KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (5-9) closes out the 2018-19 nonconference schedule when it heads north to Omaha, Neb., to take on Creighton (8-4) on Thu., Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. CT in Chi Health Center Omaha.
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 16.7 points, while Whitfield is at 13.4. On the glass, Dixon (4.6) leads the squad, while Bishop’s 4.5 assists also top the team.
Creighton is 8-4 overall, including wins over No. 16 Clemson and defending conference champions Montana and Georgia State, while playing a challenging schedule that has already featured eight teams that won 22 or more games a year ago. They rank third in three-point percentage (.445), fourth in field goal percentage (.518) and fourth in three-pointers made per game (12.2), and return eight lettermen and two starters from last year's team that finished 21-12 and tied for third in the BIG EAST Conference with a 10-8 league record. The Bluejays advanced to its fifth NCAA Tournament in the past seven seasons, where it fell to eventual Elite Eight qualifier Kansas State.
Last Time Out
UMKC men’s basketball (5-9) used a 53-point first half and tough defense to propel the Roos to a 95-59 victory over visiting Elon (4-9) University this afternoon at Municipal Auditorium. The two teams played for the first time in history. Jamel Allen was one of six Roos in double figures with a career-high 18 points. Brandon McKissic and Marvin Nesbitt Jr., each scored 15, Xavier Bishop and Rob Whitfield each posted 13 and Jordan Giles chipped in 10. Nesbitt Jr., led the Roos with seven rebounds. It’s the second time this month UMKC had six players hit double-digits.
UMKC trails in the all-time series, 3-9, including 0-7 in Omaha. The last meeting came on Nov. 11, 2016 when the Bluejays won 89-82.
Roo Player of the Week
Jamel Allen averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 blocks as the Roos went 1-1 on the week, including the win over Elon.
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 action next when it opens up 2019 and the WAC season with a contest in Swinney Recreation against Chicago State on Jan. 5 at 2 p.m. CT.
– UMKC –