KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (4-8) hit the road on Wed., Dec. 19 when they head to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on Central Michigan (8-2) at 6 p.m. CT.
About the Roos
The Roos return four starters from last year’s squad in senior Aleer Leek, juniors Xavier Bishop and Jordan Giles and sophomore Brandon McKissic, while Broderick Robinson is the lone departing starter. UMKC will also welcome back Marco Smith, Marvin Nesbitt, Jr., Steve Dulley and Tony Jackson from last season’s team. Redshirts Danny Dixon, Kaleb Roy and Brandon Suggs will each see their first action in the Blue & Gold, as will incoming juniors Rob Whitfield and Jamel Allen.
Early on this season, Bishop tops the Roos at 16.8 points, while Whitfield is at 13.1. On the glass, Dixon (5.1) leads the squad, while Bishop’s 4.6 assists also top the team.
CMU enters the matchup with an 8-2 record on the season, picking up wins over fellow WAC members Chicago State and CSU Bakersfield. On the season, the Chippewas are averaging 85.9 points, while allowing only 74.3. Larry Austin Jr., leads the team at 19.6 points, while Kevin McKay (16.3), Shawn Roundtree Jr. (14.9) and David DiLeo (10.1) are also in double figures.
Last Time Out
An 11-0 run in the middle of the second half put UMKC (4-8) in the lead for good as the Roos won a non-conference affair against the McNeese Cowboys (3-7), 80-67, tonight from Municipal Auditorium. Brandon McKissic fueled the spurt with his first points of the game, a string of seven in-a-row, and after his conversions the Roos led 55-44 at the 10:52 mark of the game. McKissic was part of a four-player scoring machine. The Ferguson, Mo., native posted 12 points. Game-high totals went to Rob Whitfield, owner of five three-pointers, as he collected 19 points. For the ninth-straight game, Xavier Bishop put in double-figures with 16 points. Jordan Giles added 12 points.
Central Michigan holds a 2-1 lead in the series after winning 92-86 last season on Dec. 19 in overtime in Kansas City. The Roos’ victory came in 2005 in Kansas City, 71-63, while the following season they fell 85-68 in Mount Pleasant.
Roo Player of the Week
Rob Whitfield made nine three-pointers in the two games last week and now has hit at least four treys in a game on five occasions this year. He tied a career-high with five threes in win against McNeese. With 15 and 19 points last week, he has now hit 10-plus points in six-straight games and 9-of-12 games. He had team-high 19 points against McNeese and ranks No. 36 in NCAA in three-point field goal percentage (.464) and No. 24 in total three-pointers made (34).
UMKC won back-to-back road games for the first time since 2014-15 when they beat Utah Valley 66-59 in Orem on Jan. 31. 2015 and Chicago State 61-50 in Chicago on Feb. 14, 2015 with their victories over Purdue Fort Wayne and South Dakota.
In 2017-18, the Roos finished 10-22 overall and 5-9 in WAC play. On the season, UMKC picked up nonconference DI wins over UT Martin, Manhattan and USC Upstate, while the WAC wins came at home to CSU Bakersfield, Seattle U, Utah Valley and Chicago State and a road victory over UTRGV.
The Roos were picked to finish seventh in the WAC Preseason poll by both the coaches and the media, while New Mexico State and Grand Canyon were chosen first and second in both polls.
Xavier Bishop was named to the Preseason All-WAC Second Team by both the conference’s head coaches and the media. Last season, Bishop started 28 games for the Roos, leading the team at 11.6 points and 3.3 assists, while adding 2.9 rebounds and nearly a steal a game. Three times he topped the 20-point mark, including a career-high 25 points at Incarnate Word on Dec. 16.
Head Coach Kareem Richardson
Kareem Richardson enters his sixth season at the helm of the UMKC program in 2018-19 and has led the Roos to unprecedented success during his tenure. He was named the head coach at UMKC on March 19, 2013, becoming the sixth in the Division I era at UMKC. Richardson guided the 2016-17 UMKC squad to the second-most victories in a season (18) in school history. The Roos were selected for a postseason tournament for the first time in the program's 30-year Division I history, which included a victory over Green Bay in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational. In 2016-17, UMKC set program records for points (2,691), field goals (911), rebounds (1,213), defensive rebounds (860), 3-pointers (315) and free throws (554). The Roos finished second in team history in assists (451) and third in steals (236). UMKC posted the longest winning streak for the program in 12 years from Jan. 31 – Feb. 18, 2017. The Roos got off to the program's best start in 15 years and advanced to the semifinals of the WAC Tournament for the third straight year.
The Blue & Gold returns to Kansas City on Dec. 22 when they host Elon at Municipal Auditorium on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.
– UMKC –