KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UMKC (7-9) got off to a hot start and led USC Upstate (10-7) by 13 at halftime but the Spartans shot 65 percent in the second half to come back to beat the Roos 84-75 at Municipal Auditorium on Monday evening. LaVell Boyd (Chicago, Ill.) led UMKC with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) and Dashawn King (Bronx, N.Y.) also scored in double figures for UMKC.
“It was certainly a tale of two halves,” head coach Kareem Richardson said. “We guarded in the first half, but in the second half we were nonexistent defensively.”
UMKC held a 40-27 halftime lead after the Roos shot 52 percent (13-for-25) from the floor and 46 percent (6-for-13) from beyond the 3-point arc in the opening 20 minutes. Upstate was limited to only 29 percent (9-for-31) shooting from the field in the opening half, including an 0-for-9 mark from distance.
Boyd led all scorers at the break with nine points. Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.) added eight points, two triples and four rebounds in the first half. Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.) ignited the crowd with a running half-court shot at the halftime buzzer.
Following intermission, Upstate chipped away at the lead before pulling ahead 55-54 on a jumper by Mike Cunningham with 8:39 remaining. From there, the Spartans continued to drain shots and led by at least five points over the game’s final five minutes.
Cunningham scored 23 of his game-high 24 points after the break. He finished 8-for-9 from the field, 4-for-5 from 3-point range and 3-for-4 from the foul line in the second half. Malik Moore added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Spartans while Michael Buchanan recorded a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Roos shot 44 percent (24-for-55) from the floor, 35 percent (8-for-23) from beyond the arc and 70 percent (19-for-27) from the free throw line for the game.
UMKC begins Western Athletic Conference play on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. against New Mexico State in downtown Kansas City. The game will be televised by American Sports Network and on KSMO-TV in the local viewing region. The Roos will wrap up the 3-game home stand with a 7:05 p.m. tipoff vs. UT Rio Grande Valley on Saturday.
– UMKC –