CHENEY, Wash. – Sacramento State had its seven-game winning streak snapped and first place in the Big Sky Conference slip away Thursday night in a 64-61 loss to Eastern Washington.
Sac State didn’t lead and trailed by 16 points with seven minutes remaining. Even with Mikh McKinney scoring 14 of his 21 points in the second half, it was not enough to stop the Eagles.
The Hornets shot 31 percent in the first half when they were down by as many as 10 points. They trailed 31-24 at halftime.
“I think in the first half we kind of got rattled,” Sac State guard Cody Demps said. “I’m not really sure why we didn’t really play our game. There was a lot of standing around. We usually move the ball pretty well and I think that’s what we did in the second half. That’s why we got better shots and started making more.”
Sac State opened the second half with a 7-2 run, cutting the Eagles lead to 33-31. Eastern Washington rallied back with a 13-2 run over the next three minutes.
The Eagles converted 12 of 23 three-point attempts.
“Going into this game, (coach Brian Katz) knew that it would be a game of runs by the way they played and how many threes they make,” said Demps, who finished with six points.
The Hornets’ press defense slowed the Eagles in the second half, creating nine turnovers.
After a 16-2 run, Sac State cut its deficit to 60-58 with 1:35 remaining.
Garrett Moon extended Eastern Washington’s lead to 62-58 with a layup.
On the next possession, McKinney was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws with 4.7 seconds to go.
The Hornets fouled Eastern Washington’s Drew Brandon on the inbound pass, and Brandon made both free throws with 3.1 seconds to play to make it 64-61.
Sac State had one more opportunity but threw the inbound pass away.
“It’s always tough to travel in the Big Sky,” McKinney said. “They got the same deal when they played at our place.”