OMAHA, Neb. – UMKC put together a late run to make things interesting in an 89-82 loss at No. 22 Creighton on Friday evening in the season opener. In front of 16,686 fans at the CenturyLink Center, the Roos outscored the high-powered Bluejays 48-34 in the second half and went on a 23-7 run over 9:23 in the closing minutes to cut the deficit to single digits.
“We’ll walk out with a sense of accomplishment in terms of our second half defensive performance,” head coach Kareem Richardson said. “We went small to create more havoc and turnovers. I’ve got to give those guys credit. The smaller lineup gave us energy and we made a push there. We made it interesting for sure.”
Four UMKC players scored in double figures, led by senior guard Martez Harrison (Kansas City, Mo.), who finished with 17 points, a career-high five steals, four assists and three rebounds.
“His outward leadership is turning into a big positive for us,” Richardson said. “He’s able to play both ends. His five steals were tremendous.”
The Roos shot 44 percent (30-for-69) from the field, 47 percent (9-for-19) from 3-point range and 87 percent (13-for-15) from the foul line.
Creighton shot 51 percent (30-for-59) from the floor, 40 percent (10-for-25) from beyond the arc and 68 percent (19-for-28) at the charity stripe.
Duane Clark (St. Louis, Mo.), Dashawn King (Bronx, N.Y.) and Darnell Tillman (St. Louis, Mo.) all scored in double figures with 10 points each. Tillman added seven rebounds while Clark finished with five boards.
For King, it was his 13th career double figures scoring performance while Tillman notched his third as both are in their second seasons with the program. Clark was making his NCAA debut.
Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.) scored nine points in his first collegiate game while fellow freshman Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) added eight. LaVell Boyd (Chicago, Ill.) also scored eight points. He and Ross each drained two treys.
The Roos and Bluejays were tied 38-38 in points in the paint while UMKC held a 38-19 advantage in bench points and a 14-13 lead in points off turnovers.
Marcus Foster led Creighton with a game-high 19 points, including four 3-pointers. Maurice Watson, Jr. finished with 17 points and nine assists.
UMKC’s home opener vs. Drake is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday at Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City.
– UMKC –