BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Senior guard Martez Harrison (Kansas City, Mo.) drained a running floater with 2.2 seconds remaining to give UMKC (2-1) a 71-69 victory over Bowling Green (0-3) in the opening game of the Bill Frack Tournament at the Stroh Center. Harrison finished with a game-high 23 points and also set UMKC’s career assists record on Saturday afternoon.
LaVell Boyd (Chicago, Ill.) added 19 points and four rebounds as the senior guards combined for 42 points. Boyd drained three 3-pointers for the second consecutive game and the 16th time in his 2-year career. Darnell Tillman (St. Louis, Mo.) tied a career-high with eight rebounds while UMKC forced 19 turnovers.
Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.) made two huge plays with a crucial go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:34 left and then grabbed an offensive rebound with 32 seconds remaining to set up Harrison’s game-winner.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” head coach Kareem Richardson said. “We had many guys with contributions. Every guy that stepped on the floor, I thought, really competed. They stuck with it, getting down there eight in the second half. I thought we defended pretty well for the most part. We got a crucial offensive rebound late to get virtually the last shot of the game where Martez hit a big shot for us.”
In a contest that featured nine lead changes and eight ties, the Roos shot 43 percent (26-for-61) from the floor and 35 percent (8-for-23) from 3-point range. UMKC outscored the Falcons 36-32 in the second half with 14 points by Harrison and 13 from Boyd during the final 20 minutes. The Roos regained the lead four times in the second half.
Harrison shot 9-for-13 from the field, 2-for-5 from beyond the arc and 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Boyd went 6-for-13 from the field, 3-for-7 from 3-point range and a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line.
With 13:24 remaining in the first half, Harrison dished out his second assist of the game to Dashawn King (Bronx, N.Y.), who drained a triple to tie the score 13-13. The 3-pointer allowed Harrison to pass fellow Kansas City native Quinton Day (2004-07) for the program assists record with the 378th of his career.
“That means a lot,” Harrison said. “Coach [Richardson] has always been preaching to me since I’ve been here that you’ve got to help other guys get better. That’s one thing that I’ve constantly worked on since I’ve been here, especially with this cast of guys as you saw today, just a great support system around me and guys making big shots.”
The Roos went on a 9-0 run early that extended to a 13-3 stretch over 5:15 to pull ahead 20-16. For the remainder of the first half, it was a back-and-forth battle that saw the Falcons hold a 37-35 advantage at halftime.
Bowling Green got off to a hot start in the second half, pulling ahead 47-39 with 16:07 remaining before UMKC began trimming the lead. Boyd drained his third triple with 15:02 left to cut the deficit to five points at 47-42. The Roos would not trail by less than five the rest of the afternoon.
Harrison gave UMKC its first lead of the second half on a layup with 9:19 remaining. Following a trey by Bowling Green, Boyd regained the lead at 57-56 with a lay-in at the 6:51 mark.
The Falcons then pulled ahead 65-61 on a 3-pointer by Matt Fox with 4:24 that was answered with a triple by Harrison with 3:40 remaining, cutting the deficit to one point.
Harrison again put the Roos ahead on a layup with 2:56 left, making the score 66-65. Following two free throws by the Falcons, Robinson drained a crucial 3-pointer from the corner in front of the UMKC bench with 1:34 remaining to put the Roos up 69-67.
Ismail Ali of BGSU tied it up at 69-69 with 1:02 left. UMKC then took possession. As the shot clock was winding down, Boyd drove to the basket but had his shot blocked out of bounds, retaining possession with 10 seconds on the shot clock. Robinson made another huge play seconds later when he grabbed the offensive rebound following another shot by Boyd.
That set the stage for Harrison’s heroics. With the shot clock off and seconds ticking down, the senior drove across the lane and put up a running floater from 10 feet away that found the bottom of the net with 2.2 seconds on the clock. Rasheed Worrell’s jumper following a full-court pass rimmed out to give the Roos their second straight victory.
“His drive was so strong,” Richardson said. “It was a strong, powerful drive, and then to have the finesse to float it up all in one [motion]. It was a very impressive drive. We’ve got great confidence in him. He’s certainly matured with his game and his decision-making.”
Antwon Lillard paced Bowling Green with 19 points. Zack Denny recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Wes Alcegaire was limited to nine points and five rebounds.
The Roos will face Murray State at 3 p.m. CT on Sunday in the second game of the tournament. UMKC closes the 3-game set with a 3 p.m. CT tipoff vs. Green Bay on Monday.
– UMKC –