Sacramento State (8-6) at Idaho State (3-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 17, 9:05 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Holt Arena (8,000) -- Pocatello, Idaho. Television: None. Home Record: Sacramento State 5-2, ISU 2-2. Away Record: Sacramento State 3-4, ISU 1-7. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, ISU 0-3. Conference Record: Sacramento State 3-3, ISU 2-4. Series Record: Idaho State leads, 25-14.
GAME NOTES: Jockeying for position continues in the Big Sky Conference, as the Idaho State Bengals play host to the Sacramento State Hornets at Holt Arena on Thursday night.
Sacramento State is in the midst of a four-game road trip, having started it with a loss at Portland State (87-69) and a win over Eastern Washington last Saturday (60-53). The Hornets' latest victory improved their overall record to 8-6, and their conference mark to 3-3.
Idaho State's season got off to a dreadful start, losing 11 of its first 12 games. It recently snapped out of that slump with conference victories over Northern Colorado (86-63) and Southern Utah (54-53), but it fell right back into its losing ways on Monday night with a 70-54 home setback to Weber State.
Idaho State leads the all-time series with Sacramento State, 25-14. The teams have split the last four meetings.
The Hornets made 43.6 percent of their field goal attempts in their latest game, but they were able to hang on for the seven-point win by holding EWU to just 39.6 percent shooting. Konner Veteto tallied 12 points and eight rebounds in the triumph, while Mikh McKinney also netted a dozen points. Joe Eberhard added 11 points, Dylan Garrity had 10 points and six rebounds, and John Dickson recorded eight points, 10 rebounds and a pair of blocked shots. On the season, Sacramento State has achieved a winning record by boasting positive margins in scoring (plus-1.6), rebounding (plus-0.9) and turnovers (plus-0.6). Dickson paces the squad with 13.9 ppg while adding 5.6 rpg and a team-best 1.4 bpg. McKinney (12.8 ppg) and Garrity (12.5 ppg) have been strong scorers and distributors, combining to hand out more than eight assists per contest. Veteto rounds out the double-digit scorers with 11.1 ppg while also grabbing 6.8 rpg.
Idaho State was no match for perhaps the best team in the Big Sky last weekend, as it got outshoot from the field by Weber State, 55.8 percent to 39.6 percent, and it made just two 3-pointers compared to 10 for the Wildcats. Chris Hansen scored 15 points in the setback, while Andre Hatchett and Sherrod Baldwin added 10 points apiece. The Bengals have gotten used to low point totals this season. They shoot just 38.9 percent from the floor, and not only does their scoring average of 52.4 ppg rank last in the Big Sky, but they rank above only Grambling State (48.5 ppg) in Division I. Melvin Morgan is the team's leading scorer with 12.2 ppg, but he connects on only 20.3 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Hansen (10.8 ppg) has struggled from the field (.352), and Tomas Sanchez chips in with 9.9 ppg and a team-high 3.8 apg. In addition to a poor shooting output this season, ISU continually gets outmuscled on the boards, sporting a league-worst rebounding margin of minus-8.6.
Idaho State has been playing better of late, and could sneak out a win at home. That said, expect Sacramento State to continue its solid play and claim a hard-fought road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Sacramento State 67, Idaho State 58
01/17 10:37:01 ET