Sacramento State (5-2) at San Jose State (4-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Events Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: None. Home Record: CSUS 3-1, SJSU 2-1. Away Record: CSUS 2-1, SJSU 2-2. Neutral Record: CSUS 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record: CSUS 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 19-2.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Golden State rivals are set to collide as the Sacramento State Hornets swarm The Events Center for non-conference competition against the San Jose State Spartans.
Sacramento State dropped to 5-2 overall last Saturday when it was defeated 90-70 by Arizona State on the road. Although two of the Hornets' wins came over non-Division I foes, they have notched a pair of impressive victories over Utah (74-71) and Central Arkansas (71-68). Coach Brian Katz also saw his team taken down by UC Davis (87-76) earlier this season, but its five wins are currently the most by any Big Sky Conference program. Sacramento State is one of just two teams from the Big Sky with a winning record as it enters its final non-conference test before league action begins. Katz has his team filling it up early on with an average of 78.4 ppg on 44.5 percent shooting from the field. The Hornets' opponents are netting 73.3 ppg.
George Nessman's Spartans will be looking to pick up their third consecutive win after earning a 73-64 decision over UC Davis on Wednesday. SJSU took down a pair of Big Sky opponents already with wins over Weber State (68-67 OT) and Montana State (82-74) which avenged losses from the 2011-12 campaign. Nessman's squad is now 4-3 overall with its three losses coming courtesy of New Orleans, Houston, and Kansas. The Spartans are decent on the offensive end as well with an average of 73.9 ppg. Their opponents are producing 68.3 ppg on 39.6 percent shooting from the floor.
This will be the 22nd encounter between these California rivals on the hardwood. SJSU holds a 19-2 all-time series lead after picking up a 79-67 victory in last year's meeting on Feb. 18, 2012.
The Hornets were unable to keep up with the Sun Devils in their bout with the Pac-12 program their last time out. Arizona State held a 47-36 edge in the rebounding battle, scored 12 more points in the paint, and tallied 25 second chance points in the contest. Sacramento State made 40 percent of its field goal attempts and turned the ball over only nine times in the contest. Five different players scored in double-figures with John Dickson leading the pack with 12 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore point guard Dylan Garrity was close behind with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting and a team-high four assists. Dickson is ranked second in the Big Sky with 16.6 ppg and is tied for the most rebounds on the team with 42 (6.0 per game). Garrity is contributing 14.6 points and is second in the Big Sky with 5.4 assists per outing. Mikh McKinney (13.6 ppg) and Konner Veteto (10.1 ppg) are both carrying double-digit scoring averages into this one. Senior swingman Joe Eberhard is off to a slow start with only 7.7 ppg on 38.6 percent shooting from the floor, but he showed as a junior he can be an effective scorer (11.1 ppg, 50.2 percent FG).
SJSU showed its ability to restrain its opposition by limiting UC Davis to just 38.6 percent shooting from the floor and forcing the Aggies into 15 turnovers. The Spartans allowed only 22 points in the paint and grabbed 10 more rebounds than their opponent. Senior guard James Kinney has been sensational so far this season and he continued to impress by scoring a game- high 27 points his last time out. Kinney is the sixth leading scorer among Division I players with 22.8 ppg and is also swiping three steals per outing as well. Forward Chris Cunningham is near a double-double average (11.3 ppg, 9.6 rpg) and D.J. Brown is netting 11 ppg with an impressive 95.7 percent conversion rate at the free throw line (22-of-23).
This should be a shootout between teams that know how to fill it up. The Hornets have a few different options to try to slow down Kinney, but he will most likely find a way to pour in more than 20 once again. However, Garrity is one of the most underrated point guards in the country right now. The sophomore floor general will need to start winning games like this one to make a name for himself.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 81, Sacramento State 77
12/08 10:33:16 ET