The Sacramento State Hornets edged the UC Riverside Highlanders 69-67 thanks to two game-winning free throws by Dylan Garrity with eight seconds left in the non-conference game. The Hornets (4-5) thwarted a second-half comeback by the Highlanders (4-8) who briefly took a 61-60 lead with six minutes left, but the Hornets regained the lead for good by making 7-of-8 free throws in the final six minutes.
In a game marred by 49 called fouls and 63 free-throw attempts, the Hornets secured the game by making 25-of-33 free throws, compared to the Highlanders making 21-of-30.
After a first half which saw the Hornets build a 38-28 lead, the Highlanders stormed back with a 20-10 rally to knot the game at 48-all. From that point, it became a seesaw battle until the Highlanders took that brief 61-60 lead, and until the game was tied once again at 67 before Garrity clinched the game.
The Highlanders had one last chance to tie or win the game, but Steven Jones’ jumper fell short at the buzzer.
Mikh McKinney led the Hornets with 15 points, with Garrity adding 14 points. Zach Mills and reserve Nick Hornsby chipped in eight points each. Hornsby grabbed nine rebounds while Cody Demps grabbed six boards. Garrity handed out four assists to lead the Hornets.
The Hornets shot 45.5 percent (2o-of-44) from the field, 33.3 percent (4-of-12) behind the 3-point line, and 75.8 percent (25-of-33) from the free throw line. Sac State out-rebounded UCR 34-33.
Sam Finley led UCR with 20 points, followed by Nick Gruninger (12 points), and reserve Chris Patton (11 points). Lucas Devenny cleared the boards for eight rebounds, followed by Patton with seven caroms.
The Highlanders shot 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the field, 25.0 percent (4-of-16) behind the 3-point line, and 70.0 percent (21-of-30) from the free throw line.
The Hornets start Big Sky Conference play with a road game at Montana State on Thursday. Tip off is 6:05 p.m. Pacific.