KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UMKC men’s basketball team (10-16, 5-6 WAC) held off a late CSU Bakersfield (16-10, 7-5 WAC) rally to knock-off the Roadrunners, 75-67, on Saturday night at the Swinney Center.
“Brandon Suggs came in and gave us some big minutes and elevated our defensive intensity,” said UMKC head coach Kareem Richardson. “Marvin Nesbitt Jr., got us some big rebounds. I could go down the stat sheet and speak on how everybody contributed. I’m proud of our resiliency and to come in here and beat Grand Canyon and CSU Bakersfield this weekend – two second-place teams.”
In the second half, UMKC built its lead to a game-high 16 on three separate occasions, including lastly when Giles knocked down a pair of free throws with 14:26 left in the contest.
The Roadrunners closed the deficit to three with just over seven minutes remaining, but the Roos responded with Dixon finding Rob Whitfield for a three and Dixon following with a pair of free throws to push the lead back to eight.
Three more times CSUB trimmed the lead down to five, but eight UMKC made free throws down the stretch sealed the Kansas City victory.
In the opening half of play, the Roos used a strong defensive performance to go ahead by as many as 14 before taking a 36-24 lead into the break.
With just over 12 minutes remaining in the first half, UMKC broke a 14-14 tie with a 12-2 run to take a double-figure lead and, after CSUB cut the lead back to six, used a 10-2 run to push the lead to the first half-high 14, with threes from Bishop and Brandon McKissic capping each rally.
In the first half, UMKC limited CSUB to just 9 of 32 (28.1%) shooting overall and 2 of 6 from long range, while forcing nine Roadrunner turnovers, leading to 12 UMKC points.
For the Roos, Nesbitt, Jr., finished with eight points and a team-high seven rebounds, while Suggs added five points, five rebounds and four blocks.
Overall, UMKC limited Bakersfield to 39.1 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range, while forcing 12 turnovers.
Jarkel Joiner led the Roadrunners with 19 points on 7 of 18 shooting. He had 14 of those points in the second half. Rickey Holden added 13 points and Damiyne Durham finished with 10 in the losing effort.
· UMKC returns to action on Thursday, Feb. 21 when they head to the northwest to take on Seattle U on Thu., Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. CT in Seattle, Wash.
- Former Roo Michael Watson had his #22 jersey retired at halftime of the contest, becoming the third Roo all-time and the second men’s basketball player (#24 Ronnie Schmitz) to have his number retired.
- With the victory, UMKC matches last season’s overall win total as well as conference win total.
- The eight blocks today are a new season-high for UMKC and the most since Dec. 16, 2017 against Incarnate Word.
- The four blocks by Brandon Suggs are a new career-high.
- The Roos outscored the Runners 30-22 off the bench, the sixth-straight time the Roo bench has outscored the opponent bench.
- The Roos scored 34 points in the paint and 17 points at the free throw line.
- UMKC improves to 8-4 this year in games played on Saturday.