BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Senior guard LaVell Boyd (Chicago, Ill.) scored 19 second-half points to lead UMKC (3-1) past perennial mid-major powerhouse Murray State (2-2), 85-74, on Sunday at the Stroh Center. The Roos have won their first two games of the Bill Frack Tournament.
“I’m so proud of the guys today,” head coach Kareem Richardson said. “I really challenged these guys in terms of knowing this was going to boil down to a toughness factor, rebounding and trying to win the points in the paint. It wasn’t always the prettiest, but I thought our guys responded really well.
“We never panicked. We’ve always talked about that. [With] our style of play and Murray State’s, it’s going to be a game of runs. It was fun. It was an awesome college game.”
Boyd finished with a game-high 21 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes of action. He finished 6-of-14 shooting from the floor, 2-for-6 from 3-point range and 7-for-8 from the foul line.
In the second half alone, Boyd went 5-for-11 from the field, 2-for-5 from beyond the arc and 7-for-8 from the free throw line in 15 minutes played.
“He got us going there early in the second half,” Richardson said. “He gave us a little bit of a cushion. He responded well. He had to sit a lot there in the first half with the foul trouble, but again, there’s no panic when he isn’t in the game. Obviously, we want him on the floor, but we have guys that can come off the bench.”
Nine other Roos entered the scoring column over the final 20 minutes and all 12 players that saw the floor scored points in the game.
“All the wins we’ve had this season so far have been team wins,” Boyd said. “We just have a different type of chemistry this year.”
Fellow senior guard Martez Harrison (Kansas City, Mo.) finished with 16 points, four assists, four rebounds and three steals. He had 12 points and four assists in the first half alone.
For the game, UMKC shot 46 percent (29-for-63) from the field and 83 percent (19-for-23) from the free throw line. The Racers shot 43 percent (29-for-67) from the floor and 75 percent (9-for-12) from the foul line.
The Roos outscored Murray State 40-20 in bench points, led by seven from both Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan) and Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.). UMKC also held a 40-36 advantage in points in the paint.
Early on, UMKC’s defense made a statement. The Roos held Murray scoreless for the game’s first 3:13 and pulled ahead 14-8 before the Racers battled back to take a 29-21 lead. UMKC answered with a run of its own and went to halftime leading 36-34.
Boyd opened the second half with five straight points and seven over the first two minutes. The game was back-and-forth and tied 50-50 with 13:24 remaining before the Roos went on a 7-0 run and would not relinquish the lead the remainder of the contest.
Murray pulled with one at 57-56 with 9:30 left and 61-60 with 8:11 remaining but UMKC held strong.
The Roos went on a 9-2 run over 2:27 to pulled ahead 70-62, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers from Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) and Leek.
Boyd stretched the lead to nine points on a fast break layup with 3:42 remaining. After Murray pulled within four points, Robinson beat the shot clock to drain his second crucial 3-pointer in as many days to extend the lead to 77-70 with 2:08 left.
Following a defensive stop, Boyd found Kyle Steward (Detroit, Mich.) on an alley-oop dunk that again stretched the lead to nine points and essentially put the game out of reach. Boyd was a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line over the final 1:04 to seal the victory.
Duane Clark (St. Louis, Mo.), Dashawn King (Bronx, N.Y.) and Broderick Newbill (Kansas City, Mo.) each contributed six points. Clark finished with two dunks, including a thunderous follow-up early in the second half.
UMKC closes the tournament weekend with a 3 p.m. CT tipoff vs. Green Bay on Monday. The game will be available on ESPN KC 99.3 FM.
– UMKC –