Sac State men’s basketball crushed by Arizona No.17
Hornets lose in blowout 105-59 in second PAC-12 clash of the season
The Sacramento State men’s basketball team saw Saturday’s game against the University of Arizona ranked No.17 in Tucson as a great opportunity to grow.
After a 105-59 loss to the nationally recognized Wildcats at McKale Memorial Center, some Hornets say there is a lot to be taken from the game.
“There’s always something you can learn from a game, no matter what the score is,” said senior forward Bryce Fowler.
The Hornets (3-3) had a tough job trying to contain the Wildcats (6-0) who entered Saturday’s game after a surprise win over the formerly ranked 4th-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
Despite the ranking and talent profile of the Arizona roster, Sac State won at the forefront of the game. Senior guard William FitzPatrick hit a three in the first two minutes in response to an Arizona layup to give the Hornets a 3-2 lead early on.
However, that would be Sac State’s only lead for the remainder of the night as the Wildcats unleashed a 40-minute basketball assault.
Almost 19 minutes into the first half, Arizona erupted in a two-minute 17-4 run fueled by total interior dominance. Whether it was lob dunks, basket practices, or second chance opportunities, Arizona was doing laps around the Sac State defense to open things up.
“You gotta give credit where credit is due, you gotta shake [Arizona’s] hands, ”said head coach Brandon Laird. “They are big, they are physical, they are strong, they are athletic, they defend strong. There’s a reason they’re the [No. 17] classified team in the country.
One of the themes of the game was the blatant size advantage Arionza had over Sac State, with the big Wildcats dominating early in the rebound department. The Hornets were crushed on the boards in the first half 27-13.
The height mismatch was so obvious that coach Laird rejected a formation with both crosses just to get a chance to fight on the glass.
“I think tonight was the first time we played Jonu (Jonathan Komagum) and Hugo (Hugo Clarkin) together,” Laird said. “We were trying to do something tonight that we had never tried before. We have to find a way to be bigger and better protect the rim.
At one point, Arizona’s lead reached 16 with a 26-10 score about 10 minutes into the first half, and Sac State continued to play their best: the hustle and bustle.
While they didn’t fill the stat sheet with major offensive numbers, the Hornets showed themselves by diving for loose balls, playing physical and close defense, and never seemed to give up when the Wildcats did. a huge offensive game.
“The most important thing is that this game is not going to hurt our confidence and that none of us will feel different from our team,” said Fowler.
The second half saw the Arizona offensive clinic continue and Sac State had no response. For the Hornets, the nail in the coffin was hammered after the Wildcats began to knock down three, with Arizona shooting 66 percent of downtown in nine attempts.
Even after the lead increased, Sac State kept pushing. Junior forward Cameron Wilbon, who started Saturday’s game averaging just 6.6 points per game, finished with 14 points, the team’s top scoring in all facets.
“Over the summer and the preseason I worked a lot,” said Wilbon. “I feel like tonight I showed that. I showed that I can do a lot of different things on the pitch. My teammates always give me so much confidence because they know what I’m capable of, and tonight I show it.
The Hornets would lose this game, but insist that developing that experience will be essential.
“It was a great experience for us tonight to come here and compete with them,” said Laird. “I think for us it’s about learning and continuing to develop from that experience.”
The Hornets’ next game is at the Hornets Nest on Thursday, December 2, 2021 against the University of Montana at 7 p.m. ET.