Northern Colorado shocks frigid Sac State 69-53

Sacramento State was as frigid as the temperatures outside The Nest on Thursday night as the Hornets fell 69-53 to Northern Colorado in the Big Sky Conference men’s basketball opener.

The Hornets shot 32.4 percent (22 of 68) from the floor and 16.7 (4 of 24) percent from 3-point range and trailed from start to finish in losing for the first time at home in four games this season.

It was a step back for a Hornets team that has struggled with its shooting touch most of the season but looked much better in an 88-86 double overtime win over Abilene Christian at home Dec. 17 and a 74-66 loss at Washington State in which the Hornets led late on Dec. 21.

Sacramento State (3-9) missed shots in droves and threw up several air balls against Northern Colorado’s active, collapsing zone defense. The Bears were red hot for most of the first half in shooting 53 percent (16 of 30) and building a 39-25 lead. Sac State closed within 41-31 90 seconds into the second half but quickly fell behind by as many as 26 points.

“I didn’t see this coming,” Sac State coach Brian Katzsaid. “I’m very, very disappointed. They were better than us, quicker than us in every area.”

Guard Jordan Davis, averaging 20 points this season, led Northern Colorado (5-7) with 21 points, five assists and four rebounds and guard DJ Miles had 11 points.

Forward Justin Strings topped Sac State with 13 points and had six rebounds, and freshman guard Izayah Mauriohooho-Le’afa had a season-high 10 points. But guard Marcus Graves, coming off back-to-back 21…

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