Sacramento State lost 70-60 to Stanford on Monday night, yet Hornets coach Brian Katz couldn’t help but feel as if his program came out a winner with its trip to the Bay Area.
For one, the Hornets (6-4) had Stanford (6-4) on the ropes much of the game – they led by nine points in the first half – before foul trouble for Sac State helped the Cardinal close with a 14-4 run.
The performance against Stanford – coupled with the Hornets’ season-opening 66-63 upset of Arizona State – worked out pretty well for Sac State in its Pacific-12 Conference matchups. The Hornets were competitive, and both games gave them rare TV exposure (on the Pac-12 Network) and earned the school $165,000 in appearance money.
But Katz said he was most impressed with how his players reacted after the loss to Stanford. They were crushed that they lost to a team they held to 38.5 percent (25 of 65) shooting.
“In the past, the kids would be happy to be close,” Katz said. “Clearly, our guys were upset on Monday. They have evolved. They really don’t care what the (opponent’s) name on the jersey says anymore.”
Officials whistled the Hornets for 23 fouls to 13 for taller Stanford. Senior co-captain Cody Demps and 7-foot junior center Eric Stuteville fouled out. Junior forward Nick Hornsby played most of the game with four fouls, and sophomore guard Marcus Graves also had four fouls.
NCAA officials are calling games tighter this season, and teams are learning to adjust on the fly. Foul trouble also partly can be attributed to the Hornets’ losses to Portland and UC Davis.
Katz said the Hornets have to do better.
“We came into that game with 199 fouls and Stanford 167,” Katz said. “They’ve clearly adjusted better than we have. We’re 10 games into the season. We’ve got to learn to adapt.”
Katz said Stuteville had the best game of his career in scoring 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He scored nine points during a 14-4 run that pulled the Hornets into a 56-56 tie with 5:47 to play. But 39 seconds later, Stuteville was on the bench with his fifth foul.
Sac State also received solid games from Graves (11 points, three assists), sophomore Justin Strings (10 points, nine rebounds), Hornsby (eight points, eight rebounds) and Demps (eight points, eight assists).
“Clearly, we were a play or two away from winning that game,” Katz said. “Marcus had a couple of three-pointers that went in and out, and one could have given us the lead at a pretty critical time.”
The Hornets missed senior guard Dreon Bartlett, who saw his consecutive-games streak snapped at 78 after suffering a concussion in practice two days earlier. He watched the game from the bench. Katz said he expects the Hornets’ three-point shooting threat to be back Monday night against National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school Pacific Union (4-9) of Angwin at The Nest.
3 Home losses by the UC Davis men’s basketball team this season after the Aggies went 14-0 at home last season
Aggies seek answers – UC Davis coach Jim Les hopes a few days of rest and a two-game trip will help the Aggies rebound from a four-game losing streak that included Tuesday’s 68-51 loss to Idaho at the Pavilion, the Aggies’ third home defeat this season after going 14-0 last season.
UCD (4-6) will play at Seattle (5-7) on Monday and at Boise State (8-4) on Wednesday.
Against Idaho (8-5) of the Big Sky Conference, the Aggies were physically outplayed and starters Josh Fox, Brynton Lemar, Neal Monson and Lawrence White combined for just 15 points. The Aggies shot 35 percent (14 of 40). Starting junior point guard Darius Graham was the only UCD player in double figures, scoring 13 points.
“We’re a group that’s not executing, and this is probably a good time for a break to do a little soul-searching,” Les said.