Briana Scroggins / AP

North Dakota Senior Alonzo Traylor tries to make his way to the basket during the first quarterfinal game of the Big Sky Conference at Dee Events Center in Ogden on Thursday, March 13, 2014. North Dakota defeated the Sacramento State Hornets 79 to 76.

Sacramento State men, women lose Big Sky Conference tournament openers

Published: Thursday, Mar. 13, 2014 - 7:35 pm

Sacramento State’s men’s and women’s basketball seasons came to end Thursday in the opening round of the Big Sky Conference tournaments.

Despite a game-high 24 points and seven assists by Sac State junior guard Mikh McKinney, second-seeded North Dakota made 6 of 8 free throws in the final 1:09 to hold off the No. 7 Hornets men 79-76 in Ogden, Utah.

Freshman guard Gigi Hascheff had a game-high 25 points off the bench and junior guard Fantasia Hilliard had 15 points and 10 assists, but it wasn’t enough as the No. 7 Sac State women fell 86-78 to No. 2 Southern Utah in Grand Forks, N.D.

The men’s game was a back-and-forth battle with 14 lead changes and seven ties. McKinney missed a three-point attempt with six seconds let and the Hornets down 77-74. The Hornets’ Dreon Barlett grabbed the rebound and scored on a layup to make it 77-76. North Dakota’s Aaron Anderson made two free throws for the final margin.

“Today was a hard-fought, well-played game that came down to the last minute,” Sac State coach Brian Katz said in a release from the school. “We tip our hats to North Dakota; they played a little better when it mattered most.”

Sac State (14-16, 10-10 Big Sky) took its last lead 72-71 on Jordan Salley’s dunk with 3:53 left. Anderson’s layup put North Dakota (16-15, 12-8) ahead to stay 73-72 with 3:15 left.

Junior guard Dylan Garrity had 18 points and sophomore guard Cody Demps 15 points for the Hornets. Troy Huff led North Dakota with 18 points. Anderson had 16 points and four assists.

The Sac State women (18-12, 10-10) led by as many as 12 points early in the first half, but Southern Utah, which twice beat the Hornets during the regular season, stormed back and led 33-31 at the half.

The Hornets could not regain the lead from the Thunderbirds (22-8, 15-5), though a Hascheff three-pointer tied the score 38-38 with 16:22 to go.

“I liked our energy level, but we didn’t quite have enough in the tank; give them credit,” Hornets coach Bunky Harkleroad said in a release. “The first two games (against Southern Utah), they destroyed us in the paint and, ironically, we outscored them by a bucket in the paint today. We tried to dare them to shoot and they took what we gave them and made us pay, so you have to give them credit.”

Forward Margaret Huntington had 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and had five rebounds for Sac State.

Desiree Jackson had 21 points and Hailey Mandelko 20 to lead Southern Utah.

UC Davis women lose in Big West – Fourth-seeded UC Irvine outscored No. 5 UC Davis 6-2 in overtime and beat the Aggies 74-70 in the quarterfinals of the Best West Conference women’s tournament Wednesday at Long Beach State.

Sydnee Fipps scored 22 points to lead the Aggies, while Celia Marfone had 14, Kelsey Harris 12 and Heidi Johnson 10.

The Aggies, who finished the season 15-16, played without center Alyson Doherty, who was injured in their 58-57 first-round win over UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

Camille Buckley led the Anteaters with 34 points and 17 rebounds. UC Irvine (17-14) will play top-seeded Cal State Northridge in the semifinals today at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

Read more articles by Bill Paterson

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