Sacramento State (7-7, 4-5) vs. Southern Utah (14-3, 7-2)
America First Event Center, Cedar City, Utah; Saturday, 2 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Southern Utah looks for its fifth straight win over Sacramento State at America First Event Center. The last victory for the Hornets at Southern Utah was an 88-83 win on Jan. 12, 2017.
VETERAN PRESENCE: Senior leadership could play a big role in the outcome of this game. Tevian Jones, Maizen Fausett, John Knight III and Dre Marin have combined to account for 61 percent of Southern Utah’s scoring this year and 44 percent of the team’s points over its last five games. For Sacramento State, Ethan Esposito, Bryce Fowler, Christian Terrell and William FitzPatrick have collectively accounted for 68 percent of all Sacramento State scoring, including 79 percent of the team’s points over its last five games.
BIG SKY IMPROVEMENT: The Hornets have scored 76.1 points per game across nine conference games, an improvement from the 62 per game they managed in non-conference play.EFFECTIVE ETHAN: Esposito has connected on 16.7 percent of the 30 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 2 of 10 over the last five games. He’s also made 80.5 percent of his foul shots this season.
WINLESS WHEN: Sacramento State is 0-5 when scoring fewer than 69 points and 7-2 when scoring at least 69.
UNDEFEATED WHEN: The Thunderbirds are 11-0 when they hold opposing teams to 74 points or fewer and 3-3 when opponents exceed 74 points. The Hornets are 5-0 when recording at least 11 offensive rebounds and 2-7 when they fall short of that total.
GET OUT AND RUN: The opportunistic Southern Utah offense has averaged 73.9 possessions per game this season, ranking the Thunderbirds 28th nationally. Sacramento State has operated at a slower pace and is averaging only 66.2 possessions per game (ranked 311th).
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