KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The UMKC (10-18, 5-8 WAC) men’s basketball team hosts conference No. 1 seed New Mexico State (24-4, 12-1 WAC) Thursday at Swinney Center at 6:02 p.m. CST. The contest precedes the final home game Saturday in which Aleer Leek will be recognized pre-game on UMKC Senior Day.
- What’s on the line - The Roos will try to use home success -- UMKC is 8-3 on its home court, including 5-1 at Swinney Center -- against the Aggies, who have won 13-straight games. The only loss at home by the Roos was against Utah Valley on Jan. 24. The last setback by New Mexico State was Jan. 3, 2019 against California Baptist.
- National Broadcast - Thursday’s game will be televised nationally and broadcast on the ESPN+ Network, as part of the WAC Basketball Spotlight. You can access ESPN+ with a paid subscription ($4.99/month) or start a 7-day FREE trial. With a paid or trial subscription, fans can watch it online or through any mobile device, tablet or through a third-party unit such as Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Playstation 4, Xbox One. The WAC Digital Network will only broadcast the game to international viewers.
- Up Next - The Roos welcome UT Rio Grande Valley to Swinney Center on Saturday at 6 p.m. Aleer Leek, the lone senior, will be recognized pre-game on Senior Day.
- Conference Race - In the nine-team Western Athletic Conference standings, UMKC is seventh, 1.5-games behind California Baptist and 2.0-games behind fourth-place teams UT Rio Grande Valley and CSU Bakersfield. New Mexico State wrapped up the top-seed in the conference tournament for the second-consecutive year and fourth time in five years. Thursday against the Roos, the Aggies shoot for the outright conference regular-season title.
- WAC Championship - There are three games remaining in the regular season before the WAC Championship at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, March 14-16. The top eight teams qualify in the single-elimination event with four games scheduled on March 14. If the season ended today, the Roos would be the No. 7 seed and play the No. 2 seed -- either Utah Valley or Grand Canyon -- at 6 p.m. PST on March 14.
- Last time out - The UMKC men’s basketball team (10-18, 5-8) fell last Saturday night, 79-67, to Utah Valley (19-8, 8-5) at UCCU Center. UVU used a 14-2 rally to take a 10-point lead with just over nine minutes remaining. UMKC would close the gap to as little as six down the stretch when Brandon Suggs connected on a rebound putback, but could get no closer as Utah Valley came away with the victory. Xavier Bishop led the Roos in the defeat, as the junior finished with team-high’s of 19 points and six assists, while adding four rebounds and a steal. Danny Dixon, meanwhile, tallied 16 points.
- A win against New Mexico State means... improve to 9-3 in home games, including a 6-1 mark at Swinney Center... snap a 12-game losing streak against the Aggies...improve to 2-12 in the all-time series... stand with a 11-18 overall record, which would exceed last year’s season total of 10 wins... move to 6-8 in the WAC and surpass conference win total of last year (5-9).
- Series History with New Mexico State - UMKC is trying to turn fortunes against New Mexico State as the Aggies lead 12-1 all-time. New Mexico State has won the last 12 meetings. UMKC won in the inaugural match-up on Jan. 18, 2014 in the 68-66 victory. Since then, the Aggies have won each time with seven-straight double-digit wins.
- Previous meeting with New Mexico State - The Roos dropped a 70-54 decision to New Mexico State (17-4, 6-1) on Jan. 31 at the Pan American Center. Rob Whitfield paced the team, scoring 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from long range, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line, while Jordan Giles was the only other Roo in double figures, notching 13 points in the contest. Combined, the duo helped the Roos to 33 bench points in the game. The Aggies never trailed in the contest and out-rebounded UMKC by a 43 to 17 margin.
- Scouting the Opponent - New Mexico State boasts a 16-game winning-streak, which is third-longest in the nation behind Bucknell and Houston at 18-straight and Buffalo and South Dakota State at 17-straight wins. From a team perspective, the Aggies are ranked seventh in the NCAA in rebounding margin (8.6), No. 20 in offensive rebounds per game (13.04) and No. 23 in scoring margin (+12.0). Terrell Brown, ranked 10th in the WAC in scoring (13.5), has connected on 87 of 113 free throws and 52 of 132 triples. Eli Chuha is sixth in the league in rebounding (7.0) and second in field goal accuracy (.623).