Sacramento State (5-1) at Arizona State (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wells Fargo Arena (14,198) -- Tempe, Arizona. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Sacramento State 3-1, Arizona State 4-0. Away Record: Sacramento State 2-0, Arizona State 0-0. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, Arizona State 1-1. Conference Record: Sacramento State 0-0, Arizona State 0-0. Series Record: Arizona State leads 1-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Arizona State Sun Devils will look to continue their dominance at home when they host the streaking Sacramento State Hornets at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.
For the first time in program history Sacramento State has opened a season 5-1 after a 77-68 victory over Division II foe Dominican. That was the second straight win for the Hornets, whose only loss came at home against UC Davis (87-76). This is the first of back-to-back road games for the Hornets who will play at San Jose State next.
Arizona State also boasts a 5-1 record entering this game including a percent 4-0 mark at Wells Fargo Arena. With a 67-54 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff in its last contest the Sun Devils bounced back from an 87-73 loss to No. 11 Creighton during the Las Vegas Invitational. The Sun Devils have plenty of opportunity to continue cultivating its homecourt success with seven of its next eight games in Tempe.
These teams met for the first and only time during the 1995-96 season. In that matchup Arizona State posted an 85-73 win over the Hornets at home.
Sacramento State had trouble putting Dominican away as the game featured nine ties and 11 lead changes. The final tie came with 4:22 remaining with the teams locked at 61-61. However the Hornets then went on a 10-0 run over the next three minutes to gain separation. Sacramento State shot 47.3 percent in the game and benefited from a 19-8 edge on points from the free-throw line. John Dickson had a big night with 29 points.
En route to its historic start, Sacramento State has been posting some gaudy offensive numbers. The Hornets are scoring 79.8 points per game which is the 27th best mark in the nation. The Hornets aren't shooting the lights out by any means but still turn in a respectable 45.2 percent from the floor. Dickson (17.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg) has led the way in the scoring barrage and is one of four players scoring in double figures. Dylan Garrity (15.2 ppg, 5.7 apg) has played well with his ability to score and distribute. Garrity also leads the team in field-goal percentage, knocking down 58.1 percent of his shots. Mikh McKinney (14.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.7 apg) adds to the scoring and helps on the boards and in distribution. Konner Veteto (10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is a nice option off the bench, while Joe Eberhard (7.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) is the top guy on the glass.
Arizona State looked sluggish out of the gate against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and led by just two points (27-25) at the end of the first half after recording only seven field goals. The Sun Devils heated up in a big way in the second half, nailing 58.3 percent of their shots from the floor, while draining six 3-pointers. Carrick Felix stuffed the staff sheet with 21 points, six rebounds, four assists and a pair of blocks and steals.
The Sun Devils have also been scoring well during their hot start. Arizona State is scoring 77.2 points per game and shooting 46.2 percent from the floor. ASU has also been playing well on defense, with a +11.2 scoring margin, while teams shoot just 37.1 percent from the field. Jahii Carson (19.0 ppg, 5.5 apg) is the top offensive option on the squad with his ability to score and set up his teammates. Felix (15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) is a more than capable scorer and rebounder, while center Jordan Bachynski (11.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 5.3 bpg) has been an absolute force on the inside. Jonathan Gilling (9.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg) is also a frontcourt player that has the capability to go for a double-double.
While these teams' records indicate that this matchup is an even one, Arizona State has a clear advantage. The Sun Devils have more playmakers up and down the roster and play better on both ends, while getting this contest at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona State 78, Sacramento State 66
12/01 10:37:42 ET