The Sacramento State men advanced to the Big Sky Conference tournament quarterfinals, defeating Idaho State 91-76 in the first round Tuesday night at Reno Events Center.
After 10 lead changes, the seventh-seeded Hornets pulled away in the second half, outscoring the 10th-seeded Bengals 50-33.
In the regular season, Sac State started conference play 0-3 but finished 9-9, winning five of its last eight games.
Now the Hornets (13-17) will try to extend their momentum at the conference tournament, where they went 1-1 the last two seasons. They will face second-seeded Eastern Washington (21-10, 13-5) at 5:35 p.m. Thursday. In the teams’ only regular-season meeting, the host Eagles won 77-72 on Feb. 2.
Idaho State (6-26, 3-15) led 43-41 after a back-and-forth first half.
6 Wins in Sacramento State’s last nine games
Nick Hornsby and Marcus Graves led Sac State with 18 points each, and Hornsby grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Justin Strings scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half.
The Hornets scored their most points since beating Montana 92-83 at the Nest on Jan. 21. They also dominated inside, outrebounding the Bengals 46-28.