley Saturday night.

  2. Sac State is underrated. Solid team. Championships are won with the backcourt and the the Hornets can't do much better with their 1-2 punch there. #1NAUFan

  3. After looking over the stats for Sac States loss to Northern Colorado it appears that NOCO has the deeper bench. The Bears bench had so much more playing time and out scored Sac States bench by 15. I do think that Sac State will be in the tournament at the end of the year but if their bench does not show improvement against good teams they will have an early exit from the tournament. Just my two cents.