KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (6-15, 1-4 WAC) was unable to overcome the visiting Grand Canyon Lopes (14-6, 4-1 WAC) on Saturday evening, falling 86-59 to the Western Athletic Conference preseason favorite.
UMKC pressed out of the gate and forced a GCU 10-second violation in the back court, followed by a five-second call on an out of bounds play moments later. A layup from Aleer Leek (Juba, South Sudan) at the 17-minute mark helped UMKC get on the board in a highly defensive game.
The Lopes went on a 12-2 run over a nearly four minute span, before a layup by Marco Smith (Kansas City, Kan.) helped bring some life to the Roos, but GCU quickly crushed that with a 3-pointer at the other end to jump out to an 18-8 lead.
Out of a timeout called by UMKC head coach Kareem Richardson, Brandon McKissic (Ferguson, Mo.) hit a 3-pointer to end a scoring drought for the Roos. The basket made by the freshman marked the eighth-consecutive trey hit by the newcomer in the fourth-straight game.
Isaiah Ross (Davenport, Iowa) knocked down a trio of treys over the span of two minutes to help start an offensive push by UMKC. A three-point play by Xavier Bishop (Springfield, Ill.) brought the Roos back within single digits of the Lopes.
Coming out of the final media timeout, GCU scored eight-straight points to jump back out to a 17-point lead over the Roos. The two teams went back-and-forth, but the Lopes would hold the 47-32 lead after the first 20 minutes of action.
Coming out of the locker room, Tony Jackson (Montgomery, Ala.) knocked down a 3-pointer to restart UMKC’s offense, while the Roos defense forced a turnover on the other end. The newcomer continued to push the basketball at GCU’s defense, scoring four more points to cut GCU’s lead back down to single digits.
A coach-called timeout by the Lopes didn’t stop the Roos, as Broderick Robinson (Grand Junction, Colo.) drained a trey from downtown to make it a five-point game. GCU responded with three-straight field goals, before Ross’ fourth 3-pointer of the game brought it down to a six-point game.
At the 13:30-mark, Bishop went coast-to-coast past three GCU defenders to help the Roos continue to cut away at the Lopes lead. A layup by the Lopes brought them back out to an eight-point advantage with 11:27 remaining.
A power-up play by Leek allowed the junior to convert a pair at the charity stripe, before a step-back jumper by Smith brought the Roos within four at the midway point of the second half. A 7-0 surge over the span of nearly two minutes extended the Lopes lead back out to double-digits before a drive at the basket by Bishop brought it back down.
Bishop continued to give life to UMKC’s offense, converting the 3-point play to get up to a team-high 19 points for the Roos. The sophomore guard would finish the night with 23 points – just two shy of his career high – and four assists.
The Lopes jumped back out to a 12-point lead going into the final media timeout and would continue to control the final minutes, grabbing the victory over the Roos.
UMKC will play its final nonconference game against William Jewell on Tuesday, Jan. 23. Tickets for all UMKC home games are available by visiting www.UMKCkangaroos.com or by calling 844-UMKC-FAN.
– UMKC –