Southern Utah (5-7) at Sacramento State (6-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, January 7, 10:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Hornets Nest (1,200) -- Sacramento, California.
Television: None. Home Record: SUU 4-1, Sacramento 4-2. Away Record: SUU
1-4, Sacramento 2-3. Neutral Record: SUU 0-2, Sacramento 0-0. Conference
Record: SUU 3-0, Sacramento 1-2. Series Record: Southern Utah leads, 13-6.
GAME NOTES: A perfect 3-0 in their new conference, the Southern Utah
Thunderbirds will try to keep their record in the Big Sky unblemished as they
clash with the Sacramento State Hornets on Monday night.
The Thunderbirds opened the season with four straight defeats against some
top-notch competition, but the team has turned it around against conference
foes of late. Thanks to a 90-77 victory over Northern Arizona on the road on
Saturday, SUU has now won two straight and three of the last four games
overall, although that one setback was a lopsided 72-47 outcome against Denver
not that long ago.
As for the Hornets, they are moving in the opposite direction of SUU at the
moment, dropping two straight and four of their last five contests overall.
Sacramento State, which won three in a row and five of its first six games of
the season (mostly against questionable opponents), was last in action on
Thursday when it bowed to the aforementioned Lumberjacks in a 57-50 final.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, the Hornets have a
Southern Utah shot a sensational 62.5 percent from the field in the first half
against NAU and then continued to shoot well after intermission at 50 percent,
not to mention 27-of-30 at the free-throw line in the double-digit road
victory. Damon Heuir led four players in double figures as he tallied 30
points, converting not only 4-of-6 behind the 3-point line, but also 14-of-16
at the charity stripe. Before fouling out, Jackson Stevenett chipped in 14
points, followed by Julian Scott and Wade Collie with 13 and 10 points,
respectively, for a squad that overcame an unsightly 22 turnovers with 56.8
percent accuracy from the floor. Because of the scoring burst in the last
game, Heuir has taken over the scoring lead for SUU with his 14.5 ppg, just
ahead of Stevenett (14.1 ppg) who continues to struggle from 3-point range at
only 26.9 percent. Even though the T'birds came alive on offense against NAU,
the team is still producing a mere 65.3 ppg, far below the 73.1 ppg the group
is giving up.
A 3-pointer by Dylan Garrity just 10 seconds into the meeting with the
Lumberjacks put Sacramento State up early, but that advantage was short-lived
as the hosts promptly went on a 9-0 run to move ahead on the way to the seven-
point decision in Flagstaff. Joe Eberhard and John Dickson both tallied 12
points for the visitors, the former capturing a game-high 10 rebounds as well,
but it made little difference as the team shot just 34.0 percent from the
floor, including 4-of-14 beyond the arc, and had four more turnovers (20) than
made baskets. Having led the team in scoring in more than half of their games
thus far, Dickson accounts for 15.5 ppg and is also among the team leaders
with 5.5 rpg, which might be enough of a reason for him to dial down his
efforts behind the 3-point line where he's taken more shots (46) than anyone
else by hit on only 32.6 percent. Mikh McKinney (12.8 ppg) and Garrity (12.6
ppg) may not shoot the ball as often from the perimeter, but they've combined
to make 31-of-68 to this point.
The fact that Sacramento lost to NAU and Southern Utah won against the 'Jacks
by double figures might lead one to believe that the Thunderbirds should have
the advantage in this meeting, but that's probably not the case as long as the
home team can dictate the tempo.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Sacramento State 68, Southern Utah 61
01/07 10:43:35 ET
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