GAME NOTES: Idaho State tries to close out the month of January just as it began, with back-to-back wins, as the team challenges the Sacramento State Hornets in Big Sky Conference action tonight.
The Bengals began the month with consecutive wins over Portland State and Eastern Washington in conference play. but since then the team has won only twice in six chances. ISU did manage to snap a two-game slide last weekend with a 69-64 triumph at home versus Montana State, making them an even 4-4 in league play.
As for the Hornets, they too have stumbled a bit over the last month, winning just two times in eight tries. The squad is coming off a 72-62 loss at Northern Colorado last Saturday, marking their second straight setback and the third in four games. As a result of the lackluster play recently, Sacramento is next-to-last in the league standings heading into play tonight.
The Bengals lead the all-time series with Sacramento State by a count of 26-15, although the squads have split the season series the last three years. ISU is set to host the Hornets at Reed Gym on March 1.
Chris Hansen scored 28 points and pulled down eight rebounds as the Idaho State Bengals captured a 69-64 win over the Montana State Bobcats in Big Sky play last weekend. Also having a strong offensive outing for the Bengals was Andre Hatchett with 20 points, while Tomas Sanchez pitched in with 12 before fouling out. In addition to holding a huge advantage at the stripe, 26-10, the Bengals also won the battle of the boards, 42-35.
Unfortunately for Hansen, as well as he has been playing, the wins just are not coming along at an even pace. Hansen is putting up 17.4 ppg on the season overall, 19.1 ppg in conference play, and is clearly the top 3-point threat for the program with his 42.5 percent accuracy out on the perimeter. Sanchez, who is also a solid option on the outside as he hits shots at a 40.3 percent clip, accounts for not only 14.8 ppg but also 75 assists.
Ironically enough, the Hornets were also outscored 26-10 at the free-throw line over the weekend during their loss at Northern Colorado. Unlike the Bengals, Sacramento State was easily handled on the glass as well, coming up on the short end of a 36-20 margin. Cody Demps and Mikh McKinney accounted for 16 points apiece in the losing effort, while Dylan Garrity pitched in 14 points before picking up his fifth personal foul.
Over the course of eight conference games, the Hornets are shooting a solid 47.3 percent from the field and a decent 34.7 percent behind the 3-point line, but where they are coming up short is at the free-throw stripe where they are scoring an average of just over 12 points per contest. Garrity (13.9 ppg) and McKinney (12.1 ppg) have combined to keep the rest of the offense involved in the action with a collective 58 assists.
Given Idaho State's inability to notch wins on the road this season, chances are the team will have trouble in enemy territory again tonight.
Game Date and Time