Sacramento State (14-14) at Montana State (12-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, March 9, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Worthington Arena (7,250) -- Bozeman, Montana. Television: None. Home Record: Sacramento State 10-4, Montana State 9-6. Away Record: Sacramento State 4-10, Montana State 3-10. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, Montana State 0-0. Conference Record: Sacramento State 8-11, Montana State 9-10. Series Record: Montana State leads, 25-15.
GAMES NOTES: A pair of teams fighting for a spot in the upcoming Big Sky Conference Tournament will square off in the season finale on Saturday when the Sacramento State Hornets clash with the Montana State Bobcats at Worthington Arena.
For Sacramento State a few things would need to happen on Saturday for the team to manage its first Big Sky Conference Tournament bid since 2006. With a win the Hornets would need a loss by Northern Arizona or Southern Utah. They can also make it with a loss, although they would then need both Northern Arizona and Southern Utah to lose as well. The Hornets are 14-14 overall and trying to end a regular season above .500 for the first time since joining the Division I level in 1991.
Montana State's path to one of the final seven spots in the Big Sky Conference Tournament has a much clearer path as all it needs to do is win on Saturday to grab a slot. The Bobcats have won two of their last three games after a five- game losing streak to improve to 12-16 overall and 9-10 in league action.
Sacramento State would be just fine with a repeat of the outcome of the first meeting between these teams this season. The Hornets escaped with a 62-57 victory at the Nest in that matchup for their third win in the last four games against the Bobcats. Montana State now leads the all-time series, 25-15.
On Thursday night Sacramento State went up against conference-leading Montana and came out on the short end of a 63-52 decision. The Hornets managed to connect on just 35.8 percent of their shots from the field, including a 3- of-17 showing from beyond the arc in the losing effort.
Sacramento State has fought to just about even on the scoreboard this season with a minor negative scoring margin (-0.5). The Hornets have done so by failing to score points in an efficient manner as they shoot the third worst percentage from the field among Big Sky teams (.416), while scoring the second fewest points per game (65). John Dickson (12.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Mikh McKinney (12.3 ppg) are each hovering around 40 percent shooting as the leading scoring options for the Hornets. Dylan Garrity (11.6 ppg, 5.2 apg) runs the show and leads the conference in assists.
Montana State earned a critical 83-79 win in overtime against Northern Arizona on Thursday night. The Bobcats led by as many as 14 points in the second half but had just eight field goals and shot 30.8 percent from the floor to allow the Lumberjacks to rally. The Bobcats scored the first four points in the extra session though and held on by nailing 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the last 20 seconds.
Antonio Biglow (11.0 ppg, 3.2 apg) had one of his best games of the season against the Lumberjacks as he poured in a season-high 27 points. Normally a complementary scorer, Biglow's showing was his first with more than 20 points in a game since November. Paul Egwuonwu (9.1 ppg, 6.6 rpg) also stepped up his play against NAU with a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double. It was the 6- foot-9 center's second double-double in the last three games and fourth overall this season. Flavien Davis (11.3 ppg) put in 18 points to go with nine rebounds in the contest as well. Christian Moon (13.3 ppg) is normally the top scoring option but he struggled with just 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting on Thursday. Xavier Blount (10.5 pg) is expected to miss his second straight game for the Bobcats for undisclosed reasons.
Like many of the other Big Sky Conference games on Saturday there is a lot on the line for both of these teams. If Montana State can get another strong showing up and down the roster on its home floor then the Bobcats should clinch a spot in the postseason.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Montana State 72, Sacramento State 64
03/09 10:45:59 ET