KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The UMKC (8-16, 3-6 WAC) men’s basketball begins the final stretch of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) season with a two-game home stand beginning with Grand Canyon (14-9, 7-3 WAC) Thursday at the Swinney Center at 6 p.m. CST. Thursday night’s contest is the start of the final seven games heading into the WAC tournament.
- Take your best shot - UMKC has a crack at knocking off a conference power, with Grand Canyon holding sole possession of second-place in the standings. UMKC is in seventh place, 1.5 games back of fifth place.
- Up Next - The Roos stay at home Saturday welcoming CSU Bakersfield to the Swinney Center for a 6 p.m. CST game. There will be a special halftime ceremony recognizing UMKC legend and leading scorer Michael Watson. His #22 jersey will be retired.
- Injury Report - Junior guard Xavier Bishop has a foot injury and sat out the Feb. 9 game at California Baptist. The team’s leading scorer is listed as questionable against Grand Canyon. By missing Feb. 9, Bishop had his consecutive start streak snapped at 48.
- Series History with Grand Canyon - The Roos seek to snap a five-game overall losing streak in the series. The last time the Blue and White has won against the Lopes was Jan. 26, 2017 in Kansas City. Overall, Grand Canyon holds an 9-3 series advantage. In the last UMKC win, then-freshmen Xavier Bishop and Jordan Giles and then-sophomore Aleer Leek all saw action. Bishop started and finished with seven points, two assists in 22 minutes in the 83-77 Roo victory.
- Previous meeting with Grand Canyon - On Jan. 19, 2019, UMKC could never get going offensively and tripped up at first-place Grand Canyon by a 78-50 score. The Roos never led and fell behind 12-0 early as the Lopes used 50 percent shooting and 21 points from Carlos Johnson. GCU, who moved to 5-1 in the conference, improved to 10-0 in home games. Xavier Bishop was the lone Roo in double-figures with 11 points, in spite of playing just 21 minutes.
- A win against Grand Canyon means... snap the five-game losing streak against the Lopes in the all-time series... move up to 4-9 in the all-time series with Grand Canyon... improve the UMKC home record this year to 7-3, including 4-1 at Swinney Center... bring the Roos to within one victory of last year’s season total of 10... improve to 8-4 in games played on Saturday this year.
- Scouting the Opponent - Carrying a 14-9 overall mark and 7-3 record in conference play, Grand Canyon is coming off a pair of home losses last week. Eight of the nine setbacks have been by single digits, including the last four losses by a combined 11 points. WAC Preseason Player of the Year Alessandro Lever nets 12.6 points per game to lead the Lopes. Carlos Johnson (12.3) and Damari Milstead (11.2) contribute in the scoring efforts. Trey Deschel tops the club in rebounding (5.3). In league statistics, GCU is first in assists (12.5) and second in free throw shooting (73.2).