Sacramento State (7-6, 4-4) vs. Southern Utah (13-3, 6-2)
America First Event Center, Cedar City, Utah; Thursday, 9 p.m. EST
BOTTOM LINE: Southern Utah looks for its fourth 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.
PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE: Senior leadership could play a big role in the outcome of this game. Tevian Jones, Maizen Fausett, Dre Marin and John Knight III have collectively accounted for 61 percent of Southern Utah’s scoring this year including 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 combined to account for 67 percent of all Sacramento State scoring, including 84 percent of the team’s points over its last five games.
STEPPING IT UP: The Hornets have scored 77 points per game against Big Sky opponents thus far, an improvement from the 62 per game they managed against non-conference opponents.EFFECTIVE ETHAN: Esposito has connected on 17.2 percent of the 29 3-pointers he’s attempted and has made 2 of 12 over his last five games. He’s also converted 79.5 percent of his foul shots this season.
STREAK STATS: Southern Utah has won its last 11 home games, scoring an average of 88.8 points while giving up 64.5.
PASSING FOR POINTS: The Thunderbirds have recently used assists to create buckets more often than the Hornets. Southern Utah has 54 assists on 103 field goals (52.4 percent) across its previous three outings while Sacramento State has assists on 40 of 82 field goals (48.8 percent) during its past three games.
DID YOU KNOW: The opportunistic Southern Utah offense has averaged 74.4 possessions per game this season, ranking the Thunderbirds 22nd nationally. Sacramento State has operated at a steadier pace and is averaging only 66.3 possessions per game (ranked 310th).
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