The Sacramento State Hornets needed to win and get some help Saturday night to secure their first Big Sky Conference tournament appearance in eight years.
The Hornets (14-15, 10-10 Big Sky) demolished the Montana State Bobcats Saturday night at The Nest, 84-59, eliminating Montana State (14-17, 9-11) from postseason consideration.
Sacramento State tied with Eastern Washington for the seventh spot in the conference standings—the top seven teams qualify for the tourney—but won the tiebreaker over the Eagles with their split against second-place North Dakota in the regular season; the Eagles were swept in two games by North Dakota.
The Hornets opened the game with an 18-8 lead and were up 38-21 by halftime.
Mikh McKinney had 19 points for the Hornets, Cody Demps added 17, Dylan Garrity finished with 12 points and six assists, Eric Stuteville also scored 12 points and Nick Hornsby went for 10 points, six assists and four steals. Jordan Salley grabbed 10 rebounds.
Montana State was 20-for-50 (40 percent) overall, 4-for-14 (28.6 percent) from long range and 15-for-19 (78.9 percent). Sacramento State was 35-for-71 (49.3 percent), 8-for-21 (38.1 percent) and 6-for-10 (60 percent).
The Hornets dominated the glass 41-30—including 15 on the offensive end—and had just six turnovers. The Bobcats gave the ball away 13 times.
Sacramento State will be the No. 7 seed at the Big Sky Conference tournament and will open in the quarterfinals against second-seeded North Dakota in Ogden, Utah, on Thursday. Conference regular-season champion Weber State is hosting.