MANHATTAN, Kan. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (1-2) fought until the final buzzer, but ultimately fell 72-51 to the Wildcats (2-0) at Bramlage Coliseum on Tuesday night.
“I thought we defended well the whole game,” head coach Kareem Richardson shared. “I told our guys we need to defend like that minus the fouls. If we defend like that we will eventually get offense. We will tweak some things that need to be there but if we defend like that we will have a lot more W’s in the due process.”
Sophomore guard Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) connected on a three to put UMKC out in front to start the game. Back-to-back buckets by Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan) gave the Roos a 7-4 lead at the first media break.
Ross’ second 3-point basket of the game brought UMKC back within three points of Kansas State at the 10:25 mark. It was a defensive battle on the court, as both the Roos and the Wildcats held each other without a point over the next four minutes.
Leek connected on a pair of free throws to tally his fifth and sixth point of the game and keep UMKC within three points. The Wildcats responded with a bucket at the other end, but a turnover by Kansas State, and steal by Jordan Giles (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), converted into Brandon McKissic’s (Ferguson, Mo.) first points of the game.
Kansas State jumped out to its largest lead of the half – seven points – with 2:32 remaining and closed on a 13-2 run to hold the 34-20 advantage at the break.
Giles remained perfect at the line, sinking a second pair of free throws to get UMKC on the board out of halftime. The defensive battle continued, as the Roos allowed just four points to start the second half.
Ross drained his season-high fourth 3-pointer on a turnover by the Wildcats and steal by McKissic. UMKC continued to drive at the Wildcat defense, drawing 14 fouls in the final 20 minutes and making 21 trips to the charity stripe, converting 17-of-26 free throws for the game. The Roos have been consistent at the line, shooting 65 percent or better in its first three games.
Ross led the way for the Roos, matching a season-high 12 points, all from behind the 3-point arc. Bishop dished out a team- and season-high four assists, while Marvin Nesbitt Jr. (Chicago, Ill.) pulled down a team-high five rebounds for the second-consecutive game in just nine minutes of action. Giles went a perfect 5-for-5 from the line, while Leek and Robert Knar (Mundelin, Ill.) also knocked in a pair of charity shots.
The Roos will return to Municipal Auditorium in downtown Kansas City on Nov. 16 to host Loyola at 7:05 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available for Thursday’s contest.
– UMKC –