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Sacramento State (14-15) vs. North Dakota (15-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 13, 4:05 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Dee Events Center (11,500) -- Ogden, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: Sacramento State 11-3, North Dakota 11-3. Away Record: Sacramento State 3-12, North Dakota 4-9. Neutral Record: Sacramento State 0-0, North Dakota 0-2. Conference Record: Sacramento State 10-10, North Dakota 12-7. Series Record: Series is tied, 3-3.

GAME NOTES: The Sacramento State Hornets have little experience playing in postseason tournaments. On the other side, North Dakota's senior class has plenty of postseason appearances. The two teams tangle this afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

The Hornets are seeded seventh in this event after finishing conference play at 10-10, their record for most wins since joining the league. They ended the season tied with Eastern Washington for the final spot in the tournament. Only seven of the 11-member teams qualify, and Sacramento State got in based on holding the tiebreaker over EWU. There are zero players with postseason experience on the Hornets' roster. In fact, Sacramento State is making its first postseason showing since reaching the semifinals of the 2006 tournament.

Sacramento State, which is 2-4 all-time in this event, has never won the Big Sky tourney. The Hornets, who joined the conference prior to the 1996-97 season, is 3-3 all-time against North Dakota, with the home team winning each time. This will be the first time the teams will meet on a neutral floor. UND won in Grand Forks 82-71 on Jan. 23, but then lost 71-65 in Sacramento on Feb. 20.

The Hornets snapped a three-game skid with an 84-59 home win over Montana State last Saturday. Mikh McKinney's 19 points boosted the Hornets to the tournament-clinching triumph. Cody Demps added 17 points for Sacramento State, while Eric Stuteville and Dylan Garrity tallied 12 points apiece, with Garrity adding six assists. Jordan Salley hauled in 10 rebounds for the hosts.

McKinney (16.3 ppg), who has scored in double figures in 13 straight games, is averaging 14 points and five assists vs. North Dakota. Garrity (13.0 ppg) is shooting 45.8 percent from 3-point range. Demps (7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg) started every game this year for the Hornets, who essentially need to be in the lead with five minutes remaining in this game. Sacramento State is 13-0 when leading at the five-minute mark, and 1-15 when trailing at the same juncture. Defense has been huge for the Hornets, as they lead the Big Sky by limiting opponents to 33.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Stuteville, a freshman, has come up big lately by averaging 10.3 points and 4.6 rebounds and shooting 61.2 percent over the last seven contests.

North Dakota's senior class has a 6-1 mark in postseason tournament play over the past three seasons. Two of those flurries resulted in championships in the Great West Tournament, in 2011 and 2012. UND finished Big Sky play with a 12-8 mark for the second consecutive year. Last year, North Dakota defeated Southern Utah (69-52) in the quarterfinals before losing by two points to Weber State. Four seniors with postseason experience, Troy Huff, Jamal Webb, Aaron Anderson and Josh Schuler, have combined to score an impressive 45.5 points in postseason action.

Huff (19.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Jaron Nash (10.8 ppg), Anderson (10.7 ppg) Webb (7.7 ppg) and Alonzo Traylor (6.6 ppg) make up the starting lineup for North Dakota. Webb is the team's all-time leader in steals with 233 and is second in assists with 382. UND had a four-game win streak stopped with a 77-71 setback at Southern Utah a week ago. Webb poured in a game-high 18 points, Anderson scored 14 and Nash chipped in with 12.

A win would lift Sacramento State into the semifinals against top-seeded Weber State tomorrow night. Should UND come out on top, Brian Jones' squad would play against the second-highest remaining seed. The Hornets have already beaten Weber State once this season, on Garrity's 75-foot prayer in overtime on Feb. 1. UND though should be able to ride the postseason experience of its senior class to advance to the semifinals.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota 74, Sacramento State 71

03/13 10:31:22 ET

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