KANSAS CITY, Mo. – UMKC (8-10, 1-1) men’s basketball earned a hard-fought 83-79 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley (9-10, 1-1) Saturday night at Municipal Auditorium. The Roos shot 51 percent from the field, 50 percent from 3-point range and dished out a season-high 19 assists on 27 made field goals. LaVell Boyd (Chicago, Ill.) scored 17 points, grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and passed out six assists. Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) also finished with 17 points, tying a career-best point total.
“I think we really grew [tonight],” head coach Kareem Richardson said. “It was a different group of guys when they made their run. They were still upbeat, energetic, cheering each other on and being positive with it. This game will hopefully make us grow.
“I’m just so excited. It’s all for these guys. The excitement that they had in the locker room is an awesome feeling because they’ve stayed with it. Hopefully we can build from this.”
The game was a back-and-forth battle throughout with impressive runs by both teams, featuring 10 lead changes and a tie score six times. UMKC led for a total of 27:03.
Dashawn King (Bronx, N.Y.) started things out with a thunderous dunk on a baseline drive on the first offensive possession. King scored a season-high 12 points for 4-for-5 shooting. He added a season-best four assists to go along with three rebounds.
After the Roos pulled ahead 15-12, UTRGV then went on a run to grab a 26-23 lead. UMKC answered with a run of its own to grab a 38-36 halftime lead. Ross scored 13 points in the first 20 minutes, going 5-for-8 from the floor and 3-for-6 from beyond the arc. King was 4-for-4 with 10 points, three rebounds and three assists in the opening half.
UMKC came out of the break shooting the ball well. The Roos increased the lead to 55-48 with 14:08 remaining. UTRGV’s powerful offense responded by tying the score 65-65 with 6:12 left and pulled ahead 71-65 on a tip-in by Xavier McDaniel, Jr. with 5:07 to play.
Richardson called timeout and his team responded with an 8-0 run, highlighted by a fast break dunk from Broderick Newbill (Kansas City, Mo.) that ignited the hometown crowd. McDaniel answered again with a jumper to tie the score 73-73 with 3:24 on the clock.
Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.) made a free throw and Newbill added a layup to push the lead to three points with 1:47 remaining. The Vaqueros came back again to tie it 76-76 when Nick Dixon completed a 3-point play with 1:38 left.
Robinson then drained a clutch 3-pointer from the corner to break the tie with 1:19 left. Newbill set him up with a beautiful pass for the assist. From there, the Roos defense held strong, making two crucial stops. Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.) connected on a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left and Boyd sealed the victory by stretching the lead to four with 11 seconds remaining.
UMKC held a 20-12 advantage in second-chance points and outscored UTRGV 34-13 in bench points.
McDaniel finished with a game-high 20 points for UTRGV while Lew Stallworth added 16 points and Dixon finished with 15.
UMKC continues Western Athletic Conference play with a trip to Seattle U on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT on the WAC Digital Network.
– UMKC –